Two bloggers psychoanalyze a Sikh religious body which lobbied against Jo Bole So Nihaal. But their analysis also applies to the rise of virtually all lobbying groups. Mass outrage focused through the lens of a group wields power like a typhoon. Eventually the middlemen siphon off funding for themselves, and the groups self-perpetuate with or without legitimate grievances.
This is not the first time that religious loons have objected to titles and sequences of movies. The song “Mustafa Mustafa” from “Aatish” which had Raveena and Karishma cavorting in revealing attire had to be changed to “Dilruba Dilruba” following protests from Muslims. Mani Ratnam had a bomb thrown at him for having a Bal Thackeray-lookalike in Bombay.
Usually these things are solved by the producer/director going to one of the self-styled defenders of morality and making some discreet payoffs euphemistically called “seeking blessings/clearing misunderstandings”. The morality police get their dues, the producers get the free publicity and everyone is happy…
… money had exchanged hands, sins had been expiated, everything was right with the world. And yet people wind up dead. What the hell happened?
… Until yesterday, the invocation of “blasphemy” seemed pretty laughable… The SGPC seems increasingly like an organization desperate for direction, now that their established enemies — the Congress Party, the Nehru family, the Indian Army’s counter-terrorist measures in Punjab — have either dwindled or transformed. In an era when the Prime Minister is himself a practicing, if secular, Sikh, Sikh organizations in India can no longer claim exclusion or discrimination. They have as a result chosen to mimic the world-wide rhetoric of religious outrage, exemplified in India by the RSS and by conservative Muslim groups. The rhetoric of outrage is, it seems, the primary way in which religious leaders — around the world, and in every major religious community — attempt to make themselves relevant to modernity.
… the bombing will appear to many followers and potential followers as hard evidence of the influence and strength of the SGPC. Terrorism works. Insofar as no one can publicly challenge the drift towards fundamentalism amongst — seemingly — the leadership of all the major religious groups, we are in for more misdirected outrage, more censorship, and yes, more religious violence. It is the surest way to political power.
This blog also amplifies outrage on specific issues, and Razib argues against ethnic organizations because of the potential for abuse. Yet power and human scale are just tools, and like most tools they’re morally neutral. The question is whether the goals are just, the leaders are ethical and the checks and balances are well-designed.
Amardeep, Razib and fiscal conservatives point out the termination problem: people usually create organizations with specific missions out of burning need, but they also need to gift them with conditions for disbanding. Playing Cassandra is difficult, but at a bare minimum, ‘when the mission has been accomplished’ or ‘when the need has passed’ should suffice.
Previous post here.