Rational wolf in yellow sheep skin

There could be little doubt that politicians of Karunanidhi’s ilk pose the greatest danger to communal harmony. More than the Hindu nationalists it is this horde of hollow Hindu rationalists, who really cause havoc with their acid tongues igniting sparks that finally culminate in churches being torched and missionaries getting cremated alive.

And both acts are equally reprehensible -the agent provocateurs and the perpetrators alike deserve equal contempt and punishment. Karunanidhi has just handed out another torch to the hungering fanatics on the rampage by once again exhibiting his penchant for meddling with the practices of the majority religion and testing their tolerance.

The CM and his band who revel in deceptive rhetoric and half baked ideas, yet masquerading as rationalists, have always taken it upon themselves the role as sole custodians of sucularism and logic, while in effect their senseless utterings inevitably result in tearing up that fragile fabric.

When the entire nation is burning to cinders in a frenzy of communal flare up, the man has just let loose one of his usual missives to his co-borns, that blissfully ignores what is happening in his own backyard-his closely held party and even home(s). The great rationalist has now exhorted his youthful cadre not to sport tilak and has also urged them to erase the same if they had ‘mistakenly’ applied it. No doubt, the language of a rationalist, but a selective one at that.

We are now tempted, rather provoked to invoke our own sense of rationalism to mull over the CM’s sermon. Of course, the timing of his tirade against the tilak itself is bad, but then their irascible tongues know neither decency nor accountability. But the point is that why does the CM always choose the practices of one particular religion to preach his rationalism?

Can’t he, the great intellectual, rise above his own inbuilt hatred for that particular religion, if not out of conviction at least on the dictates of the current inflammed scenario and refrain from needling the majority who themselves are in the midst of an identity crisis vis-a-vis their religion and the nation. Even assuming that he is immune to such finer feelings, at least, realisation of his position as the CM of the State should have restrained him from his natural proclivities.

Obviously, old habits die hard and the sight of a tilak, especially on Periyar’s forehead is enough to bring out the rabidity in him like a deluge, unmindful of inhibitions that his stature and position should normally dictate. Dravidian first, ruler next. Erase the tilak first, to hell with the sentiments of the subjects, goes the rational refrain. Elementary.

But surely, the CM must know that ours is a secular country with several faiths and their own unique practices. Erasing tilaks is just meeting secularism mid-way. The CM, in the same vein could also have instructed his co-borns not to wear the cross or say, not to sport beard and topi which are also equally symbolic of other faiths. But he wouldn’t. Never. Which is why we said in the beginning that these leaders pose the single major threat to the communal integrity of the nation.

Why not these men try their tricks first at their own homes,for like charity, rationalism should also begin from home. He could probably start off by wiping the tilaks off the foreheads of his two…well, let us not suggest anything. The CM is intelligent. Of course, we know that the idea would seem outrageous to the inmates of his residences, but then our rational man will learn a lesson or two too.

It would also be in tune with ‘his tradition’ to refrain in future from saying vanakkam with hands folded, which though Tamil is also essentially a Hindu way of worship and therefore ‘unsecular’. The CM and his co-borns can instead start shaking hands with his Hindu friends, hug his Christian callers and bow to his Muslim visitors. That would be wonderful secularism.

Or otherwise he can safely discard all such gestures of greeting which are pure sentiments and nothing more. No doubt the charm would be off official functions and private meetings, and the CM’s demeanour would seem bereft of courtesy and hospitality but then he would have certainly salvaged dravidianism. He could also lead the way by refusing to garland the statues of Periyar in future which would also be in keeping with unritualistic dravidian norms as enunciated by the leader before he became a statue.

If the sight of tilak on Periyar’s forehead is offensive and warrants rectification, the same leader bedecked with flowers must seem a greater eyesore for the CM. Afterall, offering flowers and garlands is just a ritual, a predominantly Hindu one at that, and could be easily done away with. That would surely gladden the spirit of Periyar whom they think, quite rationally so, is watcing from above.

Karunanidhi has understood neither religion nor atheism, not to speak of secularism. Religion is a way of life and one can still be rational and sensibile by remaining religious and ritualistic. If atheism is taken to mean lack of faith in god, then it must most certainly include all gods.

One can be either a religious secularist or an atheistic secularist, but never a hypocritic secularist, which is what the thaanai thalaivan is. All Gods must be equal in the eyes of men and all religious rituals must be shunned without fear and favour if one is not a believer. But being neither here nor there is typical of these paragons. For in reality, like wolf in sheep skin, they are rationalists in yellow towel. Both are hypocritic, revel in deception with the sole aim of exploiting the gullible.

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Jawahar T R