Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Monday, January 7, 2013

An Idiot Abroad In India

Have you seen that tv show? It's made by – oh what's his name – he's a British comedian who brags about being an idiot, I mean an atheist. It'll come to me. Anyhow, as a practical joke he has taken a “friend” and sends him off to different parts of the world and requires his friend to enter into precisely those situations that his friend finds most uncomfortable. It's pretty unkind when you think about it but thanks to atheists in the entertainment industry we live in a time when laughing at people, ridiculing almost everyone and everything is a sign of intelligence and sophistication.
I've only seen two episodes of this show and the last one was called, “An Idiot (that's what he calls his friend) Abroad in India. My, my, my. What wonders Hinduism and Jainism have done for the people of India. In fairness, India is the world's largest functioning democracy so it's not a total screw up. And of course British colonialism hardly improved things. Pressure from Christianity has rid the country from the worst offences like the immolation of widows along with their dead husbands, and the so called ending of the caste system, there are still 100 million Dalits – the so called untouchables. Since Independence, crimes against Dalits have doubled with murder, arson and rape being the primary crimes. Yet the efforts of Christians to implant the notion of the equality of human life into Hindu society is seen by the Government as destabilizing and met with violence and persecution.
So why am I writing this? Well, curiously, Hugo has as much as said that his in-laws are so committed to their religion that through an act of “ACCOMMODATION” Hugo is willing to set the date for his wedding during the most favourable cycle of the moon, one that will give him the best chance of a good marriage.
This leads me to wonder if perhaps if Hugo doesn't recognize where he stands in the Hindu cast system, and whether his in-laws are hiding from him where he stands.
Hugo's fate rests on the following. The sacrifice of Purusha, the primeval man, from whose immolation came all creation, together with the four Hindu castes.
From Purusha's breath had come the Brahmans, the priestly caste;
From his arms, the warriors, or Kshatriyas;
From his thighs, the Vaisyas – agriculturalists and traders; and
From his feet the servile caste, the Sudras.

All other men were outcasts; dalits; 'untouchables' whose very presence was defilement. So I wonder if Hugo's in-laws let him know where he stands (fit only for cleaning clogged sewers or toilets) or if they accommodate him in order to not lose contact with their daughter.

As Hugo attempts to accommodate their beliefs by choosing just the right phase of the moon for his wedding, do they pretend to his face that he is acceptable to them? 


  1. You are hilarious!

    And I am really curious to know, do you sincerely think that my in-laws are secretly regretting that my fiancee is engaged to me?

  2. I don't know. If they're so serious about their religion that you need to ACCOMMODATE them by arranging your marriage during the correct phase of the moon, does that mean they are serious about all that their religion teaches?

    If they aren't hypocrites, then their beliefs would relegate you to the bottom of society. Another possibility is that they are faking an acceptance of you for the sake of a daughter that they love. I don't know. That's why I say, I wonder.

    I am glad that you made it home safely. And I hope that you had a wonderful and informative trip to an amazing country.

  3. Thanks, yes it was a great trip; our engagement party was awesome. And yes the return was fine, except that it's extremely long going back that way up to SF...

    As for interrogations, if you are really wondering what the situation is, it's really easy to clarify: they are not hypocrites towards me. They clearly really love me and we all get along very well. They actually make me feel almost uncomfortable at times because they are just too nice! I am not used to such grand treatment each time I go there! They are really really happy that the two of us got engaged.

    Regarding religion particularly, they know that I don't believe in god and accept our differences. They also do not want to impose any excessive pressure on us to respect traditions and this is why, to use the same example again, our wedding is not going to happen during the correct phase of the moon anymore... it was easier to plan it with respect to Christmas/New Year holidays so that people who travel from other countries can attend.

    To be even more specific, regarding religious castes, this is also something that's not new to any of us; we discussed that the first time only a few weeks after we started dating... They are Brahmins and thus know very well that by marrying a non-Hindu my girlfriend's children will lose their religious privileges, the Hindu system being sexist just like most other religion. However, that's not an issue because they will never prevent my girlfriend from raising her kids the way she wants, teaching them the importance of remembering their culture. Because at the end of the day, this is what religion mostly is for modern people: a strong cultural artifact. We are not tribes who see each others as unapproachable strangers, we are all humans who live on one big planet and our cultural differences are enriching our lives, not dividing them.

    Does that make them hypocrite regarding their religion? I think fundamentalists, of any religion, would say 'yes', since they clearly go against certain rules that the holy books and holy men want to impose. But I also think that any non-fundamentalists would simply see two people, and their family, from different cultural background who love and respect each other and try to do their best to live in harmony with their own selves, their families and even societies.

    I will give you an example to conclude. At our engagement party, the maid and chauffeur were present most of the evening, mixing with the guests and having fun. Not all Indians family would do that since there are some who are still see these low-skilled employees as almost sub-human. To me this indicate that my (future) in-laws are more open minded than many others. If that makes them hypocrite toward their religion, I am glad they are, for they put the real humans around them first, and the ideas of their ancestors second, without ever suggesting that they lack respect for either.

  4. That's good. Thanks for letting me know the situation. For some reason I care about you having a good relationship and like I've said, marriage is hard enough without mixing cultures and religions. I truly do hope it goes well for both of you.