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The soul custodian of the faith

As we have seen so often, many of our Marxist comrades can be very literal-minded. Even so, it has come as a bit of a surprise that they would take the slogan ‘God’s own country’ so much in letter and spirit.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2007 23:43 IST

As we have seen so often, many of our Marxist comrades can be very literal-minded. Even so, it has come as a bit of a surprise that they would take the slogan ‘God’s own country’ so much in letter and spirit. Now Karl Marx, the reigning deity of the red brigade, may have said that ‘religion is the opium of the masses’ and exhorted his followers to abolish religion as a requisite for the happiness of the people. But Kerala’s temple affairs minister and senior CPM leader G. Sudhakaran has decided that he will be the medium between the people and the Almighty. To that end, a Tantric University is on the cards in the state.

And what prompts this act, which could cause Lenin to turn in his mausoleum? The minister feels that the party, no less, must take the lead in shoring up the state’s spiritual inclination. He is pained that spiritual and ritualistic practices in temples have been deteriorating. Now, the more naïve among us would be pardoned for thinking that the minister would have better things to do like encourage social reform in temples and maybe take on conservative priests and maulvis. But he has decided that piety begins in the party office and what the state needs most is temple priests who know their Vedas. Teachers at the university will be authorised as spiritual inspectors. Now before you raise a pew and cry about this, let us reassure you that they will be the spiritual equivalent of the Indian Standards Institute. Only they will weigh spiritual practices in the balance. For those found wanting, it will not be a matter between them and their Maker but their spiritual guardian, the minister himself. The minister took on the mantle of a Daniel come to the judgment when he heard that the Sabrimala temple priest admitted to not knowing Sanskrit or the Vedas and its chants. It won’t be the UGC which will run the Tantric university but a trust set up by the Dewasom Board. What is a minister doing making such proposals to a trust? Why did the trust not think of this innovative scheme itself?

For answers, wait for the next meet of the politburo where theoretician and ideologue-in-chief Prakash Karat may just see red on this. Now many may say that ‘in God we trust’ but that was not quite the spirit when the hapless M. Manohar Joshi tried to introduce Vedic astrology courses in universities. No sooner did the words escape his lips than Joshi was buried in an avalanche of invective from the secular brigade. And rightly so. The government of a secular state should stick to the material and leave faith to individuals. But the comrades clearly believe that they have to commune with the very soul of their flock even if they have to rewrite the rules chapter and verse. So now we can safely ask people to come to God’s own country to rejuvenate not just the physical self but also their immortal soul courtesy a state-sponsored dose of socialist spiritualism.