In the year 1257, an elephant died in the Tower menagerie and was buried in a pit near the chapel. But the following year he was dug up and his remains sent to Westminster Abbey. Now, what did they want at Westminster Abbey, with the remains of an elephant? If not to carve a ton of relics out of him, and make his animal bones into the bones of saints?
The above quote is taken from Hilary Mantel’s latest Man Booker Prize-winning novel, Bring Up the Bodies (page 69, Fourth Estate, London, 2012).
Mantel’s novel, which I’m still reading, thrusts before us a lot of questions without ever making it look like thrusting. I like such novels. Novels that tickle us into thinking, gently, slowly – quite unlike the fist-wielding street hooligans’ (ab-surd) ways. I ordered this novel even before it was published in India because I knew it wouldn’t disappoint me.
I have lived for over 5 decades with people who claim to be religious, people who pretend to be good. The people whom I dread most are the religious. They can sell anything, kill anybody, and pretend to be holy after all that. Worse, they can portray the most innocent person as the worst criminal. I have seen it. I have lived with it.
I have begun to hate religion, much as I would hate to hate anything.
Atheist as I have become (I used to call myself an agnostic – but I would now rather be an atheist), my prayer to the teeming gods is: “Save me from your followers.”
Note 2: This is a wicked post.