Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Growing Culture Of 'Paid' Darshan At Temples

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 19 September 2023 A learned medico friend of mine recently criticised the practice of 'Paid' VIP Darshan at temples in a leading broadsheet published from the Central India. This is indeed a reprehensible practice which is prevalent at all the famous shrines of Hindus, be it Tirupati or Shirdi. Yours truly has observed this practice at obscenely rich Jain temples as well but then, Jains are Hindus in disguise. Does god, if at all it exists, allow this rampant discrimination on the basis of one's wealth, clout and affluence? "Devanaam Prasanna Vadante Ishat Pushpa Sarvante" (God is happy with just a flower). But visit famed temples of Hindus. You'll get to see queues of VVIP, VIP, ministers (they don't stand in a queue because it's infra-dig to them), influential people and what not. Though this 'paid' darshan culture is a recent phenomenon, the internationally renowned sociologist late Meera Kosambi wrote an essay for The Illustrated Weekly of India. It appeared in July 1972. Meera wrote about the subtle, and later obvious, discrimination at the shrines of Hindus. She argued that the deep-rooted obnoxious class and caste discrimination and distinction in Hinduism resulted in the discrimination among the devotees at temples. She juxtaposed this with the (pristine) Islam which didn't discriminate on the basis of one's wealth and deep pockets. The concept of egalitarianism or Musavaat can still be seen during Haj. You can be a prince or a pauper, but all are equal before Allah. Even at an ordinary mosque, you don't find any discrimination. Ek Hi Saf Mein Khade Ho Gaye Mahmud-o-Ayaaz/ Na Raha Banda Na Koi Banda Nawaaz (Mahmud and his 'slave' Ayaaz stood in the same row/ There was no 'slave' and no master). 'Baargaah-e-Khuda Mein Nahin Koi Farq Hai/ Wahan Har Ek Insaan Faqat Insaan Hai' (There's no discrimination in the court of god/ There every individual is just a human). All these morons in Hinduism must know that god surely doesn't sort out prayers by denominations and subscriptions. One more egregious tendency should also be highlighted. All these grovelling devotees also try to bribe god by offering expensive gifts. Does your god use a diamond-studded designer i-phone? This idiocy must be stopped forthwith and the doors of temples be thrown open for all. And if you find them close or ajar because of any discrimination, return like Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, quoting his immortal couplet, "Bandagi Mein Bhi Woh Aazaad-o-Khudbeen Hain Ke Hum/ Ulte Phir Aaye Dare-Kaaba Agar Waa Na Hua" (So full of amour propre I'm even in worship/ I return home if I find that the doors of Kaaba are not open for me). ------- 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: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/culture-paid-darshan-temples/d/130708 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

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