Invoking Charvaka and Beheading for Posts Can’t Go Together
Nupur Sharma and Mahua Moitra should have both been free to speak but our social fabric today is laced with hypocrisy and lopsided sense of justice
In the past few days, more than a dozen of my friends have reminded me of Charvaka. Charvaka was the ultimate materialist, the delight of hedonists. He cocked a snook at Hinduism's core philosophy of Karma. But such is the magnanimity ingrained in our ethos that far from beheading or burning at the stake, Charvaka was given the freedom to propagate his thought.
Some went on to call him a Rishi (sage) thus indicating that Hinduism had the space and the strength to not just allow various streams of thought but even honour those who challenged it head on.
I do not believe in Charvaka's materialist thoughts but I have certainly been fascinated by the idea that I belong to this land which even honours its Charvakas. So why should there be any flutter, much less outrage, over the Kaali poster of a filmmaker whose film wouldn't have been watched even by a handful but for the controversy? And why should there be FIRs if an MP refers to (what she calls) an artist's 'imagination' of the deity or the diverse practices of worship in India?
The answer is simple. One cannot invoke Charvaka at a time when an outburst by one person leads to calls for beheading. In fact, the calls have now been translated into ACTUAL beheadings. Three cases are already under investigation and one can only pray that there won't be any more.
In our true debating tradition, both Nupur Sharma and Mahua Moitra should be able to voice their opinion and others can differ with or counter them in the strongest words but that's it. There should be no cause for police action, much less calls for beheading. But that is not the world we live in today.
While Nupur faces threat to life for her comments, those who did not even say anything but merely forwarded or liked a post have lost their lives in brutal beheadings. In Mahua Moitra's own state, there are multiple FIRs against Nupur and West Bengal police is on her 'look-out'. One did not hear Ms Moitra stand for Nupur or decry the police action even as she has vociferously defended Leena Manimekalai for her 'cinematic freedom'.
And herein lies the problem. The Trinamool Congress may have issued a half-hearted 'distancing' tweet from Ms Moitra's remarks but its senior most leaders have been leading the charge against Nupur. Conveniently overlooking those mocking, provocative comments on Hindu faith by TV panellists and ontwitter/Facebook including the mocking tweet on the Shivling by their own Mahua Moitra. And that, by and large, is the stock response of the self-proclaimed liberal-secular commentator.
They like to beat each other in condemning anything spoken remotely against Muslims or other religions. But expect Hindus to stick to their magnanimous tradition in the face of extreme and repeated provocation.
Just as the Udaipur beheading, which ought to put every civilised society to shame, the condemnation by liberals is worded very smartly. While they condemn the act of violence, they are quick to add how Muslims are being pushed to it. Thus 'building up a case' in defence of the violence.
Call it coincidence but the 'Kaali' poster controversy has come at a time when the killers are proudly boasting how they beheaded someone for supporting Nupur Sharma. And it has exposed like never before the double standards and the hypocrisy of those who call themselves democratic.
The average Hindu is brought up to respect every religion and prefers to concentrate on bread and butter issues. But she can observe how Hindu faith, symbols, Gods and Goddesses are being mocked at, humiliated. This anger is not limited to some right wing organisations or extremist cult. It is felt by every Hindu though not expressed vociferously to the same degree. This feeling of simmering discontent among the average Hindus is the real cause of worry.
Does that mean we become mirror images of each other and adopt the cult of the 'beheading' brigade? Certainly not. But this woke culture of building a defence for the beheadings while expecting that Hindus must turn a blind eye to every provocation, needs to stop. It has reached a point where the entire social fabric is threatened. And common citizens' lives are at stake.
It is no rocket science to understand that all those calls for reform from within the Muslim community have yielded negligible results. The indoctrination, the radicalisation is at a worrisome level. Very often religious leaders are seen supporting it.
Self restraint is the ideal way to deal with this challenge and de-radicalisation is the need of the hour. Any thought of retributive violence or reaction will only plunge the society into a vortex of violence. But since efforts from within the community have failed to create an impact, the law enforcing agencies must enforce the law of the land.
To come back from where I started, Charvaka can only be invoked when practitioners of all religions display the same magnanimity and the self proclaimed liberals stop applying different yardsticks in their portrayal of India globally.
(Smita Mishra writes on politics and current affairs)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.