Surely you've heard about the controversy surrounding the two rupee coin. No, I don't mean the controversy that since it resembles the 1 rupee coin so much in shape, the blind may not be able to figure out the difference. Such details are piffling - we must concern ourselves with something of far greater impoartance, namely the communal agenda that the Congress is apparently pursuing. Yes, a communal agenda through a goddamn metal coin. As the great philosopher of Bollywood, Anand Raj Anand, once sang - "It happens only in India".
So, one gentleman found that the new coin resembles the coin issued by St Louis the Pious in the Ninth century - cross with four dots et al. He wrote an article expressing his views. The article included this little gem
It’s the ruling Congress which is pursuing communal agenda in virtually every sphere, from social, political, economic, military to now in national currency.
Our blogger no. 1 posted something about the silliness of such claims. He was taken to task by another blogger, who accused him of being politically correct, and a heated discussion ensued in the comments section. So when I stumbled upon this controversy, I decided to finally take a closer look at the damn coin.
I could see no cross. I saw two parallel lines close by, intersected at a 90 degree angle by two other close parallel lines. Sure, the cross looks something like that too. However, I know of only two crosses that are exactly the same on all four sides (i.e., they do not have an extended leg section) - the Maltese cross, and the aforementioned St Louis the Pious cross. Both of these crosses, like other crosses, have closed ends on the four sides, and the ends bulge a little. The motif on our coin has no such ends. My engineer mind saw a figure that was symmetrical with an angle of symmetry as 90 degrees. My I've-been-reading-too-much-postmodernist-feminist-crap-these-days-and-I-want-to-be-funny-about-it mind saw four phalluses about to penetrate a centre. (You do know that any linear/cylindrical structure is a phallus right? If you don't, shame on you. You are a stooge of the patriarchy) My Hindu mind saw four dots and was reminded of the Swastika.
Now, as I see it, the opposition to the "communal nature" of the coin has only two arguments.
1. The coin is indeed communal - For this to be true, one would have to assume that the RBI has absolutely sold out to the government, the government has absolutely sold out to Sonia Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi is a fanatically zealot christian. One would also have to assume that such a motif could actually enable conversions or truly offend another religion. In my book, that's one assumption too many.
2. The coin may not be part of a communal agenda, but a secular country has no business involving itself with a religious motif. To which I say, I see no damn religious motifs. I was not even aware of a cross with four dots before this but I was aware of the Swastika. Hence, I saw the dots as the Swastika dots. I could see pure geometrical figures. With some imagination I could also see four roads and a cross-road, and like I've mentioned before, four penises. But a christian cross, not really. Not unless we assume that every figure with a line intersected at the centre by another perpendicular line is a christian cross.
I could have tried to explain points 1 and 2 above to those worthies debating the communal agenda of the cross. I could have explained how perceptions colour observations, how motifs and symbols are largely in the mind, how one sees what one wants to see. But that seemed too boring, not to mention futile. Hence, I wrote this -
The four dots on the four sides of the cross suggest something else to me - I see the Shubh-Labh swastika dots. I also see four phallic structures, all heading towards a common centre that is about to be penetrated against its own will. Clearly, this cross is the evil design of the Hindu patriarchy.
The responses were brilliant. The only guy who seemed to get the joke replied with a brilliant post about how it was the evil design of patriarchy, but the Muslim one and not the Hindu one. Others concluded that I was a "typical wannabe contrarian bong" and someone who has 'learnt Hinduism from American Indologists" and hence "holds his penis when he crosses a temple". One sentence revealed more about the prejudices of these guys than hours of debating would have, and how much they actually knew about India and Hinduism was unnravelled beautifully. I was mighty pleased.
And so, in the spirit of conspiracy theories, I decided to do a little more pattern finding. I had another epiphany. Dear readers, I hereby announce that mathematics is a christian conspiracy. As Nilu would say - think deeply.
Random Wow : Speaking of foreign Indologists, there's only one I would recommend. Anyone with the least bit of interest in ancient Indian history as told from an unbiased, non-patronising, wonder-eyed, yet rational, objective and scientific perspective would get hold of A L Basham's magnum opus 'The Wonder That Was India' and read every word of it.