So on Headlines Today there was a report about someone called Isaac Tigrette who claims to be the ‘heir’ of Satya Saibaba’s (Puttaparthi) legacy. He claims Saibaba spoke to him in secret telling him what to do when he passes away. This always amazes me. That baba spoke to people, interacted with them and yet wanted to tell only Tigrette, that too in secrecy, what should be done after his death. Throughout history we have had God almighty always whisper to Moses or Mohammad what they should tell people. One would have thought God is so powerful that in one stroke he could have directly spoken to all the people in the world in one stroke. Well, I suppose God also tells our secular channels what to report where religion is concerned. He specifically tells them what news to broadcast!
Imagine if this were a report about some Hindu swami (like a Nityananda or someone) and your NDTVs, CNN-IBNs, Headlines Todays etc. would be all over the place with the news. By now the swami would have been roasted by these news channels and there would be debates on all news channels on how Hindu godmen are cheating the masses, are rapists and so on. Not surprisingly, this Bangalore pastor was hardly to be found anywhere on these secular news channels.
In Evil Orders, The Economist wrote: (on child-abuse by Church): ‘The scandal is more widespread than the one that swept through the United States in recent years, costing the church up to $2 billion in compensation payments. In recent weeks at least 350 victims have come forward in the Netherlands, along with around 300 more in Germany and Austria. In Brazil a priest and two monsignors have just been suspended from their church duties following allegations of involvement in the making of a sex video involving a youth”. Do our secular channels ever discuss that?
India constitutionally became a ‘secular’ country in 1976 during the Emergency. There is, however, no clear definition of secularism in the constitution. So unlike the West which largely defines it as the separation of state and church, many Indian experts (like Shashi Tharoor for example) suggest it means all religions are equal or the state will ‘treat’ all religions equally and respect their freedom? But is that really true? Practically, over the years, inspired by communist ideology, many in the media, the Congress and some more political parties have practiced secularism as the right to ridicule or abuse Hinduism. To the Congress it also meant practically take control of temples and Hindu religious institutions and fund minority group activities. Wait and watch what happens to Saibaba Trust (Puttaparthi) funds.
While all this is happening there are reports that politicians and state governments are directly helping Christian outfits. Well, sure these are reports from predominantly Hindu sites but they do quote sources that are not necessarily Hindu. This is from Vijayvaani.com: Christianisation of Andhra Pradesh: “With YSR’s advent in 2004, evangelical activities increased alarmingly and mass conversions were witnessed in rural areas on a large scale. His open pandering to Church and missionaries emboldened evangelists to go all out in their conversion activities. They dared focus on Hindu pilgrimage sites such as Badrachalam, Simmachalam, Srisailam, Ahobilam, Mangalagiri, Kalahasthi, and didn’t spare Thirumala-Thirupathi! YSR aided the Church and missionaries in many ways. He sanctioned Rs. 80, 000/- per Church for repair works in August 2006 as per GO MS. No: 21 dt 22/08/2006 (CM Reddy okays public money for Churches – Deccan Chronicle, 23 August 2006) and an aid of Rs. 1.5 lakhs for the construction of each Church. This is done while the government is controlling over 30,000 Temples and taking all their revenue. Only 15% of temple revenue is given back for temple maintenance and salaries of priests. Over 40,000 Priests earn a salary of only Rs. 500/- to Rs. 1000/- per month. The rest of the revenue is being used for other government schemes and minority welfare schemes, as in Tamil Nadu..”
So why do our TV channels think it is only funny stuff about Hinduism or Hindu god-men that should be reported. All religions have enough of funny stuff that will provide a good laugh any day. Religulous, a combination of Religion + Ridiculous, is a 2008 movie by American comic Bill Maher. Maher was born Jewish-Catholic but is now an atheist. The movie is meant to poke gentle fun and have a good laugh at the funny side of religion. However, many parts of the movie are actual interviews and the movie itself is non-fiction.
So let’s first start by meeting the descendant of Jesus Christ himself: (Jose Miranda actually claims to be a direct descendant of Jesus Christ and that there were angels who informed him so - Caution: clip contains some offensive language)
Well, what do you think now? Do you feel better now that you've met the direct descendant of Jesus Christ? Now, that isn’t all. Here is one more clip from the movie where Bill Maher is at the Vatican.
A senior Vatican Priest, Father Reginald Foster, himself believes Jesus wouldn’t have stayed at that mansion where the Pope lives. Secondly, Father Foster also suggests, hypothetically, Jesus could have been born on July 3 and all that midnight birth on December 25 could be a myth. There’s more, he mentions that in a crisis situation Jesus is the sixth man that Italians pray to.
So you see, there are enough funny things in religion. The good part about Hinduism is that there is no rule of blasphemy. You can make fun of the god-men and Hindu rituals and customs. That our secular channels are able to debate so much about everything in Hinduism is a credit to Hindu culture itself. Would they dare to debate Christianity or Islam that much?
This post or the video clips aren’t put up here to offend anyone. I believe if we could laugh a bit about religion then we wouldn’t need the stupid and much-abused concept of ‘secularism’. There’s more in Religulous, watch this space!