A desire to run away from the oppressiveness of the world into the solace of solitude is mounting in me restlessly these days. I’m no sage and the Himalayas don’t entice me with all their gods and nymphs. In fact, it’s more important to escape from gods these days. Gods have capitulated to the insanity of their devotees.
My home and the little garden around it will do for me as long as priests and politicians stay away.
A priest was arrested yesterday from a place not too far from my home for impregnating a minor girl. The girl must have been helpless before the suave exterior of the priest who is taken by the faithful flock as the representative of God on earth. The priest is the one who listens to the confessions of the ordinary sinners and absolves their sins in the name of God. It is easy for a 16-year old to fall prey to the devil that comes wearing a priest’s robe.
It is easy for us to dismiss the issue labelling it a one-off affair. Far from being singular, such venality is more prevalent today than ever in every religion particularly among the priestly classes. Look at the number of godmen who are already behind the bars for grotesque abuse of their female devotees. There are more of their ilk outside the prison walls than inside.
It is not just about abuse of women, however. We find religions infiltrated with criminals. We find a nefarious nexus between crime, religion and politics. They all ride tandem to pick cherished trophies from the Mount of Success.
A 20-year old girl who says that Pakistan did not kill her father (who died in an Indo-Pak war) but the war did is trolled mercilessly and even threatened with rape by people who claim to be patriots and guardians of Bharatiya culture. The youthful idealism of that girl who merely wanted to say that she does not hate anyone merely because they are born in a different country and practise a different religion was drowned in the cacophony raised by hooligans who beat the tin drums of patriotism.
I live in a country whose criminals live in prisons enjoying VVIP status or in grand palaces with goons and thugs at their beck and call, while the simple, ordinary, good citizens keep struggling endlessly to get food and water. I live in a country which glorifies perverts and cowards in the name of religion and culture. I live in a country whose leaders mouth hollow promises and actually deliver hatred and violence.
Insanity reigns supreme here. The one who shouts loudest gets the throne. That’s why I need the distance.