Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Pet Peeves 2

Religion

4) When people skillfully delimit their religion to make it blameless. Typically, such zealots will manipulate and harp on the intricacies of what religions means, will conveniently exclude or disown scriptures and important religious texts (“Manu-smriti ain’t Hindu”) and auxiliary customs (“The caste system ain’t Hindu coz it ain’t practiced properly”), and resort to obscure historical and a-historical “facts” (“Sati ain’t all that bad coz it started as a voluntary act”).

3) When people give heinous scriptural injunctions a gentle turn. Popular candidates for such benevolent twisting include quotes from the Koran – “Take them (Kafirs) and kill them wherever you may find them” (yeah, right, the Prophet was only talking about select few Kafirs) and Manu-smriti - Animals, drums, illiterates, low castes, and women are worthy of being beaten (sure, Manu’s referring only to those animals, illiterates, low castes, and women that harm you).

2) When people put on the noble garb of universality and say with great self-importance: “All religions are equal” or “I respect all religions equally” or the most nerve-racking “All religions are true and lead to God”. The average Joe of this species is near illiterate on religious matters, has zero respect for academia, has not touched most major religious scriptures with a ten-foot-pole, and has foul breath.

1) Jihadis, RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, KKK, bible-pushers, the Pope, ISKCON, mullahs, et al. These sand-monkeys are very easy to avoid but difficult to eliminate. They look strange and wear weird clothes (white gowns, saffron gowns, dilapidated dhotis, nudists, crowns, turbans, beard sans mustache – the works), have exceedingly putrid body odors, and spout garbled bullshit. Stronger identification tests include resistance to all reason and to corrosive acids.

Music

3) A statistically established 95% of Hindi movie music. A.R.Rahman, Ismail Darbar, and some other precious few music makers save the day.

2) When people summarily dismiss Indian or Western vocal classical music as “wailing” or “shouting”. These savages constitute that burgeoning class of nincompoops whose technical denomination is “ghaat”. They are often found shaking their unshapely booties to Yash Raj Film music, Britney Spears, rap, and metal.

1) When the uninitiated are suddenly accosted by the sublimity of Kishori Amonkar or Kesarbai, they pose as pundits on the subject and pronounce with a learned mien: “Oh, you like bhajans, do you?” Or even worse “I love ghazals tooooooooo”. The distinctions between Khayal, Drupad, Dadra, Hori, Bhajan, and Ghazal are lost on these philistines. An anecdote will be instructive at this juncture. A friend (well, she was a friend before this happened) and I were leisurely driving along in good company with Kishori’s vilambit Gaud Sarang in the background. She says: “I really like classical music too.” “Oh? What do you like?” Carefully, like a child proudly pronouncing a newly-learned word, she says: “You know, r-aa-g-aaaa-s.” Life was never quite the same for me ever after.

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