Monday, April 01, 2013

Does he know a mother's heart - Arun Shourie

Can't say I liked it, inspite of the fact that its sub - title ( how suffering refutes religions), should appeal to my atheistic views.

The book cover shows a family photograph of Shourie, his wife and their son, with the couple pointing towards the camera, and looking straight at it, obviously urging their son to do likewise. One can't say whether Aditya with his cerebral palsy is really looking at the camera or not. The slim first chapter of the book is an emotional autobiographical summary of Shourie's life before and with Aditya.

Then the majority of the book turns towards religions. Christianity is torn apart, with its rather egotistical , chauvinistic and unforgiving god, not to mention the inherent contradiction I'd caught even as a 11 year old kid, wondering why we were supposed to hate Judas, when God had already decided that Judas was the chosen one to do the betraying. It was like a play, with an already written script, and we were just acting out the lines. There's no free will anyway , right? Why the vilification then ? Islam with its shared texts  of course fares no better. Then Shourie trains his guns on Gandhiji's superstitious statements about the earthquakes. A major chunk then goes into quoting and ripping apart hinduism's wishy washy - the world is an illusion, but wait no, karma is real silliness. And of course the free will debate - Not a leave moves..

All pretty much common sense stuff, organised religion seldom makes sense on critical analysis anyway. Whether it is still a useful crutch, is perhaps a harder question to answer. Shourie does leave quotes which suggest that it is useful to some people, even though his own conclusions are to the contrary. The central question of course remains unanswered convincingly by any of the religious texts - Why the suffereing ?

Overall the book is far too long, plodding and repetitive, and I honestly had no patience left to read the last few chapters, which I just skimmed through.

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