Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ten ways of being foolish

RANDOM THOUGHTS Ten ways of being foolish 90 per cent of Indians have an unscientific temper. The facts bear it out I had mentioned the figure 90 per cent Indians are fools. I replied that it was not a mathematical figure, what I meant was that an overwhelming number of Indians were fools. One, Tamilians are some of the finest and most intelligent among Indians. They have done the country proud in various fields- scientific research, mathematics, It, medicine etc. In the US and Europe, the science and mathematics departments of many universities and institutes are full of Tamilian professors. Yet Tamilians are some of the most superstitious people in India. This may sound like a paradox, but it is true, and this just shows that scientific and unscientific ideas can co-exist in the same head. I was told not to take other in Rahukalam Time. Two, most ministers and even many chief justices of high courts take oath at the “auspicious” time, as advised by their astrologer. Three, judges of the Supreme Court are allotted houses in the Supreme Court Judges pool. One of such houses was 7, Tughlak Lane. Unfortunately some mishaps happened to some judges who occupied this house, and thereafter no judge would accept it, thinking it was inauspicious. Chief Justice of India wrote to the concerned authority to remove that house from the judge’s pool, which was done, and another house allotted to the pool. Four, some year back it was announced in the media (which plays a prominent role in spreading superstitions) that Lord Ganesh was drinking milk. There was rush of huge crowds in many cities in India to offer milk to idols of Lord Ganesha. Similarly, some years back a miracle chapatti was announced. Many such “miracles” keep happening from time to time, and most people believe them. Five, this is a “baba-bound” society. Consider the number of “godmen”, their huge following and huge properties they amass. The latest one claims to have third eye, like Lord Shiva. It was published in a leading English newspaper (April 18) that he had told people in Raipur not to keep shiv alingams at home for their welfare but to put them in temples. As a result, temples in Raipur were flooded with Shivalingams. Six, when I was a judge in the Allahabad High Court, it was announced that someone in Tamil Nadu had discovered a method of converting water into petrol. Some of my colleagues said that now we will get cheap petrol. Seven, before finalizing a marriage most parents consult astrologers, and it is only if the “kundali” matches that the proposal is finalized. The poor “mangalik” girl is often rejected for no fault to her. Eight, everyday, large number of TV channels show astrology and all kind of superstition. Their owners have given one simple instruction to them-keep the TRP rating high. Unfortunately, the intellectual level of the middle classes (who are the main viewers) in India is very low. All they wish to see is the lives of film stars, fashion parades (often with half naked women), cricket (which is opium for the masses) and of course, astrology. And so this is dished out day after day to get high TRP ratings. Nine, most Hindus are communal, and most Muslims are also communal. As I have repeatedly pointed out, they were not communal before 1857. Before 1857, Hindus used to celebrate Eid, and Muslims used to celebrate Holi and Diwali. Muslim rulers, like the nawab of Avadh, Tipu Sultan etc used to organize Ramlila, give grants to Hindu temple, etyc. It was after suppressing the Mutiny that the British decided that the only way to control India was by divide and rule. Hence a deliberate policy was laid down by the British to generate hatred between Hindus and Muslims. All communal riots started after 1857. The English collector would secretly call the local Panditji, give him money, and ask him to start speaking against Muslims, and he would also call the local Maulvi secretly and give him money to speak against Hindus. This poison was systematically spread year after year, decade after decade, until it culminated in the Partition of 1947. Even now, there are powerful vested interests promoting communal hatred. Ten, social evils like honour killings, dowry deaths, female feticides are still widely prevalent in India. Not to demoralize Indians, but to point out to them the correct path to prosperity. It is only scientific thinking that can save us from the disaster to which we are headed. India has a strong scientific heritage (see my article ‘Sanskrit as a language of science’ on kgfindia. com). It is only when we go back to the path shown by our great scientific ancestors, Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Sushrut, Charak, Ramanjuan and Raman and spread scientific thinking widely that we can recover our former glory. Adopted from Indian Express dated 23 April 2012 Markandey Katj, Former Judge of the Supreme Court, is Chairman of the Pres Council

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