Of Hindu Hullabaloo
|A Hindu temple in Bali, Indonesia|
Nabadwip Dham in Nadia district of West Bengal is a favourite pilgrim destination of Hindu devotees of Manipur as every year during the Holi festival devotees from the State flock to the temple of Shri Anu Mahaprabhu located in an area known as Manipur. —Nabadwip Dham – A pilgrimage destination by Bachaspatimayum Bisheswar, Imphal Free Press, 29 March 2016
From the first day we came to this world, there is a name of one mystic town that we cannot help but keep hearing about: Binabon in earlier days, which we found later in real is Vrindāvan located in Uttar Pradesh. To complement it, there is one factor: I still remember the humming incantation of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1533CE) or other audio scriptures that Edhou used to play on his stereo player. Our uncles used to tell us that, when they were young, they were strictly prohibited from cooking non-vegetarian meals ‘inside’ the house so they had to make temporary arrangement ‘outside’ the gate. Now with the news excerpt mentioned above, it gives a more complete picture of our faith—or rather the major faith in my hometown; as for me I believe in the non-existence of gods.
In our neighbourhoods, especially the older folks—while some are devout followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism ‘manufactured’ by Chaitanya Mahapraphu, others follow the Ramandi/Ramanandi sect—go on pilgrimages to Nabadwip, the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, or Vrindāvan, which is considered to be the place where Krishna spent his childhood days. These old folks have nothing better to do in life so it makes some sense that they would travel for days by road to reach the supposedly sacred places.
If their spiritual quest meant anything then it is none other than stretching the absurdity of our lives. In a sense, though, it is advisable that they should go to distant places and immerse ashes from the cremation of their friends and families in rivers and sea; saving us and the land from pollution of their ashes. Religion is really the heroin of the people in this land, which is also a major route of the Golden Triangle.
Hinduism, like any other religion, brought along extreme mess when it was first introduced in the erstwhile kingdom of Manipur around 18th century. The brutality of despotic King Pamheiba (1690–1751CE) against those who were reluctant to proselytise is now legendary for all the wrong reasons. In the words of Salman Rushdie: ‘Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings’. Those were also the formidable period of Bhakti Movement, of which one motive can be attributed to the reaction of the Hindus facing an existential threat from Islam, as the Mughals continued spreading their influence and territory far and wide.
In Manipur, the ringmaster of the Hindu missionaries, Santidas Gosai who hoodwinked Pamheiba is still the villain number one for his ‘satanic’ plans. The power of Gosai and his gang explain why the Manipuri Hindus are more attracted towards Nabadwip and Vrindāvan rather than other popular places of Hinduism such as Badrinath, Kedarnath, Katra and the likes—and similarly it also explains the mass devotion to Krishna and a few others but not to any of the 33 crore gods and goddesses that make up this faith.
Any religion is fine as long as it stays inside its place of worship. It becomes devilish when it comes out. The idols and posters of imaginary gods do stay inside but all the problems are a creation of the fans, who always take religion out from the places where it is supposed to stay and putting it in every place where it is not supposed to be. So many people have written about the unbreakable and incestuous relationship between religion and politics. For the sake of brevity, Hinduism has destroyed the people in this region. Identity crisis, ethnic hostility, loss of indigenous culture, moral bankruptcy—you name it and at each foundation of the problems, we can see Hinduism feeding us holy shit for divine energy to indulge in monkey business and self-destruction. For many of us, it is okay to kill and loot and plunder as long as we can go to Nabadwip and cleanse our sin by taking a dip in the Ganges.
For desperate people there are desperate solutions for desperate lifestyles and we have also started sharing the virus of godmen in Manipur on an epidemic scale. On the lines of Chaitanya Mahapraphu and Santidas Gosai, then it was Sai Baba, who is mostly worshipped by comparatively richer people in the valley and now we have Baba Ramdev, who claimed recently that yoga cures cancer, most probably of the anus. This is the same guy who cried hoarse on the media in late 2015 that he has been denied a Nobel Prize despite his huge contribution in yoga, because he is black! [NB: All exclusives and no circus make mainstream media a dull crap.]
In the last decadal Census report of 2011, the population of Hindus with a headcount of 1,181,876 comprises 41.39 % and the Christians with 1,179,043, make up 41.29 % in Manipur. It is farcical that both of them are 100% hopeless converts, hell-bent on losing their roots obviously because an adopted religion comes with its own set of belief and value systems. For long, several generations of these Hindus were deceived that their origin dates back to the days of Mahabharata and some people, especially those with the IQ of Albert Einstein, still believe in this blatant lie. In the days to come, it would be unsurprising if the Christians want to migrate to Nazareth or wherever their religion says about their origin. They would even go to the end of the world as we can see from their devotion to a religion, according to which a man was more interested in an apple than a woman.
A couple of things that Einstein’s mates in our surroundings have never grasped are the appropriation of ‘favourable’ native cultural mores as Hindu’s and the ridiculous modification in nomenclature of clan names, festivals, places of importance and others. For instance, if you belong to the Luwang ‘salai’ or clan, you became a Kashyap (oh, please!); and if you were a Khuman, you became a Madhukalya and so on. And it is not even funny anymore if we see the mass conversion in every aspect of our personal and public lives, along with the change in the faith system brought by Hinduism that thrives on discrimination of people according to caste, colour and creed.
Our minds have been conditioned for centuries that many of us act like addicts, who are too anxious to consider about an unknown substitute, leave alone ignore it. When time is favourable, though, it will not be an issue to destroy all the temples of Govinda and his family or perhaps the Hindu temples in the Imphal valley altogether.
We have a long way to go and devotees will keep flocking to the temples of Shri Anu Mahaprabhu. It is not even going to end soon because religion is an addiction and it has eaten into our brains. But we can keep them apart; sometimes they do on their own as well, like my grandfather, who breathed his last around 16 years ago and stereo players have now become dinosaurs. Else we can go on telling them how their stupidity is making all of us suffer in the name of gods, some of which are of dubious nature.
The best thing is that we do not even need to go on a pilgrimage to find the truth. It is in you; it is in me and we do not need an imaginary saviour to tell us what is true and what is not. For the sake of pilgrimage we have several options with journeys to any place in this world. By the way, faith and truth are always two different things.