The Creed of Love Sans Rubbish Religions

Would I be called an atheist when I get rid of a ‘Chanu’ or a ‘Devi’, being suffixed with my name? These suffixes purportedly identify my faith. Though I tend to avoid using any of these not-so-fascinating suffixation, sometimes I wonder if God is being politically incorrect in differentiating us on the grounds of religion. Why is religion given so much hype in our world? Why are the religious bigots continuously feeding on fanaticism? Can religion seriously contribute something in the shaping of an ideal society?

These questions keep disturbing me and unsurprisingly I have no answer. Perhaps I am just a confused person, lost in the religious complexities and all those moralities and mortality thingies.

Well, let me share a few personal experiences from my life on the religious clashes among individuals in our society. I grew up in a typical Hindu family. I enjoyed one such childhood period, listening to the words of wisdom from the Holy Geeta narrated by the late Karam Edhou. I enjoyed listening to his thoughts and the preaching on Hinduism and did enjoy most of the mera-mesh meal fondly shared with Edhou. Those memories are precious to me. I have grown up with many such good memories of those lessons on life that I have been taught by other edhou, bubok and many elderly persons who had left for their heavenly abode now. This was my father’s side.

My Ema, on the other hand, hails from a typical Meitei Marup family. My Keisampat Abok (my granny) had this tiny ‘khubam’ right at the courtyard. Around those days, she also introduced us the ‘heepu yaipubi’. On query, she replied Heepu Yaipubi is the Meitei version of Goddess Lakhsmi. The realisation amused me and I started developing a notion that God, no matter which one we worship, is known by a lot of names.

Since then, I had been fond of Sanamahism as much as I had been worshipping Hinduism or Christianity. Nonetheless, I have keenly observed the religious conflicts between my Wangkhei bubok and Keisampat abok during those days. It seemed to me as though they were born to dislike each other just because they followed different faith. They hardly came into terms with each other. Our two buboks would not show it openly but all of us know in their silence what was really going on between them.

As I grow up and see, hear and learn the truth, I have started disliking Hinduism and have almost denounced my faith, especially after knowing about how it was imposed in our society in the most forcible and barbaric manner. This fact has been etched on my mind. It’s like robbing and ruining all the good memories of childhood and I am equally helpless. I have started questioning my then beliefs on the various philosophies of Hinduism. But tell you what? I am not doing the right thing.

What had to happen had already happened, however hopefully, what can happen in the future is now entirely up to us. An enlightenment that leads to constructive thoughts is worth accepting but not the one that tinctures hatred on our mind for reasons that are best kept in the dark. We should have an open choice to follow our preferred faith or belief. Secularism should be promoted for an egalitarian society, but religion should not be misused as a lousy political tool. The more we misuse it, the more chaos we are prone to create in the society. Let us limit the use of religion. And the best thing is to keep in the closet of our private space.

Follow any religion you want to follow, who cares? Even if you want to worship Satan, it’s your choice. But make sure that you respect others who follow their choice of religion. Hatred cannot be a solution to rectify the blunder from the past. No religious book teaches us to spread loathsome philosophies. You are as much a Meitei whether you worship Pakhangba or Krishna. You are as much a Manipuri whether you follow Christianity or Islam. Let us stop building all these narrow domestic walls. Though the question of losing one’s identity after following a foreign faith can be kept aside for deliberations some other time.

I did not have any particular reason of denouncing my faith. I just have this feeling that religion cripples our view and make us petty. For example, if you introduce yourself as a Hindu, you are just a Hindu. It seems like building a narrow domestic wall when you differentiate yourself from others as a Hindu. So, I find it a much better option to denounce any faith. Instead of worshiping idols or chanting hymns, it’s better to hum songs of love for mankind. Let us believe in spreading happiness. Let us believe in making this world a better place to reside. Let us believe in peace not war. Let us abolish hatred. We need to manifest and infect one another with stirring ideas of social and political change. Manipur is laid back in civilization in almost all the sectors. Let us focus more on how we can chip in with our ideas of civilization.

It is not a death-dream to see a prosperous Manipur, if we all become united as Manipuris, and not as Meitei, Paangal or Hao. Let us join the global march in this progression of civilization. Let us not waste our time quarrelling or philandering on trivial issues. Always be a Manipuri first... we can be a hao, a meitei or a paangan later. Theism or atheism, today what we need in our world is love.

