Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On Religion, War and Cartoons

I've had enough. Enough and more hatred has been spread in the name of religion.

"Currently the stereotypical muslim, as perceived by many in Europe and America, is a fanatical suicidal maniac who insists on keeping his wife locked up and who would cheerfully execute anyone who disagrees with his viewpoint that Islam is best. The reaction to the cartoons by protesters in Palestine, Pakistan or Iraq where they threaten death to the cartoonsist only reinforces this stereotype."

I am a Muslim and proud to be so. I have friends from other religions with whom I share my deepest secrets I wouldn't dare to tell anyone else and I don't hate them. I'd bet my life on the fact that they don't hate me too (atleast on the basis of my religion). Religion is a way of life that everyone chooses to follow. In my opinion every religion has something good to say and I follow mine simply because I choose to. Choice, is something that can never be taken from me. I choose not to hate. I chose to ignore. I choose to be happy. I choose to live and I choose my beliefs.

"No religion teaches violence" is a statement that, inspite of its frequency in usage, should never be considered a cliche and I as a Muslim definitely know that Islam belongs to this set. And I do not consider a Muslim anyone who thinks otherwise. A vast majority will agree with me.

I never get into arguments about religion simply because I don't know much about any other than my own. So before you start hating someone based on his beliefs, please make an effort to study those beliefs in an unbiased manner.

There is no point in hating when we have an alternative. There is no end to it. Coexist.
We all come in peace.

This is my first and hopefully one of my very few attempts at social messaging.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I distincly remember the first time I read a comprehensive comic book. I was 6 yrs old and was about to be 7 in a couple of days. Till then, the cartoon strip in newspapers was all I knew of cartooning and never pictured that there could be books full of them. It was the first edition of ‘Tinkle’ which cost Rs. 6 and was reluctantly financed by my mother in exchange for not watching a movie which apparently wasn’t made for my age group (I’d kill to remember which one). I bought it at the newspaper stall right next to our place which remained my library for years to come. I lapped it up within an hour, which btw, should be an accomplishment for a kid who was not yet 7 :) ! Then I moved up to Archies, Chandamama, Jataka Tales and very soon into the streets of Gotham City and Metropolis.
I was lucky to have had prior introduction to Superman through the movie which I watched at my uncle’s place… my first movie on the VCR. I was blown away! I used to simply stare at the comic book cover for hours together dreaming of wearing that holy red-and-blue suit and ripping through space at unimaginable speeds (I din’t know the speed of light then and hence couldn’t compare). Slowly I became an even bigger fan of the Dark Knight aka Batman. The best part of him was that he was human. Just like any of us but bigger than all of us. He was vulnerable, yet infallible. Dark, yet a Hero. That day on, I was a Believer. Every day after school I used to come straight to the newspaper stall, pick up the latest comic and read till I could hear my mother screaming at me from the balcony. I swept the entire range. From Mahabali Shaaka, and Nagaraj to Phantom and Mandrake to Justice League and later on Tintin and Asterix. Years passed by but I still hold on to those stories.

Its not that I haven’t grown past them, I’ve grown with them. And come to think of it, I never want to let them go. I don’t want to sound obsessed like Samuel L Jackson on a wheelchair in ‘Unbreakable’, but those comics were the building blocks of some of my principles and ideals. They were to me the perfect example of what my mother used to call the ‘Win of Truth over Evil’. The pristine thought process of sacrificing your personal life, fame and fortune to help the less fortunate was too priceless for me and still is. In this era where life in its shades of grey has been accepted as the norm, we need to turn back to something everytime there is conflict of choices available. Fairy Tales probably have more significance than we think.
Its probably why such tales are classified as ‘Fantasy’ .. ‘cos in this world, they would never fit in.