By M.C. Linthoingambee
All we need is a belief. In fact, the motto on the back of a US twenty dollar bill reads, “In God we Trust” thereby reinventing the trust of his existence with no proof given at all. We all still dream of a day where peace shall contain us all and we speak of salvation being the only route to humanity. Personally, I do believe that God exists, even though I do not speak for everyone else. But in the course of these acceptances, there are also many who lash out against the better nature of God by preaching wrongfully. While we as human beings feel it better to accept a god we can truly see, we fail at narrating the blindfold of injustice served by the self styled god that exists amongst us. So, how far are we willing to force ourselves in the downtrodden will of self styled god men?
It has been days now since the news of Asaram Bapu and his son being caught in the midst of one controversy after the other. Earlier, a case was registered on Aasaram under Sections 376 (rape), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). Now, after due deliberations following his arrest, the `god` man has had the `honour` of rape charges slapped against him, charges aired by a 16 yr old, a minor. Hiding under the mask of being a `Guru`, Asaram stands accused of committing various wrongs in the name of performing various rituals and ceremonies. He is also said to have been involved in issues of land encroachment in parts of the Guajarat and the Madhya Pradesh region and further accused of attempt to murder and even culpable homicide of two brothers who were students in his own residential school. This is a living example of a huge crime done in the name of reaching God and plays hugely with the faith and belief of the common person.
There is a certain section of the Indian Penal Code which is unused and forgotten but has remained intact since 1860. Section 508 (acts caused by inducing a person to believe that he will become an object of divine displeasure) states those offences where one would attract punishment of jail term up to one year or fine, or both for self styling oneself as a godman and preaching false divinity to others. Early in March of 2012, reports emerged that little drops of water began to drip from the feet of the statue of Jesus nailed to the cross on the church of `Our Lady of Velankanni`, down on Mumbai’s Irla Road. While hundreds began to flock to the church to collect the holy water in little plastic bottles, hoping the tears of the `son of God` would sanctify their homes and heal their beloved, Sanal Edamaruku, the eminent rationalist thinker, arrived at the church a fortnight after the miracle began drawing crowds. It took him less than half an hour to discover the source of the divine tears: a filthy puddle formed by a blocked drain, from where water was being pushed up through a phenomenon all high-school physics students are familiar with, called capillary action. He is now facing the prospect of three years in prison for in the wake of Mr. Edamaruku’s miracle-busting Mumbai visit, three police stations in the capital received complaints against him for inciting religious hatred. First information reports were filed, and investigations initiate against him. Where is the rationality offered for this man?
In another invention to the Act of God, I was mesmerized with a particular movie. While I had no idea what the movie I was watching was all going to be about, the movie, “Oh my God” certainly fulfilled the social obligation of sending out a message on religious practices prevalent today. The movie can be viewed as an eye opener to many evils we face in the process of delusions and illusions. I returned home late in the night after the movie and I do most certainly remember discussing the topic of God all the way to the walk home from the cinema hall. We deeply conversed on how Kanji Lal, the main protagonist in the movie decides to file a case against God due to the loss of his property by an `Act of God` after an Insurance Company suddenly makes a decision not to pay any insurance money terming the loss of Kanji`s shop in an earthquake as an Act of God. This is where we need to revisit the laws of the Act of God dealt in the Indian Laws. Reuters compiled an article reading, “India must stop viewing disasters as Acts of God” on August 29, 2013 where the report calls for a more holistic approach to disasters, taking into account strategies such as building cyclone shelters, improving early warning signals, and integrating preparedness into everyday development policies.
Even in the uncertain turn of circumstances and the wavering instances, I believe that `someone up there` protects us all with the number of his unswerving events in the past. The history of Jesus Christ, Gautam Buddha, Krishna, Mohammedan and others are still whispered and prayed for even today. But we need to be rational in determining what is perhaps right or wrong. In spite of the cynical encumbrance or the atheist remarks, I believe he echoes amen to our ears. And as long as we believe, he is with us.
(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)