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Crossroads of Covid: Time for Theological Transition

 

Dr Anuradha Bele & Dr Jas Simran Kehal

dr anuradha bele and dr jas simran kehalReading about Mahavir and Buddha with my son in his class VI ICSE history textbook took us back to the 6th century BC. The chapter explained state of affairs that led to rise of a new religious revolution. The causes enumerated in the textbook forced me to connect contemporary past to the pandemic present.

 Let us copy-paste the causes enlisted in schoolbook-
 

# The Aryan religion had become quite difficult for the people to understand.
# Animal sacrifices had raised a reaction in people.
# Rituals had become very costly.
# Magic, charms and spells had begun to dominate religious practices.
# Caste system had become very rigid; it divided the society to high and low.
# The Hindus ill-treated the shudras.

Thus the caste ridden and ritual ridden Aryan society was showing signs of decay. Social and religious degeneration had set in the society.

We have enough reasons in current pandemic scenario to believe that we are living in the similar degenerative decay and time has come for history to repeat itself to stage a socio-religious revolution. Let's ponder point by point and correlate across centuries.

The Aryan religion had become quite difficult for the people to understand. It's still the same. Has anyone of us been able to de-codify the myths propagated by the Aryans till date? Right from a flying monkey gobbling up a 5,600 Celsius star to cow-dung cocktails for Covid cure, the saga surrounding their faith is anecdotal and getting weirder by the day.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth - persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. This excerpt from a 1962 John F. Kennedy speech summarizes the mischief of Brahminical forces to camouflage Budhha's four noble truths by bombardment of mythology.

With dalits being treated as animals-from then till now, their sacrifice to maintain social and political order is still the unsaid rule of law. Rising flames of crematoriums during pandemic indicates human sacrifice as animals. The society is being ruled by a bunch of Draculas who love dead bodies, lynching, genocides, massacre and riots. The illusion of Hindutva has blinded the oppressed confining them to a religion and political party which treat them as secondary citizens.

Ritual had become costly-once and again. TOI reported a rise in cremation costs from Rs3000 to Rs30,000 in April. With a waiting list for funerals, the business of cremation of dead proliferated with purohits cashing in on the pandemic and charging up to Rs. 40,000 per dead. This pandemic had people who received no treatment while alive, died an unrecorded-undignified death followed by inhuman disposal of their bodies without any last rites. Doesn't this society deserve to desert the religion whose custodians instead of helping the needy in times of distress were charging exorbitantly for religious rites? They acted as pandemic's vultures feeding on Covid corpses.

As regards magic, charms and spells the pandemic proved to be pinnacle of absurdities. With the prime minister initiating mass hysteria with plate-clanging antics, his coterie followed suit.There seem to be a race of sorts for the weirdest of wonder cure with outlandish fake cures like holy smoke, cow urine, yagna chikitsa, blowing shankh and chanting jai sri ram but the winner was a union minister advocating consuming 'Bhabhiji Papad' to produce antibodies and runner up Union Minister for Health who suggested sunbathe to produce Vitamin D for killing the virus.

Health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan conniving with a saffron-sadhu advocated Coronil as a Covid-19 drug for prevention, treatment and cure of disease during the first wave. The same bhagwa-baba was roped in during the second Covid wave to counter the failure of political science by blaming medical science. We need to pull out of a scandalous religion which needs thousands of fake covid certificates to conduct its sacred pilgrimage.

With a right wing government at helm, caste system has indeed become rigid. In those times the Hindus were ill treating the shudras and now the shudras are perhaps themselves getting maltreatment by Hindus. The accumulation of 73% of country's wealth with 1% of the rich and accession of power to a select few portrays a similar social picture to that of 5th century BC. The absorption of shudras into Hindu fold is a phantasm perpetuated out of ploy to trick the weaker sections of society.

Now, who is responsible for bringing us back to ground zero and who is going to get us out of this situation? Will the dream of an egalitarian society by revolutionaries like Buddha, Kabir, Raidas, Nanak, Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram go in vain?

