Then, of course, there was an incident that saw child rights activists seeing red. Pictures of adolescent girls being pierced with sharp spears through the cheeks and some of them walking to the temple with the spears fixed across their agonized faces caused some consternation among the people. It was obvious that the small girls were not keen on going through so much pain and agony for whatever reason.
That alone is not the indicator to the religiosity on display being more induced than spontaneous, more political than spiritual. The uniform sarees of the women carrying the pots pointed more to the fact that the bid to invoke the Gods to answer the collective prayer was a concerted effort of someone or some coterie. Also it raised the doubt if the whole exercise was to seek out to the divine powers or propitiate earthly powers.
Whatever, the rush on the spiritual road, even when adequate and firm steps were taken on the scientific path, is unlikely to help the state or its people get what they want. The trend is also an indicator of the fall in general scientific temper in Tamil Nadu, which once prided on its education, institutions and general rationalistic principles of its leaders.
When, the state has top notch medical facilities and qualified doctors, whipping up such spiritual frenzy does not augur well for the social and political well-being of its people. Yes political, too. For, there is a political party waiting in the wings to mobilize the people using religion as an instrument and whipping up needless religious frenzy for a medical cause could set a wrong precedent.
For, religion has persistently refused to loosen its grip on State’s collective sub-conscience even after the Self-Respect movement successfully ushered in social justice and scientific temper. Sankaracharyas, mutt heads, religious leaders, godmen, soothsayers and astrologers always linger around, seeking to thwart the social reformation and awakening brought about by the Dravidian movement. With the establishment and the judiciary repeatedly showing a clear favouritism towards the organized forces opposed to Dravidian principles, it has been an enduring fight against superstition and blind religious beliefs all along.
Now, the explosion of milk pots and the agonized faces of young girls in the political terrain will only lead to the general public gravitating towards religious rituals and seek divine intervention in issues relating to politics, economy and even science. Of course, the business community of the State, primarily inspired by the practices of richer North Indian traders and industrialists, has always shown a marked affiliation to invoking gods before every new venture and every festival in the calendar. But of late, even the Indian Space Research Organization can be seen unfailingly rushing to seek a final divine approval before firing its rockets by placing a replica of the spacecraft or the satellite they plan to launch in the precincts of the idol at a famous temple.
That scientists and businessmen wallow in religiosity and superstition is no justification for politicians of Tamil Nadu to find spiritual avenues to reach at the destination. Such a trend will only take the State to a blind alley, leaving the younger generation floundering and fumbling for means to reach their goals.
(The author is a freelance journalist)
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