Surya TV [the Malayalam channel of Sun TV] reported yesterday [19 March, Saturday] that in a particular school in Kerala a student was allowed by the State government machinery to write his Board exams from 7 in the evening to 10 in the night. All arrangements were made to let the student write his exam in that duration. Quite many officials like the exam supervisor, invigilator, office assistant, and so on were kept engaged for the sake of just one student.
Why did this happen? The student belongs to a particular Christian sect called Seventh Day Adventists. This sect believes that the Bible is literally true and according to the Biblical version, God created the universe and other things in it in 6 days and took rest on the seventh day. Therefore it is the believers’ duty to take rest on Saturdays. The student cannot write an exam on a Saturday. The authorities concerned bent their knees before yet another capricious god!
The Surya report showed how the boy was sitting all alone in a room and writing his exam. The report also said that the boy had been kept in a room in the school right from one o’clock in the afternoon lest he would get hold of the question paper since the exam had been over for other students in the morning. The Surya reporter also suggested that it was yet another example of “vote bank politics” trying to appease another minority community.
I’ll come back to the question of minority appeasement a little later.
How can any intelligent group of people ever think that the Biblical account of the creation is meant to be taken literally? Most Biblical scholars agree that the first eleven chapter of Genesis [the first book of the Bible] are merely a mythical account and hence not to be taken literally. At any rate, it would be silly to imagine God as a person who works and rests like normal human beings. Next what, will people like the Adventists in Kerala be searching for God’s toilet in the heavens?
The incident shows how stupid some [perhaps, most] people are. They imagine god to be just like themselves. They fail to see the vastness of eternity, the depth of infinity, and the profundity of the spiritual. They reduce everything into the miniature so that everything fits the tiny structures of their own minuscule intellects. If there indeed is a god, he/she/it will die laughing, as Nietzsche said, seeing man’s stupidity.
Another question that the Adventists should answer is: how will they justify the inconveniences caused to so many others, the exam officials, on account of just one student? Is their religion as egotistic as their god [or their conception of god]? Or are the Adventists trying to draw the attention of the general public to their diminutive sect?
The Adventists are not a community of any significant population in Kerala. So they will only be happy to get some media attention which may bring some popularity and concomitant benefits.
Now, coming to the minority appeasement alleged by the Surya reporter, it must, first of all, be said that Surya is the first, and perhaps the only, channel in Kerala to highlight any small but negative event related to Christian sects in the states. Perhaps, Surya has some ulterior motive in doing it. My question to the reporter, however, is: why does he/she think of this as a case of minority appeasement for “gaining votes”? Minority appeasement, it can be, or we can at least assume it to be. But vote bank politics? How many votes are there to be got from the Seventh Day Adventists in Kerala? How many Adventists are there in the whole of Kerala? Perhaps, the Surya reporter should conduct a study into that?
It is not vote bank politics. It is downright silliness. Downright silliness on the part of certain people [here, the Adventists] who squeeze God to fit in their tiny brains, and downright silliness on the part of politicians or other authorities who fail to understand the meaning of secularism in our country.