In a recent panel discussion that revolved around the ‘commodification’ of women in visual communication the Chief Guest(a well known editor) remarked,“On behalf of everyone here, I have 2 words for the religious and spiritual leaders of today-SHUT UP! You can talk all you want about ‘atman’ and ‘bramhan’ but don’t tell us about our culture, history or how we treated women well, sati savitri and so on..”So here’s my take-
This advice is obviously misplaced.
Mr Journalist seems to have forgotten that this country has a strong religious sentiment. Religious leaders are capable of giving a new orientation to this religious sentiment.
If he is not aware that religion is a big power in the world, he is mistaken.. And unfortunately inexperienced.
The United Nations has recently included faith based initiatives in their programme.
They wanted religious leaders to come out of their barriers and take up projects related to HIV,AIDs and female foeticide.
Why do you think they were involved? It is because the masses listen to these representatives.They have an impact through their large followings and are the most effective to drive a cause!
Pitfalls have been recorded in every line.
Do we stop going to doctors, because of one medical scandal?
Do we stop hiring lawyers, because some of them lie?
Do we stop reading newspapers, because one journo is biased?:-)
Then why paint all spiritual and religious leaders with the same brush?
There is nothing wrong in talking about our culture. When you know that you come from a tradition that is based on the values of love, care, dignity and respect it makes you believe that you can build and live in a safe, happy society.
It is like telling a policeman, stop catching thieves.
Or telling a postman, stop delivering letters.
It is the job of spiritual and religious leaders to remind people the glory of the past-to inspire them and give hope for the future
Not just talk about bliss, but give practical advice that can be put to use in varied lifestyles.
They serve as an emotional and spiritual strength to the masses to face challenges that come their way.
I think these leaders should do just the opposite of what you stated-
They should not keep quiet.Their voices must be LOUDER and CLEARER!
They should address contemporary issues even more frequently.. because when they speak, it echos in the hearts of millions.
P.S. Do give us the chance to think for ourselves. It’s time to mature from being a ‘Generalist’ to a ‘Journalist’