Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where Symbols Become The Sacred

And the purpose lost, would anyone ever awake?

Ancient images of Hindu gods, national emblems, even words are all symbolic, metaphorical... they do not stand for themselves, but for what they suggest. Only those who exercise their intellect can understand this. For those who don't, national emblems assume high levels of emotional significance (as though the emblem was what fought for independence and not people), images of Gods become idols of auspicious blessings: instead of delving into the beautiful metaphysics of the religion, they think that merely placing the idol in the house promises salvation! And don't even get me started on the subjectivity of words and language: politicians think that they have done their job just by repeating the words 'justice,' 'equality,' and 'secularism,' in all their speeches.

In the land of neo-conservative intolerance, the post-independent trend has been to go after anyone who says that India is not doing quite so well, socially, politically, or economically.

Using the symbols to show truth, as symbols are in fact created for that purpose, is a virtuous attribute (virtuous: as you may understand it).

Anyone who has a problem with this intellectual activity has the right to protest, peacefully. Violent, judicial persecution of artistic freedom, is a pathetic, vulgar, despicable thing to do. It only shows a lack of courage. For, imagine, if all the artists and philosophers of the world decide to turn violent, and raise the banner of 'justice' in a manner similar to the vandals of society... many would cease to exist. But, the artists chose to display their imagination and understanding of the world in a manner which is civilized.

As a writer, I find it difficult to say nothing of Aseem Trivedi's arrest. It is a terrible state of affairs.

To all those Indians who want India to become a super-power like the USofA, let me point out this:
Americans, for all their pride and violent arrogance in being Americans, do not violently stifle artistic discontent inside their country (dealing with activistic discontent inside America is another issue altogether). Because, after all, if, as a country, India does not give its citizens freedom of speech and expression, especially to its artists, why bother attributing to ourselves all those symbolic words anyway?


  1. I watch sadly as more and more Indians becoming socio-economically "upwardly mobile" going the way of the political thuggery actively or passively! The pseudo religiosity and pseudo-nationalism among the masses in India has grown a hundred folds in the last fifty years but only in a ritualistic way that does not reflect in their actual value systems, attitudes or behaviour.
    The point is, neither our so called "glorious past" or our show of religiosity or nationalism can redeem our people or nation to be what we should be. Neither will any amount of intellectual gymnastics or knee-jerk reactions to the fast degenerating state of affairs save us or our great nation. We will only become more and more rude, crude, intolerant, violent, selfish, morally corrupt and degenerate!
    Our only hope is through true surrender of individuals to the "Prajapti" of the Upanishads who sacrificed Himself for the redemption of mankind from it's slavery to and the consequences of sin. Only this can bring the spiritual regeneration (not cosmetic reformation)among individuals who can begin living/practicing righteousness and justice and bring change in our nation. This is not a theory! There is a small but growing community of people across the country who are actually practicing this!

  2. TruthshallsetYoufree, I completely agree with you, and am glad to know that many are looking toward spiritual regeneration. I only wish it spreads to the billions of this country!

    Instead of looking to the past for a Ram- Rajya, people should start reading the Upanishads. After all, Indian cosmology is cyclic, and the past and the present go back and forth... And the Upanishads, broke away from the ritualistic Rig-Vedas, looking to higher forms of existence, into ourselves... One wonders how people forget their pasts!