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A few mornings ago, my box radio was blaring out music beaming from a Calcutta station, the usual mix of good, bad and ugly. In a stark reminder of how fast time moves on, they played one of the big A.R. Rahman Bollywood hits from back when we were kids, "Urvashi Urvashi" from "Hum Se Hai Muqabala" [As it was dubbed in Hindi] under the Retro section! Besides conjuring up images of Prabhudeva and his troupe's incredibly flexible but incredibly weird dance moves atop a moving glass roofed bus, a line in the the song's lyrics of convenience seemed oddly relevant in the present context.
"Billiyaan naa shaakaahari, har koi Ram nahin hotaa..." [Loosely translates to "Cats aren't vegetarians and not everyone is Ram..."] was what drew attention when the day for the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case judgement was near. Not everyone is Ram, because Lord Ram is one of the most straightforward and just Gods of our pantheon, free from any grey areas, never compromising on what is right for the need of the hour, unlike most other heroes who have featured in our mythology and the Mahabharata. Not everyone is Ram, because when Mahatma Gandhi began his mission of truth and peace, he chose to call the ideal world based on these standards "Ram-rajya" [The kingdom of Ram], the reason being Lord Ram did live his life by these standards.
-Concrete evidence of whether Ram existed as a person is bound to be a long-drawn meaningless debate between faith, history and science, but irrespective of the outcome, it still is a royal shame that his name has been hijacked by those who rape, loot and destroy. The essence of his legend is lost when instead of talking about a kingdom of justice and happiness, the extremist Hindu right-wing movement forces all non-Hindus to accept their essential "Hinduness" in a horribly warped version of Ram-rajya, one of their own making. Raking up hatred for what Muslim conquerors did hundreds of years ago, and directing it towards the innocent Muslim on the streets is about as far away from Ram's ideals as anyone can get. Their present loutish behaviour, disrespect for other religions and the destruction of symbols of faith puts them squarely in the same category as Mohammad Ghazni, Timur the Lame, Aurangzeb or any other historical maruder that they claim to hate. Far from being the so-called 'protectors of the Hindus' and the people who 'set things right', they are the mega-sized warts on the face of Hinduism which draw all the attention and who alongwith fellow loonies like extremist Muslims, war loving corporate-government conglomerates and revolutionary Lefties make the world an increasingly dangerous place for live in, for Hindus and all others.
-Disagreements are unavoidable in a world where cultures are so radically different and in times of strife, it is very very difficult to find common ground but what choice do we really have except to put up with each other, thereby saving ourselves a whole lot of bloodshed and tragedy. The 'developed' world is reeling under what it calls 'immigration issues' but it should stop freaking out and take its cues from this country which has been handling 'immigrants' for thousands of years now, rapidly digesting the immigrant label in its cast-iron stomach. Falling back on good ol' Prabhudeva and A.R. Rahman's one-stop solution "Jeet kaa mantra hai [The magic spell to victory is]... take it easy policy!" Considering that it is after all a policy, I should add "Conditions apply! Please read the offer document carefully before investing." but in the long run and the short, I hope it becomes evident that this is the only worthwhile policy on the market.
[Due apologies to Gautam Buddha, the Sufi saints, Mahatma Gandhi, Peter Fonda + Dennis Hopper, The Eagles, TVS Scooty and everyone else who have espoused the "Take it easy" cause throughout history and who also have been consistently ignored. I did not intend in any way to make light of the importance of their message.]