Idol worship is frowned upon by Islam and Christianity which are both religious-orders that sprung in a desert-region. Both these two most popular religions propagate the teachings of their prophet and the saviour! It is but paradoxical that their followers enjoy both cosmetic make-up and taking their selfies, without any qualms.
On the other hand, Hinduism is a spiritual faith where universalism and Nature hold sway over any one individual’s opinion or thoughts. As such, even the worship of a stone, a rock or a tree is not being unreligious or disloyal to dead and gone saints or philosophers.
The practice of installing statues in memory of dead mortals is a more Egyptian and Greek practice, whereas carving idols and chiselling divine forms of worship – in praise of the elements of Nature and Life – is more ancient and denotes the Hindu worship methodology.
What most commentators and students of comparative religions and humanities from outside the Indian sub-continent do not grasp is that an elaborate ‘praana-pratishtha’ puja ( prayers ) performed can alone bestow ‘life’ and ‘power’ to these ‘idols’. Otherwise, such carvings remain mere sculpted pieces of ‘art’ at the best and ‘statue-like’, at worst.
The history and origin of the Egyptian statues revolve around a belief-system that a resting-place for a life-force is made available after the death of the person. The Greek had their share of fables and stories which created gods and goddesses out of rocks.
All in all, statues were installed in hopes of having the spirit of a dear departed one hover around the heirs as a ring and source of protection through life’s tribulations!
Even the atheists had their share of leaders of the community. Thus, the Communists also erected memorials and built statues in honour of their lost leaders or ‘comrades’ – as they address each other!
Having said this, the origin and significance of ‘statues’ as being lighthouses from the past ages to posterity has paled nowadays, with more of a nuisance-value being attached to the saga of installing and destroying others’ statutes!
There was an atheist down south in Tamil Nadu State who used to put garlands made of slippers around idols of Hindus and take out a procession daring then administrations to arrest his devilry.
And, of late, there has been a revival of this orgy-like exercise by anti-social elements who have been denigrating the ethos of a coexistence of a mixed-culture in this great nation.
If a statue of Virgin Mary is found to have been chipped away overnight by drunken Christian miscreants in Mangalore, it is dubbed as a desecration of Christ.
If an unused occupied temple turned mosque where no prayers have been offered for decades is turned into rubble, a lot of ruckus, hue & cry ensues! But, where idolatry is decried as bigotry of unseen by present generations of ‘believers’, it is passé to the ‘new world vermin’ that reign the globe via paid-media across the planet! The propaganda-brigade have brought the statues to life and rendered living persons redundant!
The solution lies not in banning the statues, but in bringing about a uniform civil Code ASAP!
It is impossible not to remind ourselves of the inglorious few who like a former Union Law Minister (who was a judge before being anointed as a minister), had inaugurated a statue of himself at the high court premises (as a minister) where he used to work as a Judge!
Before the current crop of killer-netas begin to tread these footsteps, let the Nation abandon all those who build statues in the middle of junctions and busy places but do nothing to upkeep the road or locality around the statues.
I had in fact issued a notice to the Union Government and all State Governments to make it mandatory to raise the national flag and plant trees wherever private statues in public places were put up. Be it of elephants or of men and women who merged in the backwaters of history.
The latest political game is of course -‘crying Statues!’ A most sinister one. End the game. For national peace, law and order to win!