Get out of my Dreams... Get into my World

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
13 October 2015 11:01 IST

It was a calm Sunday dawn. I was jogging along the Fatorda track. The track resembles a trail nowadays. So much damage to the rubber track with the underlying concrete getting exposed to footfall. It is indeed a proprioceptive challenge to run on this track.

As I took my eighth round of the track, I heard a somewhat loud call of a man nearing his sixties as he passed me, walking in the opposite direction. "Hey God!" he said, addressing me. He was not known to me. I gave him a thumbs up with a smile and continued to run. It struck me that I was wearing a bright saffron technical T shirt. He had associated the colour with the idea of God. The colour, though historically associated with sacrifice or renunciation, has now become the colour of inequality. The colour that separates the ordinary mortals of our nation from those on a "higher" plane. And nowadays the mortals are actually experiencing mortality at the hands of the " saffrons"!

Inequality is a thought rooted to religion. Inequality based on accidents of birth like religion, caste, nationality. Inequality between man and woman. Between man and Godman, between man and God. Inequality based on intelligence, academic or non academic achievement. Based on seniority or age. There is an inequality based on genetic endowment and environmental influences on human beings. But does this inequality need to be extrapolated into the realm of our psyche? HUMANISM says no. All humans are equal. That is why humanist thought flies in the face of religion and narrow nationalism. Humanism becomes deeply related to ATHEISM. Atheism is the thought that all, being human, are equal. No heroes, no villains. No God, no devil.

CONSCIENCE is basic to understanding of humanism. To the understanding of the divisive force of inequality that functions in our individuals and our society in myriad ways. A spirit of questioning is indispensable to the comprehension of the myriad ways of division. QUESTIONING leads to advancement of civilization. Conformity is the opposite of questioning. Conformity leads to decay of civilization. Questioning is scientific temper. Conformity is religious fervour.

What, then, is CIVILIZATION? Is civilization knowledge? Is civilization culture? Is it something to do with the individual? Is it something to do with the society? Is it a secular entity or is it a communal entity?

To me, civilization is very much individual. It is the state of mind of the individual. State of mind of the society is same as that of the individual in it. Civilization is the ability of the individual to attain the best states of mind and retain them for the longest possible time. KNOWLEDGE makes these states of mind possible. Not culture. Knowledge is a secular entity. Culture is not. By very linguistics, culture has to do with cult or commune. It is but natural that culture has to do with caste, religion and such other divisive forces. Knowledge has to do with science, humanism and such other uniting forces.

A divisive force cannot maintain a civilization -- let alone advance it ! Civilization, like DEMOCRACY, is a flower that blossoms when the conditions are conducive.

Democracy requires enlightened citizens. Mere voters can only constitute vote banks and promote vote bank politics. Such voters cannot constitute a democracy. What they can constitute is an oligarchy or a kleptocracy that looks like a democracy. Without enlightened citizens, a democracy remains just a collective wisdom of individually ignorant people.

ENLIGHTENMENT is the duty of the individual. None can bestow enlightenment on another, although nothing can stop one from trying to. My definition of enlightenment is pretty simple. It is the ability to discern the myth from reality. The ability to distinguish the truth from untruth. It is the ability to understand the truth as truth and untruth as untruth. Myth is an important part of any civilization and it gives wings to human imagination. But it is distinct from reality. Myth and reality may be historical, religious, political,scientific, social or even psychological.

.......So my dear Equality, Humanism, Atheism, Conscience, Questioning, Knowledge, Civilization, Democracy and Enlightenment...... just get out of my dreams and get into my world!

........And I am just another global youth I hope!

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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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Previous Comments

Good thoughts. Seems like you are a noble man. May your tribe grow manifolds. History has told us, fundamentalism has always led to chaos and disasters. Whether it is Portuguese Inquisition, ISIS, islamic aggressions or the rise of hindu intolerance. Atheism is the best, it is obvious from life in some countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc. On the other hand, look at hardcore religious states such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. No value to you if you are not from a particular religion.

- Janardan Rane, USA | 15 th October 2015 07:14

 

Man, you are saffronized, see saffron everywhere. Life is beautiful, look at other colors too. Take it easy.

- Rajeev kamat, UAE | 14 th October 2015 18:21

 

Lovely article!

- Hans van den Bos, Ireland | 13 th October 2015 18:43

 

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