Monday, May 21, 2007

Sikhs and Cicadas

Two news items caught my interest this morning.

One pertained to the brouhaha over Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim who leads a spiritual organization called Sacha Sauda(henceforth referred to as SS), which runs campuses called 'deras'. The organization has over 2.5 crore followers, several hundred acres of land (also used for agricultural purposes), runs charity institutions like colleges, schools and hostels and propounds a way of life that includes a certain form of yoga to be practised for a healthy life. However, SS has had a chequered past, with sexual scandals, murders and land cases tainting its reputation. SS is also supposed to have political connections with Hindu parties (translates to non-Sikh parties)

But the current controversy has nothing to do with SS's way of life, court cases or murder; it is to do with a dress worn by the leader on some occasion. Huzoor Maharaj Sant Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh Ji (as he is referred to by his followers) wore a dress that resembled closely the dress of Guru Gobind Singh, the last guru of Sikhs, which really hurt the sentiments of Sikhs. This resulted in angry protests, a 'hukumnama' (edict given by the temporal body of Sikhs, the Akal Takht) that all deras (in various places) were to be forcefully evicted immediately. Some right wing radical factions of Sikhs even broached the idea of sending suicide squads to various Sacha Sauda deras.

So SS retaliated by deciding to hold blood camps on the same day (today) in its campuses.

Counter again.

My opinion is this - at the end of the day its a garment. Did Mahatma Gandhi not ape Christ's last loin cloth? SS as a sect is non-violent. It doesn't advocate any negative philosophy either. Nor is it prejudiced against a race, caste, community, religion, country or social practice. If the leader preaches a philosophy similar to Guru Gobind's, so be it. Plagiarism is the best form of Flattery! By extension, SS followers are a quasi-Sikh community. Why not allow them their path to the Big One? Everybody has their way to God, hope, the Supreme, a super being, faith, fate, the Big Man with a Pipe, destiny, or whatever you wish to call the Un-named force. Restrictions are unnecessary and cause sectarianism.

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or out"
- Robert Frost, 'Mending Wall'

The other article I read was certainly lighter (though personally scarier). Not hundreds, not thousands, not even millions, but BILLIONS of cicadas are expected to make their way into Middle Earth from underground this June across northern Illinois, parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. The monsters are red-eyed (yup, grandma always maintained horror creatures were red-eyed) and the size that scares me most... shrimp-sized. Fortunately, they do not sting or bite. But billions?

Their mating calls (chirping? More like mini wood saws!) are expected to drown most other sounds, including television and telephones. Dogs, cats and other insect-lovers can have a feast though, these cicadas are supposed to be high in protein. (yikes!) I believe they surface once every 17 years or so. They live underground (about a metre or so below surface), go through six life stages and in the sixth stage burrow a tunnel to the top soil. They wait for good climate (17 deg C) and then emerge like superstars. They then quickly molt and start mating. They are called 'nymphs' at the 'emerge-from-the-ground' stage. Then they turn 'maniacs'. (Yeah, used in conjunction with the 'nymphs'!)

They mate like crazy. In fact that is ALL they do for the next 30 days, the last 30 glorious days of their life, one super orgy(yeah, baby!). The males then drop dead from exertion. The females lay the eggs and die too. The babies once born just burrow into the earth for the next 16 years of hibernation, awaiting their prom-orgy!

Lots to learn from the cicadas... just love and make love. Why fight over clothes and the lot? Life is short. Chill, chill, just chill!

ps: All views are solely mine. And are not intended to make fun of or hurt the sentiments of anyone.


  1. Eeeewwww!!! Shrimp-sized red-eyed creatures?!!! I do not want to be anywhere near them at that time!! Heheeh.. orgy's right!

    On a serious note, I wonder why people get hurt so easily with little things like clothes etc... what a nuisance! I'm not sure what they want to achieve from creating a stir... was there something really offensive about the dress?! Goodness... Anyways, extremists are becoming a more common feature in India nowadays, which is scary..

  2. Awsm! Thats a really interesting cicadas news item... you live you learn I guess!

    About the other article, I too don't understand why people waste so much time and energy on making issues out of non-issues! I wish they'd spent all that manpower in tackling the more critical problems plaguing India!

  3. wow!! just gotta tell you i love your writing..soo much so that im gonna read all the other stuff now... first up i shamelessly admit that while being here and reading about the whole sikh tension situation, i never really went into what happened beyond the "some leader guy impersonated guru gobind ji" and i think that there is the problem...we (and especially the hot headed religious ones) love flying off the handle without ever thinking of the bigger picture...

    about the bug thing - thats just gross...its the stuff of horror movies and nightmares (the thought of being surrounded by those things) but on the other hand, is it wrong to be inspired by their life? i mean you live underground (which we all are if you think about it) then emerge and copulate like bunnies, or like cicadas (that'll be my new favourite phrase) and then die! thats perfect, no raising kids, earning a living, putting my 100 grubs through college and the lot! awesome (side note: i just realised im gonna need some councilling before i become a dad!)

  4. ~ Ruchika: Brood (some other number) shall hit East Coast in a few years. So watch out! :)

    ~ Nutty: I agree. The Arunachal Pradesh IAS officer barely found a mention on Page1 in Bombay. Now, THAT is an issue!

    ~I'll Have Another One: Thanx hon! Your comment made my day :) 'Copulating like cicadas'? LOL! Cool.