Hunger of the Scarecrows

Let me also wear

Such deliberate disguises

Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves

In a field

Behaving as the wind behaves.

The above lines are from T S Eliot’s poem, ‘The Hollow Men’.  If Eliot were to write today, would his hollow men be wearing branded clothes, branded sunglasses and other paraphernalia, and riding BMWs, instead of standing in a field like a scarecrow?

The hollowness that Eliot identified in his contemporaries was an inner aridity arising out of a refusal to assert one’s freedom in any moral sense, in any spiritual sense.  There are too many such scarecrows in today’s world too.  As already implied, they wear quite different costumes.

The contemporary scarecrows have everything they want: wealth, luxury, entertainment, and a lot of gadgets. 

A couple of days back I was caught up in the usual traffic snarl on the BRT corridor between Sheikh Sarai and Chirag Delhi.  An Innova stood beside me.  The driver, the head of the family, was busy with the internet on his Blackberry.  His wife, who sat beside him, was hurriedly typing out a message on her mobile phone.  Their daughter sat in the back and was talking with someone  on her phone.  They were all trying to connect with somebody, while persons who should have mattered the most to each of them, sat just by the side!

The contemporary Eliotean scarecrows have too much of everything.  Too much luxury, too many gadgets, too many possessions… 

Yet they are not happy.  They seem to think that more of those will bring them happiness.  So they get busy with acquiring more property, more houses, more bank accounts, more vehicles, more and better gadgets…  Happiness always lies somewhere out there, somebody out there…

It’s an endless hunger, this hunger of the scarecrows.

The hollowness never gets filled.  It’s an abysmal pit of desires.

The Christians all over the world are observing this week as the Holy Week.  They sang hosanna to Jesus on the Palm Sunday (yesterday).  They will kill that god on Good Friday, before resurrecting him on Easter Sunday (next Sunday).  A lot of rituals will be performed.  The Christian priests will even wash the feet of 12 people recalling a similar incident that Jesus performed with his disciples in order to teach them the lesson of humility and attitude of service. 

Nothing in the world will actually change. 

The rituals will continue as they have always done.  With greater pomp, perhaps.

God will continue to remain nailed to a cross or locked up in the tabernacle.

Courtesy: The Frontline (6 Mar 2012)

Courtesy: The Frontline (6 Apr 2012)

Poverty, starvation, malnutrition, crimes of all hues… will go on increasing in spite of all the rituals which will also go on increasing.

Gods will continue to get palatial dwelling houses, erected on the bones of hungry masses.  

“Scratch a rock, and a god will spring,” to paraphrase Arun Kolatkar, an Indian poet.

So many gods, so many religions, so many rituals.

And yet so much misery!

That’s the mystery I’m trying to understand.

May the Holy Week bless us all with some holiness!

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15 Responses to Hunger of the Scarecrows

  1. sush says:

    though provoking yes-so many rituals, so much life seen yet so poor- no quality in the deeper inside:-)

  2. bennyec says:

    So many unexplained mysteries… So many happening….And an unresponsive man made God to all man made miseries… What do we make out of this world?..A very fundamental question… And that is also the reason for the many Gods we live with… Any way philosophies alone will not save the world from hunger. May be God has made man with this nature so that he will survive forever.. Got it?

    • matheikal says:

      No Benny, I won’t get it that way. There is no God, and I’m sure of it, though I’m ever willing to accept anybody’s god(s) for the sake of tolerance. Gods are illusions. Let Gods die so that real humanity will be born. Let Gods die so that people will spend their excess money for the poor and the miserable instead of erecting temples and churches and bombs.

      Got that?

  3. gardenerat60 says:

    Sir, these thoughts resonate in our minds too, when we encounter such scenes, be on the streets or inside a Church /Temple. You have penned them like whiplashes.

    I used to think, many Christians would be almost saints , when they hear lofty sermons throughout their lives, and so are many Hindus, who hear Kalakshepas and yagnas.

    But more and more hollow people are being churned out generation after generation, with contempt for lesser beings, contempt for simple lives.

    • matheikal says:

      Dear Gardener, I don’t think any religion will ever create saints. Saints are created by raw life. Churches, temples, mosques… have nothing to do with saints. Have you ever heard of saints created by such establishments? Saints come out of life experiences.

      • gardenerat60 says:

        Yes, I understand. It is all organised social circles.
        And that reminds me of our Thyagaraja kriti” Yendaro mahanubhavulu”.
        When I encounter living saints, living only by example, I think of that,and salute them.

  4. Anirudh Kashyap says:

    I totally agree SIR….

  5. anatreek says:

    So many religions, so many rituals, yet so much misery! so true, and it surely is a mystery..wonderfully written..

  6. Jen says:

    Rituals are an integral part of the system! But it is the essence of spiritualism that is not being met. Pity.

    • matheikal says:

      If religion really helps to reach higher levels of spirituality, no one would dare raise a finger against it! You are right, we are now content with rituals!

  7. I am regular at your blog … each of your post has left a lasting impression on me but this one picture and the honesty in this post really made me write to you .. I wish everyone out there thinks like you do.. The world would be such a better place …

    Could I with your permission share it on twitter ?

    • matheikal says:

      Thanks, Sangeeta, for the nice sentiments.

      I give you unconditional ‘permission’ to share any blog of mine anywhere. All public writing is meant to be shared, isn’t it?

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