Ishwar Allah Tero Naam

 


Fiction

‘That’s very absurd,’ Subramanian Sir said. He had just listened to the plot of a novel that Arvind Kumar was planning to write.

Subramanian was Arvind’s teacher at Sawan Public School. The school was devoured a few years ago when one godman whose ashram lay next to the school desired to extend his territory like the kings of the olden days who had no imagination to make better use of their leisure than attack weak neighbouring countries. When the school died, Subramanian stopped teaching and chose to be in a protracted depression. Arvind, being a beloved pupil of olden days, visited the old teacher whenever the idea for a new story or poem struck him. Whenever Arvind visited his beloved teacher, the old man would be sitting in an armchair with closed eyes, legs hoisted on the low table in front, and listening to Gandhi’s favourite hymn, Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. The lines he particularly liked were ‘Ishwar Allah tero naam, sabko sanmati de bhagwan.’

‘If I say yes to this conclusion that you’re giving to the novel, Lord Rama will walk straight out of your novel and hit me with his … what, Adidas shoes?”

Arvind Kumar’s protagonist Rama belonged to contemporary India. He would soon be occupying his throne in the palatial temple being constructed by the ruling party for him in Ayodhya, on the bank of his beloved Sarayu.

‘Nike, Sir,’ Arvind said. ‘Just Do It!’

‘Ah, yes, just do it. That’s why he slaps the beautician who casts an aspersion on Sita, right? Or did he ask the mob to lynch him?’

‘Lynching is for religious enemies, Sir. A slap is enough for those who doubt your wife’s chastity.’

‘Hmm.’ Subramaniam Sir seemed to appreciate the Bharatiya male chauvinism that underlay his writer-disciple’s thinking. ‘I have to go out with some work related to my provident fund. Why don’t you join me? Maybe, you can help me deal with those impossible sarkari babus.’

‘Impossible is nothing, Sir,’ Arvind said ignoring the fact that it was Adidas slogan. ‘We can discuss Lord Rama’s Nike shoes on the way.’

There seemed to be some problem on the way. It was at the entrance of Nigambodh Ghat. A group of people had gathered. Someone was shouting at a woman who wore a tattered sari. The crowd was watching with the usual onlookers’ curiosity and perverse interest.

‘That’s a priest of the ghat,’ Arvind said. ‘An uncle of mine. Shall we stop to see what happened?’

They parked the car under a tree on a sideroad. The Yamuna flowed indifferently carrying the ashes of the dead in her black waters.

‘Get lost, you low caste woman,’ Arvind Kumar’s uncle was abusing the woman who was demanding justice.

The woman’s daughter, a nine-year-old girl was killed in the cremation ground. By the time she got the information and reached there, the priest and his helpers had buried the body in a corner of the cremation ground.

‘If you complain, the police will disinter the body for post-mortem,’ the priest explained menacingly to the grieving mother. ‘The doctors will remove all her internal organs and sell them. Her soul will never find peace. Leave it and go home.’

When the woman refused to obey the priest’s order and instead accused him of raping and killing the child, the priest turned abusive and threatening. The crowd that gathered soon watched the exchange between the priest and the woman as if it was a scene in a drama, some amusement and more indifference.

‘Your uncle was wearing Adidas shoes,’ Subramanian Sir said as they went back to their car.

In another graveyard in Delhi, at that very time, a trans woman named Anjum emerged from Arundhati Roy’s novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and built Jannat Guest House in a graveyard.

Woman arrested for disturbing the peace of cremation ground, Radio City read news headlines in Subramanian Sir’s car.

‘You should go ahead with your novel,’ Sir said to his writer-disciple. ‘Let Ram wear Nike shoes and carry an AK-47 machine gun.’

He switched off the news. The car’s music came back. ‘Ishwar Allah tero naam…’ it sang mechanically.

PS. This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon

 

Comments

  1. The stark truth. Religion is used to get away with crimes. Whichever name you use to call God, there's no hope for Sanmati.

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  2. Hari OM
    Oh oh oh... how my Beloved Ram-ji has a thumping heart that His Name be so ill-used... so twisted have become the egotistical priests and pundits; and how revenge so easily replaces Love and understanding. Listening to a mahatma's bhajan choice does not make of the listener a saint, though they may feign it so. True mahatmas know only Love for all - none are excluded from that Love. None.

    Where, oh where, are the leaders who have ALL of their peoples' interests at heart, who will attend the needs of the least able of society as much as those who fund them? Where are those who understand and declare, "Hindus and Muslims were sons of the same soil of India; they were brothers who therefore must strive to keep India free and united." (MKG) ... YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ram is just like any other god today: useless for any good and good for all useless people.

      The whole story [not this story of mine but the story of India today] revolves round how a villain makes use of a god for his personal aggrandisement.

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    2. Hari OM
      ...then here and in the next response you condemn me and all like me. Religion does not make anyone stupid. The EGO makes people stupid. Such as to condemn religion because of failure in or by it themselves... Be clear - ego and egotistical megalomania is what wrongs society and what has happened is that such personalitites have now grabbed religion and twisted it to their ends. The villain has done exactly that - but it is NOT the religion itself which has done it. It is as much a victim of the 'story'. Such a personality could have (and has) arisen to hide behind the skirts of any philosophical structure.

      Please do not condemn those whose lives and personalities are improved by their faith and practice - for they are many, many, many. Yxx

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    3. O no, I didn't mean to condemn anyone, least of all you. I know you are an authentic person and consider myself fortunate to have you as a friend. I am highly disappointed, even chagrined, by what India is doing with religion. The deep grief comes out in many ways, sometimes not quite acceptable perhaps. Sorry if i hurt you, didn't mean to.

      Delete
    4. ॐ शान्तिः _()_

      Delete
  3. Dear sir every religion says to do thinks which is good for society and for the welfare of humanity. But some of them twist the things as per their requirement like in Muslim religious book Kuran it is not said that to kill the people then I will take you in heaven. Can any of the god of any regilon can say that my dear son/ daughter kill the people's I will take you to heaven. So ilts like that only.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Nikhil, the problem with every religion is that
      1. It doesn't practise what it preaches. Religions only preach. Just like your beloved Modi. No connection between word and deed. Rather, word kills deed.

      2. Why the hell are you so obsessed with Islam? Let them go to hell for all that you and I care. Can't we build an India in spite of them? Or with them on our side? If you can't tackle your perceived enemy, you are a fool - that's not about you but about your great leader who has messed up everything in the name of Islam.

      3. If you can forget religion you will be a good human being. You are. I know. But religion makes us stupid.

      Delete
  4. Tomichan save this, central concept...I'm looking forward for a full fledged novel with ram in Nike shoes.

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    Replies
    1. Our gods should evolve with the time, right? How funny it will be to have Rama walking around today with a bow and arrow?

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  5. A very poignant post. Religion is twisted and used by selfish ppl to serve their selfish goals.
    Deepika Sharma

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    Replies
    1. Yes, those twists and the motives behind them infuriate me.

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  6. Only if the principles of Religion are preached & not practised which I think in a nutsell is Service to mankind is service to God. Then it all becomes disorted which currently is the scenario.

    Coming to the post, excellent satire wrt to the current happening!

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    Replies
    1. What we have now are power games given religious shades. India stands in need of a revolutionary change, a paradigm shift.

      Delete
  7. Provocative piece, poignant tale.

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  8. A good satire on various fronts. Hope ki kabhi sanmati bhi aa jaye....

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