India Uncut

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

A search for causes

Every natural tragedy is a chance to push your ideological agenda, and this tsunami has been no different.

First, we had Rajeev Srinivasan wondering if the tsunami was “a caveat from Up There about the atrocities being visited on the Kanchi Acharya? About adharma gaining ground?” Then, we had Harkishen Singh Surjeet saying that the tsunami was “the culmination of a legacy of hate and destruction that we, the Indian people, unitedly and finally overcame in the political sphere in 2004.” Vinod Mehta wondered, “Can we blame it on George Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto accords?” And in various message boards across the net I saw claims that this was payback for 9/11, God’s message to unbelievers, a prelude to the coming armageddon, and so on.

I was wondering where India’s astrologers were, and that sorry bunch has now entered the discourse. The Press Trust of India quotes a “noted astrologer” named Chander Shekhar as saying: “While Venus is a planet of love and its transit was bound to increase love and affection between people, Saturn is essentially destructive in nature. The astrologers knew that tsunami and legal action against Sankaracharya were due to the coming of Saturn. But fearing legal action, no one spoke about it.”

I am now wondering what explanation I should come up with. What about this one: “The tsunami occurred because two tectonic plates happened to move against each other, causing an earthquake that caused the tsunami.” Nah, I’d just be accused of pushing the rationalistic agenda. Biased me.

(Surjeet link via Varnam.)

Update: The madness continues. Mid Day asks six priests representing different beliefs why they think the tsunami happened, and the majority view is that it was a man-made disaster. One of them says, "Man has always tried to conquer and tamper with nature. Take Cuffe Parade, for instance. Have we not reclaimed land that we live on, there? Have we not encroached upon the sea? The sea, the earth, will now encroach upon us."

Another pipes in, "If we notice, these calamities have struck after Christmas and just around the New Year when people indulge in drinking the most. According to newspaper reports, there were 20,000 prostitutes on one of the beaches where the tsunami struck."

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