Lord Ganesha’s Beer Belly.

DISCLAIMER:  If you’re a heart patient, pregnant or go into orgasmic ecstasy whenever the atmosphere reverbates with the chants of ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, then you better stop reading now and rush over to the nearest Iskcon temple and ask forgiveness for my sins…

1914 was the year, when Indian population finally crossed the all important mark of 330 million. Finally the per capita consumption of Gods had come down to below 1 per individual human. Imagine the confusion our ancestors faced prior to the 20th century,when the number of divine entities (330 MM) was even greater than humans residing in India.

If you go through its maze-like history, Hinduism has been actually collated over a period of time from the rituals, beliefs, traditions and scriptures which all started with the Vedas(1700 BC) around the ‘Sindhu’ river. I won’t go into the details here as this is not supposed to be a scholastic thesis but rather an atheist kid’s views on the religion he was born and brought up into.


Let’s first look at all the positives the Hindu religion has provided to a country reeling under alternate centuries of oppression, depression and sexual repression.

1) Harmony with other beings:–  Both living and non-living beings have been given a lot of footage across the tome of religious texts. Animals for instance, including even rodents and reptiles have always been given a special deal. Consider the fact that Vishnu has a snake (Shesh Naag) as his sofa-cum-bed, who gets to re-incarnate in the form of a brother to his master (Balram-Krishna)…Infact the snake has also got an entire festival to itself in the form of Naag Panchami. The rat is another animal who has been given super-strength to be able to carry the entire weight of Ganesha on its tiny little back and also get to be his friend, philosopher and driver, all rolled into one.

Even non-living beings get to play Gods, and the best part is they can have offsprings in conjunction with humans (sometimes even without indulging in any sort of hanky-panky stuff). Karna was born out of the pre-marital affair of Sun and a human lady by the name of Kunti. Similarly, you have quite a few other inanimate Gods, whom we otherwise know in our daily lives as Fire, wind, etc.

2) Boyhood fantasies: While the west started off the concept of superheroes through the advent of DC & Marvel comics in the 20th century, we already had a plethora of desi studs 4000 years, beforehand. Infact Superman, with due respect is just another wannabe Hanuman (the one who actually carried an entire mountain and flew over oceans without any wings or RedBull to help him out). There are heroes who cater to every age group and as I started growing up, I took a liking for Krishna whose charming skills made girls go week in their knees. The epithets – tall, dark and handsome were inspired from this thug who regularly stole butter as well as the hearts of females aplenty. Well he even was a glib orator who managed to narrate an entire 1000-odd page thesis on Karma vs Dharma, to his dear friend Arjuna, right in the middle of a frigging war!

3) Entertainment: With so much of congenital competition, Indians are the hardest working race in all of mankind, with hardly any time accorded to concepts like daily relaxation and hobbies… This is where Hinduism fills in a huge void. It gives access to a fantastic array of holidays to chose from and with atleast 2-3 every month, you have a year filled with great festivals ranging from Holi, Diwali, Gokulashtami, etc. All these festivals also have a sub-text, a secondary role to fulfill (Eg:- Navratri gives young puberty-hit Indians their first introduction to the world of condoms)

4) Inhuman Creativity:-  Unfortunately, as humans we have access to very limited number of limbs and a 3-dimensional space to move them around. But this religion throws up a completely new dimension with some unbelievable visual imagery. Imagine, the dozens of hands which jut out of Durga or the infamous third eye which pops out of an angry Shiva who starts dancing at the drop of a coin. He struts around with a fashionable snake as his necklace and drinks pints of poison as if it’s fresh juice squeezed out of ripe oranges. And beat this, an entire river flows out of his mane of bedraggled hair – if this ain’t creative imagination, what is? For that matter, even the anti-Gods like Ravana were given access to 10 heads to ensure a healthy fight and not a lop-sided boring battle.

5) Solace:- Till the time, literacy doesn’t cover up the entire country and urbanization crosses a certain threshold, people will continue to need some ideals, as well as idols to follow.  Also, in a country where you might get killed any random day by a bomb blast if not by the horns of a mad cow running on the streets, you need a solace of some kind, which definitely the concept of re-birth can provide.


1) Outdated:- End of the day, Hinduism is just a potpourri of so many complex and funny ideas that modern humans still follow, preach and justify them beats all logic. Science in pre-historic times was so nascent that it made absolute sense to worship the ball of fire called sun and it’s seemingly related cousin, fire…But then shouldn’t you edit/revise your scriptures with time as you do with your latest electro-communication manuals? Why can’t a group of say 100 Ph.D students sit down and create Upanishadas 2.0?

2) Mythical:- Ramanayana, Mahabharata and their mythical offshoots have left behind a strange legacy. In a lot of villages, till date people feel the spark-inducing arrows which Rama and Ravana exchange in Ramanand Sagar’s serial has happened in reality somewhere. Or for that matter hybrids of humans and animals do existed (Ganpati with the elephant snout or Hanuman with the monkey tail)! Mr. Valmiki, Vyasa & co – please have a look at the mayhem and mania, you have unleashed.

3) Power Struggle:- The caste system is an off-shoot of Hinduism and what a marvelous piece of work to ensure that the power stays in the hands of a few with either the pen(Brahmins), the sword(Kshatriyas) or the money (Vaishyas)…Labour (Shudras) is easily relegated to the category of the lesser soul for a lifetime of generations.

4) Dwindling popularity:- One fine day, Hinduism will sort of dwindle since it’s nearly a one-country belief without a singular, simple book to preach and spread around.

5) Fanaticism:-  So it has finally raised it’s ugly head being heckled by religious parties, wanting to ensure that the secularistic fabric of the country is dyed in a deep shade of saffron.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve finally made peace with the ganja-selling sadhus on the banks of the ganges. They can enjoy their tantric mindset and I can enjoy the coolness of Ganpati as a model aspiration to eat, drink and be merry in an age where even Gods strut around with 8-pack abs!