Wednesday, May 17, 2006

From one religious fanatic to another

Dear Muslim Fundamentalist Brother,

Salam Waleikum. Let me get straight to the point. I am disappointed in you, my brother. Truly, truly disappointed. Here I was, sitting at my desk, gazing at the "Divine Eye of God" that brings me news from all over the world, or as these Americans call it for whatever reason, a "computer screen" , I realized that while I've been distracted by things urgently requiring my attention such as protesting the release of Deepa Mehta's "Water" here in the US, you've been forming some unholy alliances on your own. You've been getting together with those Jesus people and forcing the Indian government to ban "The Da Vinci Code" in theaters. I was appalled when I read this piece of news. Do you not realize the folly of your actions? Let me explain.

As you well know, you and I, we have both had our differences. Throughout the ages, we've been inflicting violence and bloodshed on each other because frankly, look, both our communities blame each other for all their problems. Plus, I know for a fact that your despotic set of beliefs do not coincide with those sanctioned by God, and I also know that you've had the same thoughts about mine. And we've both agreed that the best way to resolve this dispute is to eliminate each other from the face of the planet. No believers = no beliefs. Am I right?

So it would have seemed to a casual bystander that fate had decreed us to lead a lifestyle replete with murder, pillage and hounding by each other's communities. But then, when we least expected it, a ray of sunshine broke out through all that gloom. A few months ago, we signed a historic pact. We decided to make peace with each other and that the Hindu crazies and the Muslim loonies would finally unite in a coalition of sorts. And together, we would make life miserable for the rest of India instead. That is why, when we approached you and demanded that you surrender M.F Husain's arms into our custody, you were ready to help us with your machettes and bone-saws. And in return, when you issued a fatwa on the heads of the Danish cartoonists, not only did we show you the exact vertebra in the neck that needed to be severed in order to seperate the infidel skull from the torso, we also supplied you with the polythene bags required to dispose of those skulls in an environmentally-friendly fashion. And when we were not delimbing painters or beheading cartoonists, we were making sure that India was well on its way to becoming a model nation of religious puritans in the mold of our Middle-Eastern brothers. Our joint control over the more moderate populace of the country was turning out to be a huge success.

But then, you had to go and include the Christians in our coalition. You never even asked us, never sought our advice on this issue. I don't know if you've noticed, but Christians make up a mere 2% of the population of our country. While you and I, we constitute about 94%. Now my question to you is this : By allowing the Christians access to the levers that control those in power, the strings that make the puppets in Parliament dance to our tune, are we not setting a dangerous precedent for other parties to follow?

What if tomorrow fundamentalist Buddhists were to protest the violence and gore that is such an integral part of our movies? Would we be adding them to our fold and campaigning on their behalf? Or horror of horrors, what if the goddamn atheist community were to show up on our doorstep and demand that every reference to God be deleted from the silver screen because it offended their Godless sensibilities? Have you even considered that? I didn't think so.

You might say I'm being a pessimist, that I should be savoring our joint victory over the government, that it's a matter of the glass being half full and not half empty. Personally, I couldn't care less if the glass were to be half full or half empty as long as it contained water that would otherwise have slaked an atheist's thirst. But my point is that this might not even be a success, but a defeat for you and me, the rightful owners of this great nation. For by allowing the Christians to bend our government to their will, you have just opened a door that will allow just about every community in India to harness the immense power of religious blackmail, the power that should rightfully only be wielded by you and me. And that is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done now to rectify the situation.

In any case, I hope this letter finds you in the fairest of health and the blindest of faith. Khuda Hafiz my dear friend,


Your Hindu Fundamentalist Brother.

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