Religion is a sacred cow in India. Nobody who is truly secular, would want to talk about his/ her faith in public. That is in the elite and educated circles.
The common man in India, in the fields and in manual labour jobs, workers in business establishments, would not hesitate to enquire about your religion. But then, a person who belongs to another religion is often looked with suspicion, even if it does not effect the behaviour of one towards the person from another religion.
The minorities mistrust the Majority Hindus because of their own minority position. Attacks like one on Grahm Steinz in East India in 2008 and the Godhra incidents etc are blots on India’s secular identity.
The Hindus in turn, would want to view Christianity as a missionary religion that looks for converts, and Islam as a religion that is mainly alien and brought to the country by the sword, not to forget the latest tarnish of terrorism that is associated with it. If a Moslem would annoy a fanatic Hindu, the general assault would be “Go to Pakistan”.
Then there are a chosen few like the Jevoh’s witnesses who would make the world laugh with their doomsday prophesy, too small in number to be even referred to in this passage.
Today my focus is on the Hindus and the varieties of them in its own inner circles.
Most of the Hindu Brahmins in Mumbai have best forgotten their priestly and “highly” status in the society. They would rather rant on the ills of Brahmanism in their new avatar of a person educated in the secular traditions of India. He would even be a non-vegetarian, many beef-eaters too.
And a few elite Brahmins of the last few generations would rather abhor anything Indian- festivals for example. They take infinite pleasure in denouncing all festivals, even though the majority of Hindus look forward to their festivals with great eagerness and celebrate them with great enthusiasm.
So even as Dussehra was celebrated yesterday with great pomp and fiesta, there were some on facebook who grumbled how long queues of devotees inconvenienced their life-style and a few even went to the extent of “fore-wailing” the season of Diwali. They detest gurus, but would place their own psychologists and psychiatrists on a pedestal that is none too low than a common man’s guru.
Even though I don’t hold any contempt for these few (they are worthy of our compassion), and they have every right under the constitution to be so and express how they feel: So much for hypocrisy!