What is in your agenda?
Ans: I am trying to unload religion from the minds of Indians of all faiths, so that they can start thinking of a just society with least inequalities of income and wealth, where people can live with dignity and respect.
Question: Nobody will read your blogs
Ans: So what? We can't write useless stuff simply because people like to read them. It is happening in film field today. Producers say that they are showing in their pictures, what people want. Yet 90% of the films flop. Some films make money through dubious means.
We shall have to write something which will really help the society, if not today, may be in future. Place and time are also not really material. Example: It may rain heavily on some desolate Himalayan peak. When the water enters the plains, people may use it. About durability of a writer's work: Some Hindi films had no viewers in their first release, for numerous reasons. Later, they started getting stable streams of spectators. Though they may not become blockbusters, they will have constant admirers.
Why do you take Mahabharata seriously?
Mahabharta was/is not the work of one person. Its nearly 115000 verses contains the pain-staking work and of thousands of teachers and disciples spread over several centuries. Some of the verses and precepts may be insertions with selfish sectorial motives. Yet, it is not difficult to bring out the socio-economic environent as well as the philosophical arguments and import if we care to examine without bias. We cannot brush out a great scripture as something trash.
Question: Is Mahabharata, a history or a fictional novel?.
Mahabharata has some elements of history and novels. Yet, its basic character is that of a panegyric. It aims at singing the glories of the ancestors of the kings who paid for the explaining/playing/reading/singing of the encomia. Some of the ancestors might have been real. Some of their achievements and adventures might have been real. Some might have been inflated. Some verses leave us with lasting good impressions and the images accompany us till we die and will have their beneficial effects. Some others may be like cyanide. We have to tread carefully. We can never get 100% history even from the most ideal piece of evidence. The labyrinthine lanes of interpreting, reading and writing historical remnants are capable of misdirecting a person into frustrating lanes which lead nowhere. We should not lose our way. We should, at least, be able to come out of the cave, even if we are not able to see its end.
Why don't you criticise the scriptures of other religions? Are you timid?
Answer: This question is diffcult to answer in few lines. Yet I shall try.
1. The belief of "We and they / our and their" are unreal. My/your being born in Hinduism or some other religion is by sheer accident. Suppose, if you were born in a Christian or Islamic family, you would have asked me to criticise Hindu scriptures. Thus, our bias is dictated by our birth, family brought up, and influence of friends, relatives, and teachers. We cannot allow this to happen. We have to think, and search for truth like historians and social scientists. The whetstone for testing what we write is: "Are we writing truth or at least near truth?".
2. There are some legal and ethical boundaries to our right of freedom of expression. We cannot write things which will incite social disharmony and result in communal hatred and riots. Whether we like or not, we are bound by restrictions placed by the Parliament and Courts, in this respect.
3. To write about the shortcomings of every religion, we should be omniscient. We are not encyclopaedias. We have to do a lot of spade work to gather evidence and quote it, so that it will be useful to future researchers.
Question: Do you intend these blogs for foreign readers or Indian readers or Hindus only readers?
Answer: These blogs I write should be useful to every body, whether foreigner or Indian or Hindu. Reasons:
i) Many non-Indians do not know even the most basic things about India. They know nothing beyond bible and believe that India and Hinduism are barbaric. They are totally wrong. Simply because I expect non-Indian readers to read my blogs, I cannot twist or tailor-make what I write to meet their expectations and get their encomiums. If some Christian Missionary reads a post of mine which opposed conversions of illiterates and semi-literates and wants to close the window in disgust, he-she is welcome. I cannot change the truth of conversions playing havoc in India. In fact, it is the Christian missionaries who played havoc with pagan religions of Europe and created a false impression that Christianity was the first religion in Europe and the preceding people were barbarian uncivilised tribes. It is they, who should apologise for erasing pagan religions from European History.
Recently, one Arch Bishop in India, lamented in a newspaper column that there was no level play-ground for spreading religions. He felt that ISKCON people were going around the world freely converting people into Hinduism, while the Christian Missionaries were being denied the same facility. Many of the ISKCON canvassers happen to be Europeans who converted from Christianity to Krishna Religion. They have started building huge marble temples mobilising funds from builders and realtors , and selling books at high prices. They have a rigid administrative structure a la Christianity. The similarity of their objectives make them rival business persons who envy one another. Neither Christian Missionaries nor the ISKCON propagandaists realise that there was no need to convert people.
What the ordinary Europeans of today who have great faith in Jesus and donate large amounts to Churches for spreading Christianity do not know is, that Europe worshipped Visn (Vishnu) and Lakme (Lakshmi) before the 14th Century. They do not know that female Goddesses were worshipped in Latvia, Lithuania, Sudovia, Old Prussia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
By studying the Indian Culture, the Europeans and the Americans (Europeans who migrated to America, unable to bear religious persecution), can know more about their own North European real culture which was branded as 'pagan' and oppressed in Europe. The remnants of that culture, they can see in India, in spite of being attacked by Arabs, Turks, Moghuls and Romeo-Europeans. It will be something like Alex Haley's "Roots".
ii) Many Indians have a bloated view about their religions and culture. I hear everyday from the seminar podia, speakers blasting the audience only slogans: "India taught culture to the world. Vedas contain nuclear science. Vedas contain the technology of aircrafting making. Europe has learnt surgeries from India." These type of slogans lead only to false conceits and prides. Indians become plumed partridges. Indians were neither barbarians nor creators of Great Civilisations. Truth lies somewhere in between.
A Nation and its citizens should know what they truly were, independent of fanciful self-conceits. For that only, a reading of scriptures and indigenous literature becomes necessary, apart from reading Commerce, Science, Technology and Management Science of Manufacturing and Logistics. India is producing hundreds of thousands of B.Tech. and M.Tech. Graduates, besides lawyers, Chartered Accountants and M.B.As. Many of them spend a lot of time on the Internet. Those who have lucrative jobs, search for social net-working sites and porno. For them, the life itself is 'light' and 'fun'. They can't tolerate anything serious. Reading serious things requires effort, as they have to apply their mind. Exhausted with their strenuous job chores, they want to unlock their nerves by loose-read, loose-talk, and loose-write. We cannot find fault with unemployed youth because they have their priorities. They are accountable to their parents and show their progress from time to time.
My blogs are intended for everybody who has at least a moral obligation to search truth and their Nationality is immaterial.