This article was published on 15 July 2012

I have found some interesting comments on this article at the Sangai Express. CtrlC+CtrlV'ed some of them below:

Anonymous reader
Dear sanatombi. I am avid reader of your column manipuri masala. The latest article titled " The creed of love sans rubbish religion" is a good piece to read until the last para where you brought in the term hao to signify the tribals. I knw the word might have all shorts of good connatations in the past but right now we all know what it means. so kindly do not use such politically incorrect words in the future again. As the saying goes pen is mightier than sword. words like this can create enmity in the manipuri (meaning people of manipur state not just meiteis) society.apart from words like this. your article are good please do keep writing. Thank you.

hitler pamei
2012-07-15 at 06:46:57
in my opinion we should go for the best religion and avoid the worst.if u hav been studyin n observin the diff religions,ur answer will always be atheism coz human knowledges is limited by God. if u beliv in atheism u r n technology can nevr explain religion.there r diff stories in diff faiths.let us find out which one is the best.ur ways of livin is base on ur religion.God has promised to bless his word n to cause it to bear fruit that wil honor him. God bless every one of us

DOM Haokip
2012-07-15 at 12:52:40
It was fun to red this article until the last line. I strongly detest the use of the word "HAO". I knw the author must have without any wrong intention. But the tribals of Manipur abhor to be called by this term. The tribals of manipur are no less developed and civlized than the valley brothers. I urge every author not to use this politically incorrect word ever again in any form of print media.

Mr J
2012-07-15 at 12:44:05
Sanatombi,your write up is from humanistic angle. Very good if everybody response positively.In myopic sense,Manipur is burning with ethnic conflict promoted by Christian missionaries.The concept of Naga and Kuki born as political entities.In Assam,NDBF,Rabha viper force,Karbi militants, who want separate states from the present Assam all r the creation Christian Missionaries.In case of Meite, there is no difference between Hindu, meitei rarup and Muslim sharing common Surname style & language.

James Rajkumar
2012-07-15 at 15:43:56
At last, a very interesting topic. Very good. Really enjoyed reading this article. I truly respect your view towards religion and its influence towards differentiating people. We all must be open-minded and only then can we make our homeland peaceful and prosperous again, regardless of the religion we follow. God bless us all!

Mohd. Jawed
2012-07-15 at 21:12:57
Becos of not religious crime is created,if there were religious no foeticides or killing of female child would occur in rajasthan,maharastra etc,we sud know what is the purpose of God created humankind nd what will happen after dead,message of God is same almost in every holy books,why we are so much neglect to adopt a commonality,without religion a nation can never be developed,so let us bring out all religious books-Geeta,Bible,Quran etc nd study what is common nd let's accept it.

2012-07-16 at 12:20:28
@ Dom, I think it is fine with Sanatombi's usage of the word hao or paangan. There is nothing wrong in using any of these words. Maybe she is trying to add a typical flavour to her write up by using a local word. Using tribal instead of hao would also mean the same right?

DOM Haokip
2012-07-16 at 22:10:09 can u say there is nothing wrong wen ur called barbaric..would u like to be called barbaric?..local flavour or wat ever flavour you may called it..Tribals don't like to be address as "Hao". MIND IT...

2012-07-17 at 00:08:05
@DOM HAOKIP, why did you call meitei a meitei? Just call them non-tribal or non-hao. The word "Hao" is a very sweet local word. We are the one who've mis-used it.

Most advanced
2012-07-17 at 07:34:10
Hao or how which one is meaningful i think it is better to ues how as an american style cos u sud adopt not only dressing style of naked america looking like naked african living in jungle who are most advanced cos of naked style,this days if u are more naked u are considered to be more advance tought in american churches so dog,cat,rat,lion ,tiger,chicken etc are the most advanced cos of more naked.

2012-07-17 at 09:05:57
mr.Dom haokip is right the word "hao" should nevr reused ever again.that's not a way to address to ur own u know the meanin of Hao which mean uncivilised/barbaric ain't deserve by any tribal standard of livin is higher than the non_christian meitei in many ways though meiteis has got thousands of brick buildings.lets compare if u dare.

2012-07-17 at 09:45:30
Awesome article LOVE it. Whatever it takes to unite each others truth should stand constant for forever. I do agree that difference between each religion makes us different but finding the truth of origin and knowing makes us proud. Even I grew up in a typical HINDU family but I have grown enough to understand the fact and its not so harm to know the fact though. Thank You

2012-07-17 at 15:28:46
@damn. Haos and meeteis are now comparable, haos may develop much faster and beat the meiteis in future. But the development doesn't mean that the word "hao" should be changed to "american" or to "astronaut". I believe the word "hao" is a very sweet word (though conflicting a bit in it's originality). Whatever, good or bad, it's the origin of our culture and tradition. We meiteis were haos. There's nothing wrong when someone say we were barbaric in ancient times, rather I am proud of it.

2012-07-17 at 15:58:12
Meiteis are living with so much proud. Why meiteis are so proud of their rich history, culture and traditions? Meiteis are very proud because they were haos. They are very proud because their ancestors were haos. Haos are the only people original to Kangleipak/Manipur. Do not play the game in the name of british word "Tribal". Hating the word "Hao" will badly ruin our civilization.
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