WHICHEVER way one looks at it, the doomsday predictions appear an imminent reality. If a catastrophic conflict between the good and the evil could portend the end of the world, the day of reckoning is not far off! But the definitions of good and bad are as vague as the end of the day and the beginning of the night; for if the setting sun is the harbinger of the ominous night, what celestial phenomenon announces the end of the day?
Tsunami, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and other man-made hazards and disasters have in their own ways contributed to the impending end. A proliferation of various strains of virus and bacteria immune to all sorts of treatment has been bothering mankind; even science has ceased to be a succour for tormented bodies!
Major social and political upheavals occurring around the globe have been threatening to destroy the world. Terrorism is a way of life now. In the present era, a normal day necessarily needs to have a series of bomb blasts and other acrimonious attacks meant to destabilise a system-a system that has neither a head nor a tail! People have learnt to live with the horrors of a past holocaust and the present day cataclysm. A popular uprising in the country against bourgeois decadence meant to usher in a proletarian culture has catalysed into a virtual war against the state.
Man, it is said, is an intelligent animal! However, man and intelligence have grown miles apart with the ‘brains’ quotient deserting him. For all purposes, man is thus reduced to a beast – a creature that cannot distinguish between right and wrong. Filial relations, sibling love, parental care, the institution of marriage; all these have come to mean contrived emotions and misplaced relationships. Laws of the land being amended to facilitate cohabitations which are against the diktats of nature, and a penchant for assuming an identity that is in gross violation of the order of genders as perceived by the Creator himself, portrays the steady decline in the moral values of the society today.
Man and God were never intended to grow apart, for religion and religious beliefs have always been held dear by humans. The proliferation of a class of people, who apparently ‘prosper’ exploiting the faith of the masses, disturbing communal harmony, is a testimony of this blatant truth. Another alarming aspect of this ‘devotion sans any passion’ has been the portrayal of religious fanaticism as the new face of international terrorism. Religious dogmas and principles have always governed the day-to-day life of mortals so such so that quite often a hallowed conviction is mistaken for superstition.
Religious orders and institutions where the ordinary layman is imparted knowledge about one’s religion by priests and clerics are today tainted by accusations of gross irregularities. The church in various parts of the world has been shaken up by allegations of child abuse by priests. The Pope’s apology to the aggrieved and dealing with the issue in a recent pastoral letter has however not mollified the Christian brethren.
In the early days of Islam, fatwa(s) were pronounced by distinguished intellectuals to provide guidance to scholars, judges and citizens on how subtle points of Islamic law should be understood, interpreted or applied. There were strict rules on who is eligible to issue a valid fatwa and who could not, as well as on the conditions the fatwa must satisfy to be valid. Toady, a fatwa has come to signify a death sentence and seen as the handiest of weapons for religious extremists.
It so appears that the collective endeavours of numerous academics and exponents of religious scriptures are not enough to rekindle the hopes of a lot many faithful. Prophets and messiahs have trodden this earth, many maligned and some made to bear the brunt of their own crosses for the sincerity of their thoughts, pure and sublime. But the new genre of swamis and gurus moving around in swanky cars and preaching out of their air-conditioned and thermal-controlled sprawling ashrams command a following that could make the Almighty squirm in distress. It is not God who is revered today but the ‘God-men’ who rule the roost under the guise of spirituality.
Sports and games have always been a means of relaxation, a pastime for man from ancient times; but no longer! Organising sporting events has virtually turned into a commercial jamboree, a financial bonanza. The sports and the sportspersons have become pawns in a game of high financial stakes. Players are being auctioned and the teams being bid for! Is there no differentiation between man and commodity! Oh Lord, this is what recreation has come to-a business proposition!
Purportedly, we are in that period of time where the human race finds itself enchanted and is easily swayed by a host of mischievous absurdities. A well-rehearsed disregard for incidents and happenings that warn of the perils to come characterise the generation today. We are in the midst of the test of mankind’s sinful nature under ideal conditions by the loosing of Satan – and we are succumbing to his vile wishes!
It is a popular belief that when the universe crumbles under the collective weight of the sins committed by mankind, the Lord incarnate will appear as the ‘Supreme Chastiser’. But in sharp contrast to the apocalyptic beliefs what can be done when man himself is hell-bent on considering himself omnipotent!