Our life invariably depends on faith which streamlines all our ideas and guides the pattern of our deeds. Barring atheists, all the devout believers act according to religious precedence of their particular religious affiliations however, the word faith has suffered enormous distortion both by its upholders and the followers. Analyzing the course of history, innumerable reference can be encountered where the religious orthodoxy has used up this term as a cunning tool to fool the masses supplemented with their naïve assessment of faith.
Commencing with the ancient Indian society, the priestly class i.e. the Brahman orthodoxy always dominated the road to heaven as if in a special agreement with the non partisan God. In a serious upkeep of power with them, they formulated the idea of untouchability by giving it a divine sanction through Rig Veda in which the tenth mandalam (chapter), Purusukta describes that the four Varnas (caste) have emerged out as the hierarchal dissection of Brahma’s body. The mouth formed Brahmans, Kshatriya emerged out of his arms, Vaishya from his thighs and Shudra from the most lower part of the body, the feet, thereby justifying their low social status and imposition of untoucability over them. A system as segregating and brutal as this could continue for such a long expanse of time present even in the 21st century in some pockets of India. How? Why?
That’s where the idea of distortion of ‘faith’ arrives. Taking advantage of intense belief in God, the illiterate society was fooled by a language which was Sanskrit and could be read or learnt or even heard by only the higher Varnas. Moreover, a dread of God’s wrath was so severely spread that in their piousness the lower sections without any outrage colluded with the so called divine order fearing nark or hell. Can God treat his creation differently? Well, you know the answer.
My mind now is hovering in the feudal society of Europe where Christianity is the dominant religion. Discarding the idea of austerity propounded by Christ, the church had become an institution marked by greed, extorting money at will from ordinary people with carefully planned ridiculous method of selling of ‘indulgences’ which were the documents that freed the buyer from his committed sins. The documents as a certificate to heaven was for a long time was used as ransom the holy fool. It was only after the innovation in printing technology that people read Bible understanding its real teachings followed by a surge of humanist ideas leading to intellectual renaissance bringing out reforms in the church. It was only because of this dogmatic assertion that Protestant Movement emerged lead by Martin Luther King.
Apart from the clergy who to quite an extent wanted to hold power and sustain dominance over all, political leadership has selflessly sacrificed the piousness of people’s faith by using it to support vote bank politics. I am reminded of the 1984 massacre where as response to operation Blue Star, Sikhs were instigated by religious and political gurus and so were Hindus to avenge Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguard. A river of blood flowed to keep the peaceful faith alive. How ironical!
How could I not narrate the Babri Masjid demolition and the gruesome havoc that followed it? A mosque that was built in 16th century not even by Babur but his general, Mir Baqi which was not even being used by anyone was formed as one of the most intense bone of contention between two religions. What suddenly gave rise to Muslim faith? There are thousands of mosques to pray in but this one became the victim of politics as soon as it was unlocked and that created the whole fuss about religion. Taking advantage of this conflict of ‘faith’, a political party consolidated its position.
Unlike historical records, the powerful class in its new manifestations of faith don’t play with religious scriptures rather use it as a weapon to muster popular ideology, say ‘Hindutva’ and play the ‘divide and rule’ policy imitating foreigners in this aspect too. The leader of the biggest mosque or Shahi Imam whose job is to silently preach the doctrines of Islam, takes more interest and pride in preaching about political parties sometimes Congress, sometimes BJP and of course AAP. What show fluctuating ideology! Others have been fearlessly pushing conversion to widen the base of their respective faith sometimes by making height of controversial statements the recent example being ‘Mother Teresa’s motive was conversion and a service is done with a motive, then it cannot be labeled as a service.’ Wow! A global saint’s deeds reduced to ashes.
The idea of ‘faith’ doesn’t mean reducing a section of society even beneath the status of a human or intentionally paint it as being vulnerable so that people indulge in bloody tussle. Faith is an invisible union with God which is personal in the way we practice it and public in the way we selflessly disseminate its idea of a ‘good life’. God doesn’t judge you by your material or social wellbeing but by your spiritual self who treats everyone equally, who promotes peace not by war (essentially terrorism). God doesn’t want blood. He wants inner prosperity, charity, sanctity. God wants faith, not its distorted, misinterpreted version but the faith that defines ones existence as those for others.
Written By- Zainab Rashid