Tuesday 5th March 2002 21-30 CET
I love India. I have for most of my life. I held India
in high respect, being an englishman, for the manner
in which India 'escorted' the english colonial power
out of India and gained, re-gained, it's freedom.
Though it seems that for as long as India can still
be divided along 'sectarian/religious' lines it has
not actually gained it's freedom from the
'colonial power games'. It is not, truly, independant.
India is rich with tradition, is immersed in tolerance
for others. This is the India I know and have experienced,
in the land itself and within the many Indians I have met
during my life.
Is this that follows, India?
"When part of the mob reached Afsana's house, she
fled with her five-year-old brother to a neighbor's
house. From the neighbor's roof, Afsana saw the mob
pull her parents from their home, douse them in gasoline
and set them alight. Her four sisters were stripped,
raped and killed. Along the lanes, other houses
After a couple of hours, her neighbor said it was safe for
her to leave. It was a trick. In the lane, a pack of men
attacked her. "I fell on the ground," she says, "and I could
see all these people. They were people I knew who lived
around our house." Both she and her brother were splashed
with gasoline but she managed to scramble up and get away,
clutching her brother's hand. Both of their clothes were alight.
When she reached a wall and started climbing up, she lost
hold of her brother. Once on a roof, she looked down and
watched him burn to death".
(Is it possible to read this without weeping?)
This was reported in a Time magazine article. I have edited
out the various 'religious' adjectives, as they mean nothing.
They are supposedly justifications for such actions,
politicised religious justifications. Faith is manifest in
loving actions, not in angry words or hateful deeds.In
the madness of hatred/intolerance the credibility of
religions, as a mirror of God, is murdered.
It wasn't so different in Europe a few hundred years ago.
Or in the way that European politicised religions colonised
South America...and even slaughtered their converts!!
Or Northern Ireland with it's ingrained sectarianism.
So we see the gradual demise of the established
religious institutions of Europe and the failure of
those institutions to answer the challenge of truly
witnessing in totally loving methodologies. We observe
a similar breaking down of 'religious institution power'
in other areas of the world also.
When politics can override faith: when obscenity can
overrule decency....how can any resultant actions
be in any way classified as 'religious'?.
And which of us is wise enough, holy enough,
devout enough to be able to say with total certainty
that this 5 year old innocent who died was not
the new Rama, the new Mohammed, the new
It were better that all these so-called 'religious
institutions' were dead and buried than that the
life of another innocent be sacrificed on the altar
of intolerance.I, personally, cannot conceive of any
'holy' site, nor 'holy cause', that can have been carved
with the hand of hatred and washed with the blood of
innocents. The thing that is so ironic is that it
is those who profess such 'religion' that are
killing it themselves, huh? Their silence in
not speaking out against such atrocities is
as deafening as the grave.
How many more stories like Afsana's must we
read before we see, fully, the interdependence
of the lovingness and grasp with both hands
the preciousness of differences?. Each
individualised atom is a statement of
lovingness that emanates from 'The Oneness'.
When we kill each other (in thought, word or
deed), we kill 'the lovingness' inside ourselves!
Little by little we deprive ourselves of the
ability to see the wonder of the lovingness in
everything, and everybody, around us.
Even then, the unconditionality of the
'lovingness' seeks to hold us.....if we
are willing to be held. Afsana does not hate
those who did this. She blames a system
that abused and/or misused the ordinary
people. We can wonder that one so young
as her can have such 'lovingness', huh?
Oh, but how I wish with all my heart that
we could take away her pain and the pain
of so many, so many like her.
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