Shocking… or is it?

Came across this piece of news.

It’s a short article, so here it is, verbatim:

2000 women whipped for 5 hours by priests

Like every Dussera, thousands gathered to pray at a 300-year-old temple in Tamil Nadu’s Namakkal district. What followed next was unspeakable horror.

Two thousand teenagers and children, some as young as 10, were whipped by the temple’s priests. For five hours. The priests’ explanation: This whipping is a cure-all. Some 10-year-olds were lashed for not studying enough. Others were attacked for being slow to attain puberty. And menstruating teens were hit for being impure. The priests say this is nothing new. “We have been practicing this ritual for 300 years,” declares Thangavelu, a priest.

The shocking scenes were filmed by local channels, none of whom called for help. Like others in this area, they find nothing absurd about what they saw. Tradition is tradition, they say.

The women can be seen gasping for breath, many are sobbing their hearts out. But the faith is unshakeable. Radhika, a devotee, says, “We believe that when we are whipped, we will get rid of all our mental and physical ailments and evil spirits.”

‘Women’?? Should the headline not have read ‘Children’?

I wonder how long it will take us to finally realize that the priests that we follow blindly are as human as the rest of us, and as impure and shrouded in selfishness. Maybe even more than the rest of us in some cases. Education, they say, does the trick. No, it doesn’t. Even the most educated people can be blind to faith, and adept at keeping the logical part of their brain asleep when they need to.

When will we get it into our heads that you are who you are because of who you are, and not because of what your surname or ancestry is? People are not born equal, but what makes them apart is their ability – physically and mentally – not their surnames.

A comment on the post suggests that the government should take ‘serious measures’ against these practices. Hm. The ‘government’, by definition, governs society – and it bases its work on socially accepted norms. These norms are different between regions, and so are the laws in different lands. Does the commenter really believe that the majority of the Indian population believes that the local priest is wrong?

Also, I’m reminded of a quote that a TV channel used during Sourav Ganguly’r farewell (yes, here I go again with Sourav references): “A good leader takes his men where they want to go; a great leader takes his men where they ought to go.” True, and I don’t think the Indian governing system is even a ‘good’ one overall.

The online prayer service!

Too busy to pray? Not having enough time to spare to spend with the God of your choice?

Well, now you have an online prayer service!

Online Prayer Service!!

Online Prayer Service!!

For a fee, this service will incant your prayers each day. It’s personalized too, and just so that the God of your choice is not confused, your name is displayed on the computer screen as the computer incants your prayers.

The perfect system to stay in touch with your God, and you don’t even have to do anything (except pay, of course). It’s perfect, don’t you think?

(Well, you might have to pray that the company does its job as promised. Heh.)

Link via Pharyngula.

Holi… with the wrong color

Today is Holi, the Indian festival of colors, and the only day of the year when people don’t mind others, especially children, pouring colored water on them – that’s part of the celebrations!

Well, not everyone agrees or participates, it seems.

An eight-year-old, for example, sprayed a man with colors, and was shot at in return. Both her legs are injured.

Not fun, I am sure, for the children to celebrate Holi with blood.

The things that one comes across!!

I chanced upon this interview today, of Mr Raj Thakeray (link via this post from the India Uncut blog). Being a wee bit politically challenged, I don’t know much about who exactly this person is, and what his role in Indian and/or Maharashtrian politics is, but this is… well, I am fumbling for words here – go read, you’ll know!

Excerpts:

Interviewer: Your workers targeted Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s technical institute in spite of the High Court order asking you not to indulge in violence.
Raj Thakeray: I read the order only a day later. It’s not that I disrespect the law. Joshi runs many institutes across the state, and if I had wanted, we could have created problems at most of them.

Interviewer: You had a problem with signboards not being in Marathi and now you also have a problem with the typography.
RT: If you read the guidelines, it says that shopkeepers should have signboards in Marathi. The law has to be complied with.

Hm. Being violent, and ‘creating problems’, are within the law, then, until a court says it isn’t?!

Interviewer: You are stopping citizens of the same country from earning their livelihood from wherever they want to.
RT: Do they allow our people to come and earn in their state? They have rules that only when people from their state have occupied posts then others will be allowed to. Why should I let others come and flourish at our expense?

Interviewer: You have asked for reservation in all sectors. How will people from other states work here and help the economy? Ratan Tata has been invited by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to set up the Nano plant. Would that be acceptable to you?
RT: Yes, why not? He should come and help the state prosper.

Interviewer: Ratan Tata is a non-Maharashtrian who has contributed so much to the state.
RT: I am not against everyone — not even North Indians — I am only against those who come from UP and Bihar with an agenda. Why do these people come here and give exams for the seats in railways which should be alloted to the locals first?

Interviewer: But should it not be competitive as in any other sector? Let whoever is better get the seat.
RT: Better!! Better than Maharashtrians! I don’t want to continue with this interview. (leaves the room).

Wow. No comments.

P.S.: Contrast this with this report (again, link via this post from the India Uncut blog) of Mr Amitabh Bacchan apologising for his family having allegedly hurt Marathi sentiments – or, rather RT’s sentiments, perhaps? RT is someone with a lot of sentiments, isn’t he!

Hm. I wonder if he is the only one allowed to have sentiments in India.