Long time back I read somewhere- Work is worship but worship is not work.
After surfing several regular entertainment channels in the morning and some dedicated religious channels I realised that all religions, as practiced today in India, have become a waste of time.They do not benefit the society or improve the lot of human beings. I respect all religions and religious persons and don’t want to offend the sentiments of the vast majority of people. But I would like to see religion benefit society instead of dividing it.
I can’t imagine people spending so much time in prayers, meditation, rituals, pilgrimages anywhere else in the world as they do in India. There is no end to the variety of spiritual discourses available on the TV and the internet. No where in the name of secularism people enjoy as many religious holidays as we do. For God’s sake why should a Hindu get a holiday on Eid or a Muslim stay at home on Diwali. For a developing country like ours we have to find ways to make people work and not sit at home doing nothing.
Everybody seems to be impressed with one ‘baba’ or the other. The mobile phone companies provide the services of babas to predict our fortunes. I received a very interesting pamphlet in the newpaper today. This Bengali baba has cure for all the problems one can possibly face in this world- marital problems, love affairs, professionals troubles and of course illness of any kind. A special mention was, if your children don’t listen to you he can help you as if it is some sort of medical problem and he can cure it. I could not find out from the description whether he was a Hindu or a muslim. He could have been a tantrik or a peer baba. Can you imagine babas are the same in both the religions, at least they seem to me. What better way to prove our secularism. We are being fooled by both of them.
The question now is -how to make use of this religiosity ? So far we have only been taken advantage of by most of these preachers. It is high time they realise that instead of just performing rituals and preaching they should contribute to the society and start earning their bread.
Here are some suggestions-Only a part of the land provided to different religious places on subsidised rates by the government should be allowed for worship. The condition before allotting should be that they will build and manage a hospital or school in the premises. By school I mean regular studies not religious studies. Permission should not be granted to build unless they do that. Priests should not be allowed to perform marriage ceremonies of illiterate boys and girls (no more child marriages). Parents would force their children to study or they can’t marry.The priest should be put behind bars for performing child marriages or a better option could be- should be forced to confront the agitating Gujjars in Delhi. The Gujjars will feel vindicated too. CNN is highlighting that Gujjars are only one step above the lowest caste in the Caste system. Most importantly the couple getting married should give an undertaking that they would not have more than 2 kids and if they do they have to memorise all election speeches by Mayawati. This should be mentioned on the marriage certificate. The pundit, Maulvi or the priest should be deauthorised to perform marriages if he himself has more than two children. Worse still he has to translate the contents of Dewe Gowda’s press conferences in English( even if Dewe Gowda speaks in English).
Religious preachers are one of the richest people around these days. They move around in cars. One of my friends gifted a TV to her family pundit for his daughters marriage( he had demanded an AC). She was surprised to see 3 more TVs lined up as gifts in the pundits house. One can imagine what he will do with so many TVs.
It is high time these preachers do something for the society and earn their living and respect in the society. Religion should be used as a safeguard against conflicts. It should be encouraging people to work and not while away their time listening to semiliterate and bigoted preachers.