The beatification of Saint Judt
The last 30-45 days has seen a surge on obits, reviews and tributes to Tony Judt.
Tony who? Exactly. An unknown writer till a few months ago, has suddenly become famous in his death. Media (at least in India) has gone overboard. But when Marathi media started on Tony Judt, it was high noon. The straw on the camel’s back.
OK, guilty of misrepresentation. Not the camel’ back! It was my back.
There seems an effort at beatification of Tony Judt. In the modern era, temporal authorities, award a quick Nobel Prize, pin a Congressional Medal of Honor – and the process of ‘secular’ sainthood is completed. Media aids by marching to the drumbeat of the State. These ‘secular’ sainthoods by the ‘modern-secular-liberal-progressive-democratic’ establishment are not meant to be enduring or important. They , the latter-day, disposable, ‘secular’ saints, serve a utilitarian purpose to their masters – the State.
Tony Judt is no exception.
From the safety of a university cloister
By being overtly anti-Israel, Tony Judt, gets an inside track into the Islamic mind – to start his ideas of ‘identity’.
A self-confessed, Social Democrat (but that is not ‘identity’) Tony Judt is the type who speaks from the comfort of a winning side.
We know enough of ideological and political movements to be wary of exclusive solidarity in all its forms. One should keep one’s distance not only from the obviously unappealing “-isms”—fascism, jingoism, chauvinism—but also from the more seductive variety: communism, to be sure, but nationalism and Zionism too. And then there is national pride: more than two centuries after Samuel Johnson first made the point, patriotism—as anyone who passed the last decade in America can testify—is still the last refuge of the scoundrel. (via Edge People | The New York Review of Books).
As fortunes shifted and wavered, Tony Judt’s recounts how his family moved from one declining economy to another growing economy. From Eastern Europe, vaguely in a region near Russia, to Antwerp in Belgium thereon to Britain and finally to the USA. He finds
over the years these fierce unconditional loyalties—to a country, a God, an idea, or a man—have come to terrify me. The thin veneer of civilization rests upon what may well be an illusory faith in our common humanity.
To people like Tony Judt, identity is a matter of convenience. And they rightly, recommend that people must have no identity – and by extension, no loyalty. Fly flags of convenience. May the highest bidder win.
I wonder where Judt’s family was, when the Belgians were flogging the Congolese.
Sainthood by the Vatican
The ‘modern’ State and the media of the Free World have it easy when it comes to cannonising people like Tony Judt!
The Catholic Church has a rather exacting process, stretching over a few years, at the very least. The Catholic Church even appoints a Devil’s Advocate – someone who tries to find reasons why the candidate should NOT be declared a saint.
This process has sometimes taken decades too. After multiple processes and steps, a committee. the Congregation for the Causes of Saints decides on these issues. With the kind of rigour that the Vatican process follows, Saints have ‘public memory’ life span extending to centuries.
Coming to Saint Judt
Today when the West is paying the price for creating a misshapen Islamic identity, people like Judt thinly speak out against identity – an Islamic identity. Or when the West faces a challenge from Asia, China and India, it pays to talk of less identity.
This idea of less identity would not be such a bad idea – if you have so little of identity, to start with!
You got this one wrong
David, you are tracing blasphemy to people (like me) who worship rocks, trees, birds, animals, air, water, rivers, seas, mountains, fruits, sunrise, sunset, the waxing and waning of the moon, the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, tools and weapons, water and milk – in fact (and in short) everything. And we are the subject of your cartoon.
Pagans, we are called by ‘others’. Probably, you too. And no, we don’t have the concept of blasphemy. So, David you got this one wrong!! Completely wrong. We, (who are mostly called Pagans) don’t and didn’t do the killings over blasphemy! Because,
We don’t worship The One!
History of blasphemy
If you are looking at a ‘modern’ phenomenon, like blasphemy, it is the history of Desert Bloc that you must look at. Over the last nearly 2500 years. During this period, the cornerstones of ‘modern’ societies, from the Desert Bloc like One God, One Book, One Holy Day, One Prophet (Messiah), One Race, One People, One Country, One Authority, One Law, One Currency, One Set of Festivals, et al were popularized.
From this Oneness, we get the One Currency, One Language logic – fallacious syllogisms, all. This quest of ‘Oneness’ is the root of most problems in the world – including blasphemy.
Birth of religions
Modern religions are a construct of the West Asia-Middle East – and the birth place of the 3 major religions of the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the Indic system, belief structure centres around dharma – धर्म.
In the last 1000 years, India has also become ‘religious’. Indic people have started describing themselves as ‘Hindus’ – a geographical appellation, apart from /Buddhists /Jains /Sikhs. ‘Modern’ blasphemy laws in India are also derived from colonial roots of Desert Bloc origin.
The difference between धर्म dharma and religion? Major!
For one, religion is about worship. There are many other differences also – in method of worship (how you worship), object of worship (what you worship), frequency of worship (e.g. every Sabbath; five times a day, etc.), language of worship (what you say, in which language), etc.
Indic worship practices are infinite. Even non-worship to is acceptable – for instance, the Charvaka school of Indian philosophy was atheistic and did not prescribe worship. Structure and deviation from worship practices are a non-issue in Indian dharmic structure. धर्म Dharma has no equivalent in the ‘Desert Bloc’ vocabulary of religions. धर्म Dharma is the path of righteousness, defined by a matrix of the contextual, existential, moral, pragmatic, professional, position, etc. धर्म Dharma is more than moral and ethics.
Many more … and more on the way
The really big difference between religion and धर्म dharma is the holy books. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one Holy Book each. No deviations. Indian धर्म dharma tradition has thousands which are more than 1000 years old – at last count. And some more on the way.
David, your two Pulitzers notwithstanding, you must do better than this. You cannot let your beliefs, prejudices, ‘received’ wisdom come in the way of ‘truth’.
Or your lack of knowledge!