In the face of the rampant commercialism that engulfs us at this time of year, it’s common to hear religious figures telling us that it’s time to revive the “real spirit of Christmas.” If that means reviving the radical egalitarianism of the early Christians, whom Frederick Engels called “a dangerous party of revolt,” then socialists are in favor of it.
Nothing has captured Shillong public opinion in the past two days as much as the Man Force condom advertisement displayed next to an idol of Jesus Christ near the Shillong Cathedral.
The Khasis, being a matrilineal tribe that passes not only lineage but property along the female line, have ultimately clashed with the patriarchal customs of Christianity. And nowhere is this seen more prominently than in the figure of the Virgin Mary. From the time I was old enough to attend Protestant Sunday School, I was living in this limbo between Catholic doctrine and Protestant doctrine mixed in with some local doctrines as well. There was much scoffing done at the expense of “those Catholics who worship a woman like she was at par with the Saviour of mankind.” This reflected on the deep-seated sexist and misogynistic tendencies of the Protestant churches. How dare a woman be made equal to a man?
I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, nor do I hate the Jesus found in the pages of the Bible. These Jesuses are relics of the past. I’ll leave it to historians to argue and debate whether these Jesuses were real or fiction.
An article surfaced that related to the contents of the book “Ki Dienjat ki Longshwa” by Fr. Bacchiarello by Seng Khasi Mawsynram. This looked interesting. The article said that the book should be discontinued from the Meghalaya Board of Secondary Education MBOSE for “allegedly showing in poor light the culture and beliefs of the Khasis”.
We do not need “outsider” organizations to come and perform charity puja. In our need for political allies and powerful friends we seem to forget that we have more in common with each other (Christian and non-Christian) than Right wing nut-jobs who seek to further widen the schism. This is as true for the Hindutva as it is for the Evangelical Fundamentalists.
The missionaries gave us the written word though it could have easily been Bengali rather than Roman. It is in this process that a complex history of battling calligraphies contrived to sort out an oral tradition that they considered to be uncivilized.
It is a well known fact that people have been threatened of being kicked out of the balang if they were to take part in festivals of other groups. The word ‘blei thaw’ is quite familiar to us with the degrading connotation it carries. So we already have people in our state who have developed their own version of the ideology of ‘incompatibility of differences’; given the right motivation they could very soon take the next step, i.e., violence (not in thought but in actual deed)
I don’t want a Bible without errors and historical inaccuracies, without contradictions and inconsistencies. Thank God for them! They are good news. They are the very things that make Scripture meaningful and compelling.
The decennial census data for the Naga Hills (later, Nagaland) between 1881 and 1981 shows that the most dramatic religious change occurred after 1947, when foreign missionaries had left the field.
In these days of endless hatred and violence based on religion, it is a frequent refrain that the secular character of our society is under threat. However ‘secularism’ has become a word that has been so abused that it is now seen with cynicism, if not utter disgust.