Saturday, January 24, 2009
Almost all people can traditionally be bucketed as pursuers of one or more of the 3 Gs. Gold, Glory and God. Once upon a time pursuing God and thereby religion helped kings, chieftains and US Presidents, who were fundamentally Gold or Glory pursuers, project a noble face to the public. It reduced their worries about having to die without doing something 'good' - an essential karma for a fantastic after-life disposition. For them, pursuing God was guilt-neutraliser. Surprisingly, this pursuit became synonymous with integrity, trustworthiness, concern for humanity, and profoundness. Today, the deteriorating brand value of God is causing considerable discomfort to Gold/Glory pursuers. They would like to possess a dimension that is regarded as noble and one that would bring out cool stuff like integrity, trustworthiness, humane'ness, and profoundness. Environment is the new God. Man is back to worshipping the elements and the trees. Since both the environmental God and the now out-of-fashion religion-based God promise tremendous after-your-lifetime benefits - the former can easily slip into the latter's shoes.
The sleeveless-salwar and jeans wearing social activist type chics, who party hard at night and work for the country during day, are a welcome fake-sanyasis of this new religion. They make it easy for guys who want to woo them. One just has to to say the right things and pretend to be sensitive to 'ecchi vecha' plastic water bottles and its garbage inmates. However, the only draw back for this otherwise fine religion is that it renders the exploitation of poor by the rich slightly more obvious. The poor man commutes in public buses, trains and cycles that run on dynamo power. This poor man who worships an amman based on the forest trees is slightly confused by the new-fangled campaigns created by English-newspaper chics. Apparently the rich who built industries that pump tons of poison into the air, who kill animals for leather and trees for furniture, who have joined the burgeoning upper middle-class in buying billions of fridges and cars that poke holes in the atmosphere - want to put a noble face.
Much like its predecessors which encourages exploitation as long as it is for jihad, this religion offers "parikaaram". The rich can create 99.99% of the pollution in the world but they are excused if they "do their might" for their god by stopping the poor man from creating the other 0.01%. So the poor man who bursts firecrackers once a year during deepavali and burns old stuff once a year during bhogi is now to blame for all evil. Campaigns are created by people who own cars, awareness is spread by chain smokers, newspaper columns are written on dead trees. So the rich, the presidents who take oaths, senators who take oaths, Hollywood type people, book writers, CEOs and MBA types can read about this. Their heart warms up with satisfaction, moksha appears like a guarantee and backs are patted. Their guilt and the country's poor are effectively neutralized.