On hypocrisy

This was supposed to be a comment to Nakul’s [[http://nakulmandan.blogspot.com/2005/07/hypocrisy-is-it-just-indians.html | post on hypocrisy]]. But it became fairly long so I though I’d make it a post unto itself and leave the link in the comments.

I will comment on the original article that was behind the post later; I first want to comment on some of the things Nakul said in his post.

**Idol Worship**

I will concede that each society has its own notion of a //God//. But labelling all such notions as //idol worship// is shortsighted. It might be the case in India (though I don’t think even that holds true). Further, all notions of God are not about //personification// (against, most are, but not all). And finally, simply because //YOU// have not felt or seem //him// doesn’t mean others have (just to be clear, **I haven’t**). To me, the definition of God is a very personal concept, and tied close together with your values, beliefs and faith.

Something that might be seeing and believeing for me, might just be stupidity for you. I don’t believe human society is at a stage where one can give an unambiguous quantifiable litmus test for God. That would be the end of philosophy. Anyways, coming to the point — I don’t think its all bullshit. I sincerely believe that some people do believe and have felt what they think God might be. And I say good for them!


You were not //just born// here — you were born and //brought up// here. Now **that** is something you can’t just ignore. You probably don’t realize it now, but I’m sure as hell you will when you go to London in a few days. I agree that people make too much of a big deal about brain drain. And I also agree that with each passing day we are becoming part of a larger society. All that is fine and I have nothing against going outside India looking for a better life (I think it just comes back to India in better ways if that happens).

All I’m saying is that there are many things that are part of you, your core values and beliefs that are in part simply because you spent a substantial portion of your life in a specific geogrphical portion of the earth. And that you don’t necessarily //owe// anything to that land or its people, but just spend some time thinking about things like how life would have been had you been born 50 years before Independence, or how things would have been had you been born in Africa or Europe or America or Spain for that matter.

There are fanatics and extremists everywhere. But feeling passionate about one’s country is neither irrational nor hypocritic. Its something to be proud of.

** Hypocrisy **

I wouldn’t go so far as saying that its a //human// trait. But its definitely a //societal// trait. For that matter, I find glaring examples of hypocrisy here in the United States every day. Women here got voting rights only in 1920 I think. And in the 300 years of US Congress, there have been only [[http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/h_multi_sections_and_teasers/Photo_Exhibit_African_American_Senators.htm | five African-American senators]]. Compare that to the vivid (though chaotic) representation in Indian politics. Despite all the talks of liberty and equality, your color is still something you can’t forget. I could go on an on.

But I think in the original article the writer was a bit too biased (or exaggerating to bring out the point). What I worry more about is that over the last 2 years (and going on) there’s an increasing dichotomy of societies in India. Microcosms of societies have formed in and around the metros (Pune, Bangalore included) while the majority of rural India gets left behind. What they do see however, is cable TV, internet and bollywood. The combined forces of these three media can be devastating, without appropriate education and exposure.


  1. Nakul

    On Idol worship

    When I mentioned Idol worship, I meant exactly that. I am not labeling all notions of God as idol worship. But there are quite a few such notions and I was referring to those. And there’s absolutely no fight in somebody believing in a certain version of the concept called ‘God’, even Idol worship; all I’m saying is that quite a few of them seem to be very absurd and mindless beliefs and are continuing only because most people never question what has been told to them about religion and god. If someone questions and still ends up believing in Idol worship… good for them but if someone has a set of beliefs that he just inherited, I’d find it irrational.

    I might have gone overboard in using the word ‘bullshit’. Might have hurt some sentiments there. Sorry about that.

    On Motherland

    Again, just because I was born and brought up somewhere doesn’t mean I owe anything to that place. I mean, you’ll have to grow up somewhere. By that logic, if I were born in a different country and then brought up in 5 different countries, where would my loyalties be? And this can happen if your dad’s career requires you to move around. It would have also happened to people born in Pakistan before and brought up in India. Where should their loyalties be?rnrnI agree that when I go abroad someday, people will look at me as an Indian; my identity to the world at large is that of an Indian. But that’s how the world might look at me; somehow, I’m totally convinced about the way I look at myself – I’m Nakul Mandan, a citizen of the world. It might sound very theatrical, but that’s truly how I’ve always felt. It didn’t change when I went to Switzerland for a week and I don’t think it’ll change much in the future.

    On hypocrisy

    As I’ve already said, I too feel that hypocrisy is everywhere, not just in India. You’ve cited some good examples about it in the US and I’m sure we’ll find similar examples all over the world.

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