In an obscure corner of Russia, a local court banned “Geeta” (the famous Hindu Religious Book) last year for being a book which describes and promotes violence. The members of RSS and similar Hindu organizations in India became vocal with protests against that court verdict. But as the said court was far away, Indian Hindu bigots could not engage in violent activities on that issue. Obviously, many Hindus felt hurt for labeling Geeta as a book of violence.
Let us look at the matter from a different perspective. The comic cartoon serial “Tom and Jerry” is hugely popular among children and many adults. Has it ever occurred to us that the said comic serial is based on violence mainly? If you don’t get the message, please see a few episodes of the serial now to understand the fact. However, the comic wrapper of the serial is so dominating that our visual sense gets changed and we enjoy it as highly entertaining cartoon serial.
The arguments given by Krishna, the central Hindu God of Mahabharata, in favour of ‘Kurukshetra war’ in Geeta has made the belief and conviction of most Hindus univocal and unidirectional, i.e, violence is required for protecting ‘Dharma’ (justness) in society. In Geeta, violence has been justified as moral obligation and sanctified as religious act. That is why Hindus, by and large, can not think of considering Geeta as a book full of violence.
Possibly such an approach towards violence was prevalent and justified in social dynamics during remote past. But believing and observing that principle today will make the human society utterly cruel, blood thirsty, chaotic and regressive.
Geeta is a part of great Indian epic Mahabharata. When I was a kid, I thought that Mahabharata was a fact based story of Bengali (Hindu of course) people. Then I knew only a small Bengali world. Later I came to know about place called ‘Kurukshetra’ in North India which is said to be connected with the famous Mahabharata war. Some also claim that Delhi’s old name is Indraprastha (another Kingdom of Mahabharata era). However, Nirad C. Chaudhuri (from Kishoreganj of present day Bangladesh) was of the opinion that the core of Mahabharata was based on some familial dispute which occurred outside India among the ancestors of Aryans between 1500 and 1000 BC. Subsequently, the story was transported to India as folk lore and got layers of flesh from different authors over a long period of time to come to present version. Personally I am with Nirad C. Chaudhuri. This I write to tell as to how an epic of uncertain origin and basis could make a firm grip over Hindu psyche and everything of it (including the violence) becomes sacred to most Hindus.
Recently in a government advertisement during Republic Day 2015 celebration in India, the original Preamble of Constitution was published. Many may not know that the words ‘Socialist’ and ‘Secular’ were not specifically spelt in the original Preamble (though these were described in the text). It was during 1976, that these two words were incorporated in the Preamble of Indian Constitution through 42nd amendment.
In this incident, many Hindu bigots have found a clue to establish their “Ram-Rajya” in India now. Some hard core Hindus are talking of making Geeta the ‘National Book’ of India with the patronage from BJP.
Why can’t such people simply live and let live?