Monday, November 14, 2022

How Adulation Degenerates Into Deification: When Shivaji Becomes A God

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 14 November 2022 Controversy is going on in Maharashtra regarding a movie Har Har Mahadev, which is fraught with factual errors. In a particular scene, Shivaji is shown taking Afzal Khan on his lap and tearing his stomach like (god) Narasimha. Now Shivaji has become an incarnation of 'Lord' Narasimha! The famous sociologist Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) explains in his seminal essay, " Deification of Humans " as to how certain humans in flesh and blood become gods as time marches on. This tendency of deification is quite prevalent in the Pagan and polytheistic faiths which tend to anthropomorphise their deities. Since polytheistic faiths are already teeming with a large number of gods and goddesses, further additions (of 'evolving' gods) isn't that difficult a task. That's why, Dr Ambedkar is already a god to neo-Buddhists because neo-Buddhism is nothing but a variant of Hinduism, which deifies not just humans but all and sundry. Shirdi's Sai Baba, who existed just a hundred years ago, is a god to legions of (Hindu) devotees. A consummate fraud like Rajneesh, who called himself a god, is indeed a god not just to his followers but is worshipped by a large section of people. The same is happening in the case of Shivaji. I've been observing Shivaji's 'rise' and 'evolution' into godhood since 2012. An ordinary chieftain Shivaji became a mandatory Chhatrapati a decade ago and today, he's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and to many Marathas, he's already a god who now figures in a pantheon of Hindu deities. He's being worshipped like a deity and people have gone to the extent of believing that goddess Bhavani gifted him a Chamatkari sword to slit the throats of Muslim invaders! Jay Bhavani! Jay Shivaji! This is how the deification process goes on and religions assume political undertones and overtures. Otherwise also, religion and politics always make a fatal combination. When I see the idols and statues of Shivaji adorning the walls and alcoves of Marathas in Maharashtra, I remember the words of Parsons, " an impoverished society with a dire dearth of real heroes, frantically searches for one and clings on to a quasi-hero and turns him into a god." So very true. Lastly, mark my words. Erelong, Bal Thackeray (calling him Bal Thackeray is sacrilegious in Maharashtra, he must be called Balasaheb Thackeray!) will soon become a god in Maharashtra. He's already on his way to becoming one. This underscores the fact that humans are awfully gullible and collectively devolved. They also cannot live sans their battalion of gods whom they themselves concocted and fabricated. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

No comments:

Post a Comment