By Varghese Alengaden
Indore, June 8, 2020: George Floyd, 46-year-old African American, was the latest victim of racial atrocity in America. A white police officer in Minneapolis caught Floyd, locked his hands behind, pushed him on the ground and pressed his knee on his neck. It was reported that the policeman went on pressing for 8 minutes and 40 seconds.
With pain and suffocation, Floyd went on crying for life,” I can’t breathe; take your knee off my neck.” The white policeman went on pressing his knee until George Floyd became motionless. Two policemen who were watching the cruelty did not interfere. This tragedy happened on May 25.
The murder, which took place in full public view, caused the nationwide protest. Thousands of protesters poured into the streets of all cities of United States. The protests also spread to many cities in other countries in Europe, Canada and Australia as an expression of solidarity.
Thousands of protesters marched to White House which forced the security officers to shift President Donald Trump into a bunker in White House for safety. Each day protest spread to more and more cities in America.
Though racism was abolished by law many years ago a large number of white people still nurture it in their minds. Exclusion, discrimination and violence against the African Americans and outsiders are common in America and in other developed countries which had the history of the slave trade.
Millions of Africans were kidnapped and killed by the European colonizers. They had murdered 56 million indigenous people as they plundered America. The oppressed and the exploited people are shouting today, “Get your knee off our neck. We want to breathe,”
Many celebrities and writers in India protested against the murder of George Floyd in America. In our own country, several persons were brutally murdered by mob lynching in different parts of India over the last few years. The mob lynching is still common in many parts of India. Many innocent girls and women are raped and killed every day in different parts of India.
We had witnessed the biggest exodus of migrant workers after the untimely and unplanned lockdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prevent Covid 19. We had seen the poor people walking hundreds of miles to reach their homes and died of hunger and accidents due to lack of public transport. The whole nation remained indifferent with frozen conscience.
We had witnessed a massacre of millions in the name of religion from the time of partition. Murder of innocent people is taking place often in this country in the name of religion and caste. With the exception of a few activists hardly anyone speaks up. The media and the religious leaders have sold their soul either for receiving benefits from the government or avoiding trouble. We are following the tradition of Bhishma Pitamah who kept silence when Dhraupati was insulted publically. Indifference is the worst sin people, especially those in responsible positions, commit today.
The celebrities, industrialists and politicians who never uttered a word of concern when hundreds of migrant people were killed on the roads and railway tracks are eloquent in protesting when an elephant died by accident in Kerala and trying to politicize and communalize the issue.
When the whole world is attacked by pandemic Coronavirus infecting millions of people and killing thousands daily in every country, some politicians and a number of fanatics are busy spreading virus of hatred, communal polarization and indulging in racial violence.
The Church leaders in America were prophetic in speaking out against President Donald Trump for making provocative statements against protesters. They criticized him for misusing the Church for a photo session exhibiting a Bible instead of making an apology.
The leaders of all religions in India remain silent when human rights are violated, poor people suffer injustice and exploitation. Their priority is to unlock the worship places to run their business of religion.
The absence of genuine spirituality is the cause of the virus of communal polarization, hatred, racial and caste discrimination, insensitivity to the poor who are dying of starvation, millions who are deprived of their livelihood and exploitation of women.
The religions and the priestly class who are expected to educate people to practice spirituality of values to be proactive and sensitive are indulging in safeguarding the cult of religious industry. Spirituality promotes universal values of justice, peace, equality, liberty, fraternity and dignity of individual. If these values were inculcated from childhood there is no room for hatred, discrimination, exclusion, exploitation, violence and slavery.
Spirituality is the foundation of Indian Constitution. This is well expressed through the universal values enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution. The spiritual values of all sacred scriptures are included in it. Values enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution should be the content of our value education in the schools and the subject of preaching in all worship places.
The maxim, “Aham Brahmasmi” reminds us that God is dwelling in each one of us. As God is present within me He is also present in every human being irrespective of one’s color, creed, nationality, race or sex. This brings an important spiritual revelation that God is to be worshiped in flesh and blood. Every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. This realization will prevent all kinds of violence, discrimination, exploitation, rape and oppression against the other.
Religions teach people to see God in worship places and promote religious tourism. They teach human beings to worship the man-made statues, animals and birds. In their obsession to these statues and animals they fail to see the living God in human beings.
Hence they do not hesitate to murder the living God fully present in human being and rape living goddess present in women and girls. They do not realize that God has no uniform. He arrives in various forms and speaks innumerable languages. The problem is with the people who have stereotyped notions of God; they fail to recognize Him when He comes with a different face, color and sex.
Similarly, spirituality promotes pluralism; God cannot be limited to one culture, religion, color, caste, race and belief. Religion and religiosity do not promote this diversity. They promote uniformity and nurture prejudice and exclusion against all which are different from them.
Experiencing corruption, hypocrisy, complicated ritualism promoted by priests and high priests in nexus with politicians Jesus defined God in the simplest terms. He said GOD IS LOVE and true worship is expressing love for one another.
Jesus wanted His disciples to experience God in their love for fellow human beings irrespective of their caste, race, color, social status and sex. He promoted a RELIGIONLESS SPIRITUALITY which did not require priests, rituals and worship places. This is “worshiping God in truth and spirit”.
If humanity follows this religionless spirituality then they would worship God by respecting the dignity of individual, ensuring justice, equality and liberty promoting fraternity with all human beings and to the whole creation. There is no place for violence, murder, exploitation, discrimination, prejudice and greed. There will be no room for misusing religion, caste and race by middle men and contractors of religion.
Christ proved by His life that this way of life is possible; Saints and sages of all religions followed this path of spirituality. Prophetic persons like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Budha, Mahavir swamy, Kabir and many others taught their disciples to follow this path of spirituality. Politicians, priests and business people who wanted to establish their industry misused spirituality and converted it into cultic religion to supply people opium/ drug which is deadlier than the Corona virus.
Organized cultic religions have been part of mass murders, slave trade, exploitation and imperialism. They have not allowed the helpless people to breath because their “knee was on their neck”. Adopting a religionless spirituality and worship of God in love alone can stop the virus of discrimination, hatred and communal polarization and enable everyone to breathe freedom and fresh air.
All copyrights for this article are reserved to this source