First of all we need to understand well that rebranding of Hinduism by the name of Hindutva is a farce conspired by Brahminical forces to re-establish Varna-system and undo the work of these revolutionaries. The exit routes shown by Babasaheb, Buddha, Kabir, Raidas and Nanak on religious front and Ambedkar-Kanshi Ram on politico-legal front need to be revived and executed urgently. It was in the Sixth Buddhist Council in Myanmar, that there was an agreement that Babasaheb should convert to Buddhism in the 2500th year after passing away of Sakyamuni i.e. in 1956. He submitted two memorandums to the Council where he spoke about Buddhism as a rational and scientific faith.

Secondly, we should stop waiting for anyone to pull us out of this situation. This wait for a charismatic religious/political figure seems to be unending and is proving to be a boon for the Brahminical battalion. The practise of Buddhsim is also as an individual and places our emancipation on ourselves, and this is in direct contradiction to the caste rules which define the rules of the mob of bullies, also called Hinduism.

Thirdly, we the beneficiaries of reservation policy do own a payback to our benefactor. We have to be 'appodipa (dwipa) bhava'( "Be your own light/ island ") and act as guiding light for others to show them path of exit from their current religio-politico-social order for emancipation. It is time not only to save ourselves but to save the society as well.

Fourthly, it's time to let science drive decisions. Since the pandemic disaster struck, the underprivileged community are being mischievously fed with a dose of visceral and irrational cures. This serves dual purpose: - to cover up the state's failure as well as pool the limited modern resources for a selected few. It is our duty to educate the masses that only logic can beat corona and to instil sense of dialectic into them. They need to shun the religion of myths and magic cures and go back to the one which is scientific and philanthropist. Babasaheb reiterated that Buddha valued the relationship of man with man, ethical and righteous conduct of one human being with another, not the theories of soul and worship which cannot be proved. Buddha had also repudiated the discussion of religion that concentrates on the soul and after life as unprofitable.

Fifth, it is wrong to assume that dalits are not vying for transition. They indeed are. Only thing they need is a sense of direction and an agenda for change.There was a definite conspiracy to exclude them from treatment of Covid, bereft of rituals in death and under reporting in statistics to cover up their miseries. This will become evident soon. Then comes the role of the privileged amongst them to guide them out of Hinduism- whose soul is inequality as stated by Ambedkar. In his book, Pakistan or the partition of India, he proclaimed Hinduism as incompatible with democracy as it is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. In Buddha and His Dhamma, Saddhamma is that which more than karuna promotes maitri and pulls down all social barriers, especially the slavery in the guise of Chaturvarana.

Sixth, bottom line has been provided by John Dewey by stating that democracy needs to be born anew every generation and education is the midwife. Furthermore, he advocates an approach to knowledge which sees it as the outcome of our readiness to act upon the world, rather than merely watching it closely. Indeed, there are thousands of us just waiting to convert our thoughts into action and thereby endangering democracy. Pradnya (wisdom), the sword in the hands of a human being tempered by Sila (morality) is used for saving human beings, because Sila is acting right, not merely thinking right.

It boils down to Dr Ambedkar's 1956 Agra speech. Each cue of it, whether it was for the public, leaders, students or govt. Servants should be reassessed in terms of Covid disaster. Did government servants perform their duty to donate 1/20th of their salary for social work? Where are the educated social workers, Dr Ambedkar was looking for, who would have proven a boon for the society? Are the students serving their villages after completion of education? Had it been so, those of us who were left behind wouldn't have suffered so much in the pandemic.

Now, when the pole which supported huge tents is no more around, it's our duty to follow his philosophy for annihilation of caste. And for that, we need to awaken and arise to get the discriminated out of Hinduism into a rational and equitable faith.

If not us, then who will do it?
If not now, then when?

Every man is guilty of all good he didn't do- Voltaire

~~~

 

Dr. Anuradha Bele is an electronics engineer and a veterinary doctor with a degree in management. She can be reached for references at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr Jas Simran Kehal is an Orthopaedic surgeon at Nangal Dam, Punjab and a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications.

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