You misfired Rama Jalmi.... Badly!!!

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
03 March 2020 21:49 IST

First things first. I must confess I am an unapologetic agnostic trying to live my life by scientific temper (though my poor wife always complains that it is more temper tantrums than science)

So it's in my nature of things that I look upon every religious belief with trepidation and doubt... Big time.

Therefore I have a lot of people who pray for me, so that I do not burn in hell or some such malady.

But Pope Francis loves me, so I'm good.

But I get religion...

As much as it has been the prime cause of most wars and barbarism through history, it has also been the inspiration for some of Man's greatest achievements.

From the arts to music, from poetry to literature, from charity to infinite empathy and kindness, religion has been the driving force to keep mankind into the light and away from darkness.

The power of agnostics and atheists to inspire this level of service to the poor and suffering is negligible to say the least.

And one of the fundamental differences between an agnostic/atheist and a religious is simply this.

One constantly, constantly demands scientific proof.

The other surrenders to that which cannot be scientifically proven... they call it simply faith.

To the scientific mind this faith always seems bizarre, incredulous and simply unfathomable and hence our eternal clash of egos continues unabated.

This then brings me to a crucial point.

Can we insult Gods, in a deeply religious society, all in the name of freedom of expression??

The operative word is INSULT.

It is not to be confused with questioning patriarchal, casteist, and other ills that are prevalent in every religion and require revisiting, rethinking and reformation for the greater good of mankind.

This is something that must be done. Again and again.

But can we do away with the INSULTS, please??

Rama Jalmi clearly articulated a malicious insult to Lord Parashuram in his address at Benaulim at the anti-NRC rally.

Calling a God held dear to many of his followers a rapist and terrorist is simply a NO GO area.

It is immaterial if you believe Parashuram is myth... many believe he's God.

As much as you can't insult a Jesus Christ with profanity which would have Christians up in arms or even draw a cartoon of the prophet without the world being burnt down... you simply cannot expect a practising Hindu to just go turn the other cheek.

When we need all communities to stand as ONE, in our battle against this draconian patently divisive CAA-NRC it serves no purpose whatsoever to antagonise the Hindus with comments this insensitive and frankly bigoted.

As a ST leader, Rama has all the right to articulate his anguish and anger against the exploitation of his people by upper castes, both Christian and Hindu over the centuries... That is a good fight!

But you don't drag the Gods into the fight. Not in our deeply religious society which today is more reflexive than reflective.

Of course, the arrest was way overboard because Rama is no serial offender or some malicious villain.

He's a simple soul who got carried away.

The honourable thing for him to do would be to apologise.

And to all those vicious BJP trolls who today are in power and baying for Rama’s blood, please look into the mirror.

The reflection won't be pleasant.

From Mandir Wahin Banayenge to Jai Shri Ram, the cadre has now gleefully graduated to Goli Maaro Sallon Ko with so much impunity that no law officer can register a FIR against these goons; leave alone arrest them.

That's the Kafkaesque tragedy of our times!

But we on our side of the ideological divide do not require to play by the BJP obnoxious play book to make our point.

We can do it with grace and dignity and most importantly respect... even to our BJP foes.

Because this battle is not about winning Gods... we really have had enough of them.

This is about winning hearts and minds.

And even when we are angry, very very angry with the gross injustice and violence of our times, we must continue to believe that Love, not Hate, will defeat the forces of evil.

Maybe, just maybe, if there was a God up there, I'm sure He (or She) would agree.

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Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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Previous Comments

Dotor, you must write more and more! Thanks for saying what many would choose not to say in this world of taking sides! Unfortunately many of us should understand that rationalism is also about cautioning people who go overboard because that only kills the good in them.

- Anwesha , Margao | 03 rd March 2020 16:55


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