Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chasing Charlie Hebdo Dream

Exploring god in small things is nothing new but it sounds ridiculous if one reverses it, that is, if we start noticing smaller details in a bigger, nastier and ghastly events. The atrocious attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine was one such event. When whole world was condemning the nonsensical bloodshed, I was taking pride in the fact that I could figure out what “je sui Charlie Hebdo” meant literally. I was also smirking at the wrong pronunciation of the magazine title by our desi reporters. It made me sad to notice such petty things and missing out on larger picture. I tended to indulge in self-condemnation and self-loathing but then it struck me that have not such attacks become part of our damned daily life? Every day, newspapers shout from their headlines and social media do so from trending hashtags. A strange kind of inertia has engulfed us. We don’t know how to react back. I appreciate those who still keep faith in symbolism and sometimes protest in person too. Because many of us don’t display even that symbolic solidarity and worse, we can’t blame ourselves squarely. How can one keep registering one’s protest in any way possible if something becomes everyday affair? How long we have to keep mourning? Just few days back, Peshawar massacre, and then Syria attacks, Boko Haram continuing relentlessly, ISIS is hell bent on turning whole world in god knows what kind of state, and then this magazine attack. And then in between our own India-Pakistan border skirmishes, Naxalite fighting,  family and societal woes! Can one complain if we have turned a bit cold and grown a thicker skin? “Nothing affects us” is an understatement. But does it not make us wonder sometimes what affects those perpetrators of worst crimes of humanity to commit such crimes and what their source of inspiration is! Does not same sense of ennui also prevail upon them? Does not same quest of small happiness engage them? Does not the same mode of entertainment keep them entertained as it does us? My theory of explanation would be that these fellows fall in two categories. One who are struggling with everyday survival issues and are lured by the indoctrinators with the promises of food and salvation both at same time. Second category has everything to the extent that he gets fed up with that and desires a larger sense of existence and survival. These fellows are co-opted on the promises of Maslowian self actualization and a larger purpose worth fighting and dying for. Maybe it is too much of a simplification of an issue troubling whole humanity but it does give some relief that we can see some pattern in these acts of terrorism and if we do so, it can lead to some kind of solution.

Solutions that do not rest upon the superiority of one civilization over another as it has become usually the case. Why those misguided youth can be reformed by feeding only the ideals of western civilization and not the inherent goodness of their own faith? Solution lies in restoring faith in mainstream universal principles of equality, freedom, and democracy without any racial, gender and class discrimination. A solution that makes those ill-advised people believe that someone sane also listens  to them, empathizes  and tries to address their problems. Lets also create a conducive environment so that our modern age produce its own Qurans, Gitas and Bibles to seek guidance from! Sincere efforts ought to be taken to contemporize our ancient sacred texts so that they do not remain ossified and a thing of manipulation in the hands of fake saints. First step would be removing their prefix of “sacred” and giving freedom and access to everyone to have their own liberal interpretation and decide utility based on their requirements.

In the meanwhile, my quest of happiness ends when one of our pretty sisters makes gobi ka kheer (cauliflower pudding) and one of our friends brings ticket of PK for me.