Fragments — 13

The BBC reports that Indian Catholics want the movie, The Da Vinci Code, banned.

“Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) activists will go on a fast unto death if the government fails to take action against anti-Christian movies,” CSF general secretary Joseph Dias told the BBC.

Mr Dias is quoted as saying, ” . . . Tempers are already running quite high and there’s no way of saying what could happen if the movie is released.”

I guess the Catholics would go on a rampage and burn down theatres. Eric Hoffer had noted that “when the weak want to give an impression of strength they hint menacingly at their capacity for evil. It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak.”

It is a familiar tactic–threatening violence unless one’s wishes are not acceded to. Muslims most commonly use this because they, among all religious groups, are the quickest to take offense at all sorts of imagined slights to their religion. The other religious groups such as Hindus and Christians also resort to this but less frequently. The government more often than not responds by caving in to these unreasonable demands, not just to prevent the threatened violence but in cases where Muslims and Christians are concerned, to prove their “secular” credentials.

My conviction is that only those whose faith is on very shaky ground feel threatened by books and movies that cast doubt on those beliefs. Their violent reaction is indeed a sign of their own faithlessness and should be cause for some introspection. But whether they figure out their insecurities or not, is not such a major issue. What is a major issue is when the government capitulates and drives one more nail into the coffin of free speech and liberty.

Follow-up to this post: Please see “Still Laboring in Serfdom.

14 thoughts on “Fragments — 13

  1. little Ram Saturday May 13, 2006 / 10:36 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Most of these religious faiths have been around for millenia and survived any number of challenges. Many have survived outright bans and persecutions, far more serious than any book or movie.

    It is only by countering such challenges that scientific theories, spiritual teaching or cultural development can hope to get established or modified for the better. If a book or movie is able to successfully challenge an established practice or idea, it is probably because it needed changing anyway in the light of new learning.

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  2. Pardeshi Saturday May 13, 2006 / 11:10 pm

    Atanu,
    Da vinci code has been in the best-seller list in France for a number of weeks where the majority is Catholic.There has been much debate going on among writers and scholars and not bishops.The book is just a thriller with much inaccuracy; the on coming film is another marketing stuff.
    I don’t know why the Indian catholic are so touchy about the film.Dan Brown is an arts historian , whatever he writes as fiction will not endanger one’s religious practice.If the “secular” europeans don’t give a damn about this kind of film, why should the Indian govt ban it

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  3. Christian Sunday May 14, 2006 / 1:42 pm

    So, next time when images of Hindu gods are printed on footwears, panties,and are denigrated by the west,Hindus should keep quiet.

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  4. Pardeshi Sunday May 14, 2006 / 11:51 pm

    “So, next time when images of Hindu gods are printed on footwears, panties,and are denigrated by the west,Hindus should keep quiet ”
    This is just irrelevant.
    Hope you speak French
    Try this link
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da_Vinci_Code

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  5. anant Monday May 15, 2006 / 12:31 pm

    The muslims in bombay have made an appeal to the police chief to ban the movie, why ? it seems Jesus is one of the prophets mentioned in Koran.

    One more feather to Da Vinci code cap, it has brought Muslims and Christians together!

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  6. Subrat Mishra Wednesday May 17, 2006 / 12:32 pm

    Why only footwear & panties, u can go ahead and print them on toilet paper or even tampoons if u like & I still wouldnt give a shit. People like u & that moron Dashmunshi are the ones who are responsible for all sorts of communal tension in this country. You are no better than the fanatical hindus & muslims who attack your churches.

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  7. Subrat Mishra Wednesday May 17, 2006 / 12:41 pm

    Well put Atanu. I say let those idiots go on with their fast & die – its the best way to get rid of such useless people.

    Something seems to hav gone wrong with the blockquote tag above!

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  8. Karan Wednesday May 17, 2006 / 7:56 pm

    Great. Just what I was looking for. It had to descend into an ‘us versus them’ didn’t it? I came here looking for an honest critique, and was expecting the usual words – ‘votebank politics’, ‘minority appeasement’ and such like. But what do I get to read? “Muslims most commonly use this because they, among all religious groups, are the quickest to take offense at all sorts of imagined slights to their religion.” Reeks of xenophobia. What else do you expect in the land of Gujarat?

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  9. Nero Wednesday May 17, 2006 / 10:40 pm

    When the rest of the world is okay with the movie (including the nations where Christianity came from), why’re a bunch of Indians stirring up trouble?
    Fast to the death indeed! That’s a very cheap way to attract attention. Do they really think they can hold the nation to ransom?
    Well put, Subrata!

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  11. Swapna Friday May 19, 2006 / 4:43 am

    I quite agree. People always threaten when they are scared and they are scared when new ideas come along, these new ideas be they fact or fiction.

    They go on about freedom of speech and then ban movies from being viewed.

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