Monday, June 28, 2010
The sham side of young India
God men or God who can be man enough? We have seen enough Nityanandas, Bala Sai Babas and Swethambari maatas and the whole microcosm of other bogus babus and babas that we have just the eyes left for seeing unpretentious kids, supposed to be cavorting in schools, masquerading as maatas and swamis. What is the world coming to? Why should these kids be denied their fundamental right to education? Who is to be blamed- parents, society, the kids ( for the pesky rodents they already are) themselves or the media which is a true bummer at blowing
things out of proportion and take credit for it? We are spoilt for choice here. This is sad situation
our country has to face at this day and age. India is a developing country. Time and again we
have been proving that it will remain so, thanks to these fake-o's and the nitwits who entertain
What started as a simple-news-viewing-over-dinner developed into a cobweb of a story that startled my senses and made me despise everyone connected to it.
Once upon a time (2010) there lived a little girl, Shambhavi, all of 8 years, in the small town of Nandyal in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. Her father ran out on the family and she lived with her mother Usha Rani, in a shoddy house. The mother couldn't have afforded the regular education so she enrolled her in a Vedic school teaching Sanskrit Vedas and Upanishads. Not a bad idea so far. They must have gotten bored of the plain learning and the bizarre idea struck their empty heads. What next? Bam! Lets try quick money! And what better way than create a ballyhoo that her daughter is a messenger bestowed on us by God to cure us of all our sins. The girl was palpably oblivious to the hidden dangers. Roll the next scene and we have a star- a juvenile in a saffron robe, the big red tilak, flower adorned hair and tulsi maalas weighing her down. She made the temple of Suryanandi her holy abode and kept lurking among mobs who came by thousands to seek her blessings. We also hear that Anil Ambani is giving Rs 1 crore for developing the temple. No wonder he's joining his rival brother now.
The Human Rights Commission, however, got a whiff of the story and inquired into the snafu. When it was found to be true they quickly formed a bench committee and hastily decided to pass a legal order stating that the girl should be removed from her Vedic seminary and force fed maths, science and economics at a regular school. The concerned authorities were to submit a compliance report on the issue to the Commission before the deadline fixed by the jurisdiction. But hey, never underestimate a single mother. The mother-daughter duo quickly deserted their ramshackle house and found their way into the Tibetan bastion of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. The kid was again subjected to learning Sanskrit, Hindi and English, dining with the dignitaries from the Dalai Lama empire and sharing stage space with the Lama himself. apparently her name was no more just Shambhavi. It was Acharya Shambhavi. The repartee didn't end there. She claimed that she was a friend of Dalai Lama in her previous life, was a disciple of Buddha then and that her aim is to fight for the Tibetan people's freedom.
The underdogs back home tracked her down by sniffing their way to the northern part with the help of media and splashed pictures of her royal spiritual life all over the TV. Rumours were also rife that a 3D movie was being made with her as the protagonist in which, of course, she will be showcased as a small goddess.
Enraged by the 'bold' fax message sent to the Collectorate of A.P giving details of the kid's admission into the school by the mother, the officials warned her of consequences uncalled for and extended the deadline for her homecoming. Usha Rani refused to budge and reiterated that she and her daughter be left alone, away from the media hoopla. The girl was already being referred to as 'Miracle Baby'. What in the blue blazes is that supposed to mean?
While all these thoughts echoed in my head I came across another story that struck me like a bolt from the blue. It alleged that Dalai Lama was not as holy as he thought he was. Rumour mills were once again abuzz with tales of the yore suggesting the spiritual leader and his battalion of zombies (no offense meant) actually import destitute, orphaned and helpless kids to their empire and beguile their minds with all the crap about healing the world ( in the prodigal way) and preaching that 'monk(e)y'ness is the way to go. Now whether Shambhavi is one of those unfortunate kids or not is not for me to decide. No one can be too certain as to what the truth is. Its all a vicious circle that reverberates the fact that all that is shown is not, but false! If we thought child labour was the worst that could happen to kids, check this out!
It all boils down to a set of questions that linger at the back of our heads finally. Who is the evildoer? What should be the fate of Shambhavi? Should she be forced into an atmosphere which she's not comfortable in? (there are high chances that she might be ridiculed and execrated among the 'regular' crowd at schools) Or should the authorities define a legal standpoint on her spiritual activities and let her be comfortable in her own skin? Circumstances hardly offer any choice. Man, I have so many questions. I am hapless and helpless. All I choose to is write about it.