Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Resurgent Religiosity of the Indian

William Dalrymple is good at spotting trends. He writes here that there is a resurgence of religious sentiments in India. I agree. Every morning I see the RSS conduct its drill in the neighbourhood, the Jehovah Witness is becoming more aggressive, the Muslim women all wear burqas, or, hijabs. On new year eve a family in the Belapur had a Pooja which involved sounding the conch shell and beating on utensils for the post part of the day. Afternoon siesta of this blogger was spoilt. A friend went to a temple on new year eve, and new year eve isn't even a Hindu festival. Navratri is more lavish, Diwali even more so, and so is the keeping of fasts during Shravan, Navratri and Margashish. The Hindu calendar is full of such rituals and they are keenly observed. Friends of my childhood have set the Gayatri Mantra as their ring tones, and a committed communist has a Shiva Linga in his bungalow. Says Dalrymple:

"As India is liberalising and globalising its economy, the country is experiencing a rising tide of popular Hinduism which is leaving no social segment and no public institution untouched. There is a surge in popular religiosity among the burgeoning and largely Hindu middle classes, as is evident from a boom in pilgrimage and the invention of new, more ostentatious rituals. This religiosity is being cultivated by the emerging state-temple-corporate complex that is replacing the more secular public institutions of the Nehruvian era . . . a new Hindu religiosity is getting more deeply embedded in everyday life, in both the private and public spheres."

I was just wondering, what if we harness the energies and efforts expended in stereotyping a particular class or religion and channelize it into something creative, or constructive. For example, building really nice smelling toilets so people can crap in peace, or, create a green and peaceful environment? There I go again, into my fantasy world. Dhansukhbhai Jethalal Shah thinks the resurgence of religiosity is a good thing. At least people won't do harmful things like destabilize the economy and fuel speculation. But he only knows the meaning of what he says.

1 comment:

nanda666 said...

Well, my dad...a hindu who is vegetarian, complies to the zero alcohol policy, etc, etc...has decided to read my copy of the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins..again.

Maybe there is still hope in the world to live life for the sake of humanity as compared to divinity....my fantasy world!! hehehe!!