Wednesday, 27 June 2007

ATONEMENT? FOR WHAT?


Are we truly a secular nation? When India and Pakistan parted in 1947, Pakistan assumed the form of an Islamic nation, and we took on the garb of a secular nation, and it was something we took pride in and continue to be proud of. But what happened recently is one of the many instances that makes us hang our heads in shame.


Recently the authorities of the famous Sri Ramanathaswamy temple performed an "atonement pooja" after the local MLA, Hasan Ali, entered into it. All he wanted to do was too see the cracks in the temple's East Tower and report to the State Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments to carry out repair work. Temple authorities performed "parikara pooja" (cleaning and atonement pooja) to 'cleanse the impurity' caused because of the entry of a non-hindu in the temple precints.


Even last month, temple authorities of the Guruvayur temple in Thrissur district of Kerala conducted a purification ceremony after the visit of Union Minister Vayalar Ravi's son, Ravikrishna, on the ground that his mother hailed from a Christian family. This inspite of the fact that Ravikrishna had been raised a staunch Hindu and had gone to the temple for the 'choroonu' (first rice feeding) of his son.


Its really sad to see such things happen. Why are people from outside the religion or community looked down upon. Does being born in a different community make people children of a lesser God?


An atonement is definitely needed. Whether it involves a pooja or not is secondary. But what requires atonement is our medeivial thinking and our fickle-mindedness.

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