Friday, 28 November 2008

contemplating God

another 24 hours gone, and things have not yet settled down in bombay. in the meantime, the analysis is well underway. there was a really good discussion on radio nz's the panel this afternoon, and dr sapna on the same programme yesterday is also worth listening to.

an interesting thread at sepia mutiny, with some good links. and the comments deploring the labelling of this tragedy as "india's 9/11" are spot on.

all of our family and friends are thus far safe. the danger will arise after the situation is over and the backlash begins. as always, the violence is a cycle in india. which is why it is disappointing but predictable that some blogs are listing all the bomb attacks without the contextual violence in which they occurred. ie the 1993 bomb blasts in bombay occured in the context of the preceding riots and extreme violence relating to the demolition of the babri mosque. attacks in 2003 happened in the context of extreme and brutal violence in gujurat in 2002. none of it can be understood without looking at the rise of extreimist groups and right-wing political parties in india using hate-filled rhetoric.

but of course, none of that analysis will bring back the lives lost, nor end the suffering and pain of this particular incident.


i've got an extremely busy weekend coming up. so much for relaxing after the election. tomorrow is a garage sale to raise funds for shama. then on sunday, we'll have a strategic planning session. in the afternoon, the theosophical society are having a seminar to celebrate their 100th anniversary. i'll be on a couple of panel discussions, where i get to discuss esoteric questions like:

1. Is a set of beliefs essential to Faith?
2. What is your personal concept of God or the Absolute, and how did you come to it?
3. Does your concept differ from that of the religion closest to you?
4. Can these be modified without threatening your identity?
5. Is the Divine within us or is it “out there”?
6. Does evil exist, or is it just the failure of the good?
7. How can you co-operate with people of equally strongly held, but different, beliefs?
8. Should faith communities help to change the widespread belief in
the value of individualism (or selfishness), economic progress, human dominance over the World, fundamentalism (whether religious or scientific)? How?

it should be interesting, at any rate. i suspect i will be spending a lot of tomorrow afternoon in deep contemplation...

4 comments:

Dave Moskovitz said...

Anjum, are you arguing that killing random innocent people is justified by context?

stargazer said...

where did i say that dave? we've had this discussion before and at length. i'm saying that if you want to work on stopping violence, you have to understand context and deal with underlying injustices.

Dave Moskovitz said...

Sorry, you're right - you never said that ... I apologise, and realise that I might've touched a raw nerve. I guess my real problem is "understanding" violence in any context - I just can't seem to.

Dave

stargazer said...

but unless we make the attempt to understand, we never can begin to improve. and yes, i guess i do react badly to even the slightest implication that i would believe that the killing of innocents is justified. consider it my particular weakness.

i'm also particularly tense because of concerns for my two maternal uncles, many cousins, and many more distant relatives who are currently living in a tinderbox. the terrorists have not only slaughtered innocent victims and caused unforgivable damage to historical landmarks, they have made life that much worse for all the muslim residents of bombay. it's ugly every way you look at it. so yes, my nerves are particularly raw right now, and not made any better by some sad news i received today. for which, see my next post.

in peace.
anjum