Atanu Dey On India's Development

When in Rome, only Monotheism

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I gather from Kanchan Gupta’s piece — “In Rome, Durga is not welcome” — the officials in Rome are jerking around Hindus who want to celebrate puja. But for the efforts of the Indian Ambassador, Mr Arif Shahid Khan, this year’s Durga puja celebrations in Rome would have been a disaster. A deep bow for Mr Khan in appreciation of his help to the Hindus in Rome.

I don’t blame the officials in Rome. They are at least not being hypocritical in their action. They are monotheists and their religion says that non-monotheists are destined for eternal torment in the hell their god has prepared for people like me (atheists) and polytheists (like most Hindus supposedly are.) The previous bishop of Rome, the pope, visited India some years ago and had the gall to tell Indians that they need to be saved — and he said this during Diwali — and that the Catholic church will bring India under the cross. That instrument of torture and death that they proudly wear around their necks.

But anyway, India cannot do much about this blatant slap on the face. The Indian government headed by Manmohan Singh works for Sonia Gandhi, an Italian by birth and a Roman Catholic by faith. The head of the state, the president of India, is Pratibha Patil. Ms Patil occupies that position at the pleasure of Sonia Gandhi. Neither Manmohan Singh nor Pratibha Patil can criticize the Italian government or the Vatican because Sonia Gandhi would not allow it.

Divided loyalties is the main reason that people of foreign birth are not allowed to hold high office in most civilized nation states. What a sorry state of affairs. Sad, very very sad but then one has to remember that Indians voted to put a foreigner into the driving seat. The mentality of an occupied people is not easy to change. The British left over 60 years ago but the mentality that elevates white-skinned people other brown-skinned ones is too deeply rooted into the collective psyche.

We are, as the song goes, prisoners of our own device.