Evolved or devolved?

Sushma Swaraj wants  The Gita  to be declared as the national scripture (rashtriya granth). I’m not at all surprised to read this bizarre piece of news. We’re living in dangerously religious times and are craving for a religious identity. This is very bad. Hindus are screaming to assert their Hindu identity. Muslims are trying to make their presence felt in a not-so-delightful manner. Christians are also trying tooth and nail to make their presence felt from a religious perspective. Other religions and their followers are also trying to draw attention in a distasteful fashion. It’s a rat-race and a mad scramble. Where’re label-free, plain human beings among us? Why don’t we understand one simple and universal fact that all our soi disant identities are accidental? The Hindus, who’re suddenly proud of being Hindus, could have been Muslims if born into Muslim households and vice versa. A Dalit could have been a Brahmin had his parents been Brahmins and vice versa. We never chose the country we now feel so proud of being its citizens. It’s all uncertain and iffy. The problem with the entire mankind is that it’s descended into extreme pettiness. Instead of evolution, devolution has taken place. We’re now devolved rather than evolved. It’s all the more ironic because in this age of internet and easy access to all sorts of knowledge, we’ve become all the more regressive and our backwardness manifests itself through imbecile proclamations like, ‘I’m a Hindu/I’m a Muslim or a Christian or Gita is a national book.’ Rubbish! To quote Ghalib ruefully, ‘Bas ke dushwaar hai har kaam ka aasaan hona/Aadmi ko bhi mayassar nahin insaan hona’ (It’s indeed an uphill task to make things easy and hassle-free/Even a man cannot burgeon into a civilised human being). Alas, we’re cheap, moving labels wearing our socio-religious and ethnic identities on our sleeves.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2014 on page no. 2

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