Oh! Religion is at it again. The bane of our existence is now going after colours! Colours are an essential part of most religions, but claiming religious proprietary over a particular colour and attaching religious sensitivity to it is an unholy and ungodly act.
Narottam Mishra, the Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh, objected to Deepika Padukone gyrating in saffron and green bikini to a song titled ‘Besharam Rang.’
Some people interpreted that the ‘Besharam Rang’ in the lyrics refers to saffron, a colour affiliated with Hinduism. The Minister also said Deepika was wearing a green bikini which is also not correct. In other words, associating green with Islam suggesting she had insulted that religion too.
But Deepika wears many skimpy outfits of varied colours in the song, but saffron and green are what caught certain people’s eyes.
A day after Narottam Mishra objected to Deepika Padukone’s saffron bikini, the Head of All India Muslim Tehwar Committee, Peerzada Khurram Miyan, demanded a ban on the movie because “Naming such a film as ‘Pathaan’ amounts to insulting sentiments of the Pathaan clan.” But he seems to forget that Shah Rukh Khan himself is a Pathaan!
While all these people feel their respective religions are insulted, we have to ask, where is this kind of outrage when Godmen and priests belonging to these religions, wearing robes in colours representative of their religion, molest children and abuse women?
In our country, I especially feel bad for orange and green. Fanatic Muslims stake claim to green, while fanatic Hindus stake claim to orange. I wonder which shade of these colours they hold exclusive rights for.
There are about 130 shades of orange, of which saffron is one. If certain Hindus claim saffron is a holy colour, then which shade is it? If the Muslims claim green is their exclusive holy colour, then which shade of green is it? Because there are 134 shades of green.
We need to know this because as fanatics ban people from using these colours, we have to be aware what we are not supposed to use.
Last month, Nov. 14, we celebrated Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday as Children’s Day. We should remind our children of what he wrote about religion because our adults certainly haven’t read it.
Nehru wrote, “Religion at its worst is divisive and at best irrelevant to the pressing economic and social problems confronting the Indian nation.
We have to come to grips with the present — this life, this world, and this nature that surrounds us in its infinite variety.
Some Hindus talk of returning to the Vedas; some Muslims dream of an Islamic theocracy. Idle fantasies all.
For there is no going back to the past. There is no turning back. There is only one-way traffic in time. Forward.”
This is the mantra for Vikas. Getting touchy about the colour of a bikini or the name of a movie is not.
All religions are dominated by men in special dresses, headgear and odd hairstyles telling us what to eat, when to eat, how to procreate, with whom to procreate and how often to procreate! Next, we will be told what colours to wear and how to wear them.
Organised religion is similar to the military of authoritarian nations. Like how the military has uniforms, religion has holy uniforms.
Like military uniforms, religions have robes of specific colours. Like the military, they have special headgear. Like the military, they have ‘hair rules’ — from haircuts to facial hair. Like the military, they have accessories meant to indicate hierarchy and rank.
Finally, like the military, all this is done to serve one purpose and one purpose only — to exude a sense of exclusivity and power which in turn is meant to evoke respect, if not that, then fear.
That is why these two institutions — military might and religion — continue to wield power over humankind.
Instead of seeing saffron and green as Hindu and Muslim colours respectively, let us see them as our Second President Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan explained: “Saffron colour denotes renunciation or disinterestedness. Our leaders must be indifferent to material gains and dedicate themselves to their work. The green shows our relation to (the) soil, our relation to the plant life here, on which all other life depends.”
Now, if our sense of outrage is so sensitive, where was this outrage when the same-coloured bikinis were worn in earlier movies? Are we living in over-sensitive times? Yes, we are, and such an atmosphere does not aid Vikas as our PM hopes.
We must protest and fight for issues that make a nation progressive, not regressive. Let’s hope the Courts don’t accept PILs in this regard, as it will clog up the judiciary and encourage more such fanatic behaviour.
We must remember Vikas can only manifest in the absence of bakwas.
P.S. – When it comes to religion, I always say it is and always has been the bane of human existence, but the concept of God has a purpose. The idea and belief in God can be comforting when you have no answers. To each, their own God, guided by our God-given brain to have a sense of empathy, kindness, generosity and respect for fellow humans.
We may well live by the words of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor, who advised:
“Live a good life.
If there are Gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are Gods, but they are unjust, then you should not want to worship such Gods.
Finally, if there are no Gods, then you will be gone…
…but you would have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
e-mail: [email protected]