Gitanjali Diwakar is a journalist with The Hindu Businessline. In her words, she is 'a Jack of many trades and a master of a few'. She enjoys reading a wide range of books, including fiction and philosophy. Her greatest passions, however, are culture and performing arts.

Gitanjali Diwakar

Hippocratic games

Gitanjali Diwakar | Updated on January 25, 2019 Published on January 25, 2019

Unrest zone: Much drama has unfolded near the temple since last September with many women of menstruating age attempting to enter the shrine reuters/sivaram v

Blame game is a way of life. This fact prompted me to analyse two events of the recent past.

Blame game 1: The game of ‘purity’

The nation went on an overdrive with the Supreme Court’s verdict about young women allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple. This saw several protests and led to questions that could have been ignored.

How did it all start? A few women filed an appeal stating that women deserve the right to visit the Temple. They blamed the people at the temple and the so-called archaic law.

Questions: Don’t politics, activism and faith know their boundaries? When has a pilgrimage ever been a cake walk? The temple is no ordinary tourist destination but one of India’s most sacred pilgrimage sites. Shouldn’t traditions be respected?

If this is disrespectful, shouldn’t other practices like Karva Chauth be banned? After all, must women starve for their husbands (who feast all day long)? Or do we blame the ancestors for such customs?

Blame game 2: Finding the leader

This game has lasted five years. An orator doubled-up as a nation’s leader and soon life changed. But the blames continued.

His name is now synonymous with lack of jobs, wastage of public funds (even the construction of the ‘Statue of Liberty equivalent’, the wide-spread violence in the country and more.

Question: Which government has ever been perfect? Didn’t Barack Obama experience his share of intense criticism? Weren’t political forces behind the 1984 Sikh riots? How often do we rake up those tales? Why did the public not go to town when Hillary Clinton attended Isha Ambani’s wedding bash?

Ironically, both scenarios revolve around two factors, faith and common sense. Wondering how different both these terms could be?

Faith means believing in something or someone. Common sense implies ‘being practical’. Often common sense and faith don’t see eye to eye. In such instances, it would be wiser to walk away and respect those perspectives. Not unless the decision harms another fellow being intensely.

Now, here is a dose of common sense for your souls

To those women and men who are crying their lungs out for equal rights for women (ONLY at Sabarimala):

There is no need to be agitated. Do women fight to enter a mosque without covering their heads? Do all churches in India permit one to enter the premises while wearing their footwear? No, they don’t.

No journey or pilgrimage, towards attaining salvation (Moksha), has been easy.

Be it a trip to the holy land of Jerusalem or even Mecca.

In this case, the temple is situated on a hill-top. Devotees are often expected to bathe in the River Pampa before proceeding to the shrine. The river bank is, many a time, the last halt of the journey. This would be risk for menstruating women for many medical reasons.

Now, ladies, do you honestly fancy entering a place of worship surrounded by more bare-chested men than adventurous female trekkers adorned in black or saffron? Sabarimala is a small shrine; hence, space is a constraint. Praying at the temple (which is open only during certain days of the year) requires guts, immense devotion towards the lord and of course the ability to remain oblivious about the world around them. The latter does not imply rebellion in any sense.

For all those who love criticising a nation’s government:

Awake and arise! Governance was never meant for one person. A government, as the late Abraham Lincoln stated, is of the people, by the people and of the people. So, how can one blame one person or a few for letting themselves be ‘brain-washed’? If one fails to exercise the right to vote, does it give them a chance to be critical of government? After all, it is the people who define a nation.

This fact was emphasised even by M Damodaran, the former SEBI chairman. A country with a sense of self would never address a government as a property of one person. The people in power are administrators. Thus, we are participants in the Modi-administration and NOT the Modi-government.

Moreover, one cannot deny that, after several decades, the world has begun to become aware of its seventh largest country. Be it the scrapping of Section 377 or even Yoga Day; India is, now, a country that many yearn to learn more about.

The black and white view

It is all about Yin-Yang.

Before we conclude about policies – good or bad – let us think about how we wish to live our lives. No, we are pleading fellow Indians to stay put. Instead, Indians everywhere could consider looking at the country from a holistic view. Like China, Japan, Vietnam, the GCC, Canada, or any other progressive nation, India has its pros and cons.

Indeed, people are difficult to please. It takes a fraction of a second to make a mountain out of a mole-hill. But it requires years of hard-work and commitment to lower the tensions.

If there is one aspect we could learn from the others is to be proud about who we are. Of course, we are Indian.

There is a lot about us that the world appreciates but we do not. Now, we could start by doing so and pat ourselves from time to time.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on January 25, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor