At the bleeding Edge of Rationality:
Oprah says in wonder – Do you still eat with your hands?
Barbarians we hear. As if condemned by the soapsofa queen, knowing better, we turn and laugh. Rajyasree’s wonderful article shows up how little Oprah understood of India or wanted to invest in understanding it better.
But really, who can understand India?
Who, from the outside can understand the tradition of Nagpanchami, that is today. We worship snakes today, we feed them. Not because of the stories and fear. But because all life has value, and it is our deep rooted traditional value that we look after those we can. It is supposed to be the peak of the monsoon, and snake holes are flooded. The snakes are homeless and we reach out to them. In Humanity.
And then strip young girls on camera, in public, in villages as a demonstration of our inhumanity.
We demonstrate the lack of governance and the defiance of rules by often driving on the wrong side of the road – A counterflow lane of traffic where none was supposed to exist. But then, wondering why people do so, one realises it saves them petrol and time. Less pollution, less time on the road – sometimes safety and systems can be sacrificed to the principle of going green, right?!
And then have very strict rules on what we can or cannot eat or wear on different days of the year. Of course, we defy those too.
Our boys go on a political tour of China and racially abuse the locals!!! – What?
Our streets are full of filth, and we wash our hands 60 times when we reheat food. Yes, somebody counted – in a house where they still had the original rules.
We have rules for everything – and a lawless society
We celebrate nature, values and prosperity. And then destroy each one of these.
Maybe religion was the path to rational behaviour.. the rules kept us reined in.
When the Higgs Boson is discovered – we say Ah- Indian. Our texts said so all along.
Yet science literacy is abysmally low – we still douse flames with water – not knowing where they came from
We walk through danger – live wires, open wells and drains, filthy infected roads and nallahs, high speed roads as if our life was worth nothing.
And when one of us is abused, we prove – that individually we are worth nothing.
Where rational behaviour ends, and the jungle begins. We are at that bleeding edge today.
Also, maybe there is no we.
(One day, this will become a proper long form article)