I try to understand the phenomenon constituting of violence, power, truth and justice in the daily happenings. Blasphemy is must for progress of the civilization. Ideas behind traditions must be challenged to know if they are true and relevant — and if we cannot challenge an idea, we cannot know validity of following the traditions in the society. Today, I want to publish without fear or favour and look at the world without the filter of 'faith'.
USA administered Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Soviet suppression through Gulag, Hitler's cruelty in the Holocaust, Islamic persecution of Bahai faith, Ahmadiyya community and non Muslims, discrimination in hindus on the basis of caste, Israel's action against Palestine, South African apartheid with root of racism, fight of Christianity against evolution theory and countless other struggles shows the dark side of the world in last 60 years only.
They are the recent events existing in the minds of last generation. They are still not tampered enough or vanished out by the propagandist of religion or patriotism. Milan Kundera was spot on in observing this: The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. It's a pity though that argument doesn't cut it - we have to wait for inhumanity to reach its crescendo (Spanish Inquisition, Slavery, Holocaust, Apartheid, Guantanamo) before the scales fall from people's eyes and they recognise the error in their dogma.
There can be no democracy without secularism, since only under secularism can one free oneself from religious or sectarian mentalities, and as a consequence think and choose with one's mind. What is happening is that extremist leaders who have absolutely no clue about solving the country’s problems are promising a heaven that they cannot deliver, on condition that a certain section of the country is either eliminated or pushed into the ghettos.
Any statement or work of art may be good or bad, the essential test is whether they are worth seeing or not and the authority to decide lies with the viewers and not with any self proclaimed leaders of the society, state or religion. Its not one cause which makes one a terrorist but ones method which makes one a terrorist.
The plea that nobody should offend the conservative elements’ sensibilities should be thoroughly discussed. Up to a point the argument is valid, then its used to drag down backwards to the society where power dictates. There is a ridiculous 'respect' demanded by religious people for their unsupportable superstitious beliefs.
Take the Burqa case only. Societies having people with diverse religious backgrounds are bound together partly by informal chance relations between strangers – people being able to acknowledge each other in the street or being able pass the time of day. The anonymity of the burqa takes the uniqueness of face away from the woman. That is my greatest objection to it. Burqa is a symbol of submission in the eyes of progressive religion (progressive on the basis of emergence of people who questioned authority of religion over an individual);
Women's choice should be governed by their own will. And the right of choice comes through free and rational thinking. And a person avoiding rationalism due to belief in an unquestioned faith is harmful for society, be it christian or any other religion. And don’t justify anything because its written in the religious books thousand year ago. The rational education given to you has led for this ability to question own’s logic, experience and prevailing circumstances. A decision should not be governed by the blind faith and ideological enslavement to a society, state or religion of the birth and upbringing.
I don’t see this as a ban but the freedom of woman to overcome a barrier thrown by a stone age society; We all owe Europe for its secular notion and rational thinking. And they had history of bitter fight with church and life of many good people were ruined along the way in order to define for human rights, equality, freedom and other cherished values of European enlightenment. And, That's why these value are precious; The organic growth and spreading of European secularism happened through out the world due to its universal appeal. I will end this part of essay with a dialogue from the movie Agora : You don’t question what you believe, or cannot. I must.
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