Religion is my business.
No no, I am no God Man,
Nor am I a phony religious hard-liner or extremist.
I supply materials and artifacts for religious processions and rallies. Be it posters or banners or pamphlets. I was also renting walking sticks for old people but then they using them as lathis for hitting other people.
The most recent addition to my offerings are pocket-friendly pouches (in size and price) of easy-t0-throw stones for pelting at police and public alike. They have been a rage recently.
Never thought that religion could be such a lucrative business..
“Sale! Each ten rupees! “, Bhola shouted hoarse. Crowds milled. Today is the final day of the Immaculate Mary Chariot Festival. Hundreds passed by. Many peeked at his wares. None bought.
Bhola stole a painful glance at his till. Sixty rupees. Forty more needed. The Hindu Vidyalaya Principal was strict about the last date for school fees payment. ‘Will my son lose it all?’ Bhola’s heart bled.
He did not notice Akhtar first. He was brought to his senses only when Akhtar thrust a fifty bill at his face and said “Char dena bhai”.
Who should I be today? A Hindu, a Christian or a Muslim? As I was contemplating on what pendant to wear today, I heard a familiar voice calling my name from downstairs. “Hey Langda”, you will be dropped near church street today. “I need minimum Rs 2000 from you by the end of the day”, the voice bellowed. Soon, before sunrise, I found myself in front of the big white church. Just then the temple bells started to ring from across the street. Unknowingly I brought my palms together in veneration. The irony brought a smile to my lips. .
Boss: chotu which religion do you belong to?
Boss: Since we are in this market, I can buy you symbol of your religion.
chotu: But I don’t know which religion I belong.
boss: So your parents never told you about religion.
chotu: Grew up on streets begging and doing odd jobs being orphan.
boss : Which religion would u like to follow.
chotu: Is it necessary to follow religion?
Boss: Yes, Because religion gives us identity in society.
chotu:I would prefer that religion symbol which will provide me food for life under any circumstances.
It matters a lot on what you believe on. It can be anything, God, Power, Love or simply Life. That belief itself shapes the world around you because it is a very powerful word. I do not believe in praying all day or doing offerings which in turn will fulfil my unworthy wishes but I surely do believe in Humanity which is greater than all. Humanity means the quality of being humane. Itself it is justified as it holds zillion feelings bound together : sympathy, tolerance, compassion, mercy, gentleness.
So do everyone a favour. Instead of buying 2 coconuts, a dozen banana and incense sticks, please feed a poor. Its only humane..
Why do they put pictures that drive you in towards one narrative?
Maybe that's their way of flushing the needle out of the haystack.
What do you mean?
You find gold when you strike where it isn't already struck before.
You are smart.
So what have you got?
The truth, with a twist.
What do you mean?
Harmony, a facade. They want you to focus on where you shouldn't be.
Needle in the haystack, indeed.
You drove the narrative. I just stayed back to look at the bigger picture.
Always choose the background, don't you?
It's peaceful. .
Diagrams exist for both the sides, so do images and manuscripts. It is what we choose to believe that becomes our truth. The opinion that we favor that defines us. It is only the motivation to prove the opposition wrong that drives us to defend our beliefs.
Fundamentally it is all moot. Your choices hold the key to your reality.
Amen. Or not..
The Muslim girl picked up the Om locket and bowed down for Namaaz. A Christ locket was adorned by the boy who pressed his palms together to pray to his dearest Lord Hanuman. The final showdown had put everyone under stress. A girl crossed herself who chose her favourite baby pink colour scarf to tie the Hijaab. The bearers of talent forgot the differences every time they performed on the stage. But, in reality, why do people rarely show adoration towards other religions ?.
Mine is bigger,
He said with a swagger.
Mine triumphs yours,
Retorted the other.
Not engaging in battles futile,
But still winning,
The other God’s mongers,
Exercised a victorious smile.
Though an ordinary mortal,
Grey muscles he flexed,
I have a doubt,
Said a simpleton, perplexed.
Why this animosity?
Why this anger?
Alone or together,
Every God is the complete truth
Pray, love; why behave uncouth
Flies alone, together never,
Ours only ours, rules time forever.
Stop, enough of this baloney,
Hanging together for money,
He pointed without a moment to drop,
To a place called The Gods' Shop.
Somehow while trying to knit ourselves into a pack of believers of an ideology we created the concept of "religion". Ironically we have condoned our non essential gratified efforts in upholding a materialistic tendency of "god fearing". We have created religious symbols, marketed them in a similar line as brand logos and demarcated humankind on grounds of non scientific beliefs. However, when the core of every religion echoes about harmony, humanity and brotherhood why do we create a social divide? It's simply because we have lost ourselves in symbolism. It's time we appeal for peace and oneness. .
"Om!" She shrieked out loud and Anwar looked around him with a sheepish smile to try and melt down the disapproving eyes passing by him. "Shush sweetie I cannot buy you that." Little did Heena know why her Dad was refusing to buy her a mere ornament with such zero compassion. She kept contemplating why was she being denied of a beautiful trinket as anyways it won't be seen under her burqa which she has been donning for quite some time now. It is just a locket, something to put in around your neck, isn't it? She kept wondering...
He sold the locket of AUM in the morning....... He sold Crucifix at night.... He greeted "God bless you" in the morning....... He chanted "Jai Shree Ram" at night. A single religion was not enough to feed his entire family. He knew no religion. Actually........ Why should he ? If the creator himself did not differentiate people on the basis of religion, who was he to do so. He believed in his deeds, so he never had to wear all this. May Jesus bless him.. May Allah fulfil all his Dua's... May God give him Aashirvaad !!.
Her eyes glided through the pendants – wooden or white, Cross or Om. Good business sense to sell religions as tourist souvenirs, a piece of the country that you visited - to be taken back, to be gifted. How easy if religions can be gifted, and exchanged! Those memories were gushing in again – of deafening explosions and feverish chants, mother running inside grabbing her and sisters, warm blood splashing all over, pain and tears muddled in the throat. How easy if religions can be worn in and out, gifted, and exchanged! She turned away and moved on. .
She looked at each of them examining them. "These are the lucky charms, you say?" She asked the shoppkeeper who flashed a wide toothless smile and nodded "Okay, I'll take this, she says, pointing to a random one." The look didn't bother her, the luck in them did. God knows she need the luck. "Quick, I don't have time." She says, looking behind her. They'd be here any second now, looking for her, She's surprised they haven't caught up with her already. She looks back at her lucky charm and wishes she hadn't killed that man..
He came back home late at night and hung his cross just beside the Ohm. Thankfully, these religious symbols were helpful in getting him close to the people who needed something which was more than just God in order to survive : Food. Today he is priest. Yesterday he was Saadhu. Tomorrow he will be Maulana. Because he knew that whichever path we might choose to reach to the God, they all invariably pass through the blessings of the people we have helped when they needed it the most. .
Is there still any hope to save mankind, she thought looking at the mix of faiths who just did not want to come together.
She could see them kill each other over slogans, burning each others' homes and then people taking advantage of all this to get power and positions.
But then, all it took to restore her faith was when she saw a Muslim family adopt a Christian orphan, the family which was involved in idol making for Hindus.
Now all she could see was the underlying Humanity - and she decided that there was still hope left!
Troubled mind and shuffled thoughts, myriad of kaledescopical dreams being shattered as fast as cells dying inside his body. He believed in uparalled love, the infinite power of it which he read about in all the old poems. The inside of those books still holding the dried flowers waiting to see the sunset and smelling of warmth and all things pure and serene . But he was wrong when she pointed her finger to the ohm around his chest and went to light candles.