Monday, January 22, 2024

"go not to the temple"

I'm feeling frustrated about the huge celebrations in India and worldwide for the temple Hindu fundamentalists have built over the mosque they destroyed (and the blood of the people they've killed). 

My Twitter and FB feeds are mostly progressive articles and quips, but my WhatsApp (elementary school pals) is chockful of people sharing pictures and claiming they're just celebrating and that it's not at all political. How could anything that caused the deaths of over 2000 innocent people and has led to the current wave of intense and ignorant Hindu fundamentalism be unpolitical? All these (high-caste) Hindu women posting random and adulatory details of the temple! I wonder if our non-Hindu classmates--the Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Parsi, Periyarist Dalit kids--have already left or are just staying silent. 

On the cousins' chat, my cousin very helpfully posted a picture of themselves drinking out of a mug labeled "liberal tears." I was going to say something cutting, but this is a troll move and I'm not responding--anything else would be a reward for them. 

Pic: Tagore and "Go Not To the Temple." Friends have been posting a lot of Tagore, and while this is not his best work, I've been resharing it. It would be easy to ignore me, but it's a bit harder to ignore the Nobel-winning author of the Indian national anthem. 

9 comments:

StephLove said...

I saw a story about that in the paper this morning. It is sad, both the specific event and the general slide into religious intolerance in India. It must be very painful for you.

I have right-wing relatives whose posts I occasionally see on FB, but I've mostly unfollowed them. I don't really have a relationship with any of them, so it was easy to let go. Maybe too easy, maybe that's why we're so polarized as a nation but I didn't see any way I could change their minds about anything (or they could change mine).

maya said...

Steph--This brought me clarity. Thank you. I have a need to stay in touch with everyone I've ever encountered, but as A pointed out yesterday--these are not friends, just classmates from decades ago.

Meenakshi said...

I am in the same boat. I was in India during the Babri masjid demolition and was horrified that something like it could happen. The communal riots that followed were horrific. I am mystified that this has been forgotten. And that even people that I known as reasonable as all celebrating the building of this temple that has its basis in such violence. Waay for a majoity religion to make its minority population feel safe.. No sensitivity towards a religious minority. No acknowledment that 30 years ago, a religious instituion was destroyed. Also to add, just to put it somewhere, the wife-ditching Rama was never a favorite deity for me even while growing up.

Nance said...

Steph's comment reminds me why (again) I'm not on fb or other social media. Too easy to be in touch with people I'm not purposefully in touch with in real life.

I do often wonder, as Steph said, whether this sort of Instant Access to everyone and their ideologies across the board has fed the rifts in our country. Certainly media of all types being available 24/7--some of it not reputable--has fostered this polarization.

Thank you for sharing the poem Go not to the Temple. It's heavy with message for faux Christians, too. And exactly how I feel about organized religion pretty much all the time.

Sarah said...

Great. Glad to hear that privileged people deny political motivations behind very political actions across cultures. Thanks for sharing the poem.

maya said...

Meenakshi--I remember 1992 too. And I remember imbibing all the "national integration" and "unity in diversity messages" with these very same people. That India has mostly disappeared. It's tragic, and the consequences for non-Hindu and non-Savarna folks are so dire.

Nance--That easy access to people's politics thing is definitely something to ponder on. Would I prefer to know or not? Honestly, I can't make up my mind on this.

Sarah--Yep. That's always the red flag. I wish we could give the kids a universe that bends toward justice.

Gillian said...

Good poem.

StephLove said...


Actually, I meant the opposite of how some took it-- that maybe I SHOULD stay in closer touch with my relatives on the other side of the political spectrum, that if I tried to understand them and they tried to understand me we could bridge the divide. But I just don't have it in me, honestly, because I don't really think it could work.

maya said...

Steph--That's how I took it. But it is healthy to disengage. While I'm open to new information, I don't believe that "they" can change "my" mind, either.

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