Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On Religous Intolerance and Conspiracy

I was sitting in my supplier's cafeteria, happily eating a chicken panini, when again I heard words to this effect: "Sikhism is an offshoot of Hinduism; it originated as a Dalit rights movement and therefore...". For some reason this left me glaring at the speaker, & while I finished my sandwich and walked away, I am still seething half an hour later. I am not Sikh so I wonder why these words rattled me so much. It probably has to do with my abhorrence of the underlying conspiracy (or for that matter any attempts to cover/disguise/mutilate the truth) and the fact that I was face to face with one of it's perpetrators but unable to correct the impressions that his audience of 3 was forming.

Such conspiratorial utterings have also attempted to belittle Buddhism & Jainism. I don't know the root of these conspiracies, but I am told all aggression (veiled or otherwise) is a result of fear.

There is no denying the fact that the prophets of all 3 religions mentioned were originally Hindus, but to claim that they're therefore mere offshoots of Hinduism is as bizarre as claiming that Christianity is merely an offshoot of Judaism!

World over these religions are acknowledged as independent religions, not offshoots or sects of any other religion. Only in India does does one get to hear such nonsense. I am also a more than a little surprised to read that the Arya Samaj (who I previously believed to be a modern, progressive body) was one of the initiators of this thought process.

Read here, what Sikhs have to say about themselves.

And I wish there was a psychometric test that evaluated people for religious tolerance before allowing them into their organizations. And I also wish that the idiot from the cafeteria reads this!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Indian Tennis's contribution to World Peace

My favourite sport is Lawn Tennis. I've followed it eagerly & when I was younger I could rattle off the names of Wimbledon champions for the last 25 years!

Therefore 2 recent developments in Tennis make me extremely happy. They're actually 2 pairings: Sania Mirza-Shahar Peer & Rohan Bopanna-Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.

The Sania-Shahar is a Muslim-Jew pairing that defies religous intolerance; and the Rohan-Aisam pair is an Indo-Pak pair that should gladden all pro-peace hearts both sides of the "original" border.

These pairings bring to light a couple of important points that we otherwise miss:
India despite it's riots is a more tolerant country than some others.
And people who want to achieve something in life (like these 4 people), do not allow their focus to be diluted by trivial considerations.

Interestingly Sania & Rohan are also partners in doubles & do duty for India in the Hopman Cup.

Three cheers to these 4 soldiers of peace & humanity. May God bless them & their mission!