The Human Highway with its ten thousand road maps

Provocative, wonderful-looking film trailer sent by a friend. What a gig to do! Peter Rodger’s Oh My God.

And to think, we’re all actually brothers and sisters, crazily, wildly, genetically related. It has been suggested (Michael Wood, the Story of India) that everyone in the world—first out of Africa, which is the Mother of the Mother, and look how we treat Her—can trace their lineage back to south India, where people arrived, from Africa, across the Arabian peninsula, some 70,000 or 80,000 years ago. This evidence appears via a gene called the M130, and whatever else scientists do to figure this out. Not unsurprisingly, perhaps, M130 sounds like a highway. A human highway still being constructed.

The southern state home of the M130 in India is called Kerala. And it is beautiful. People of the three major religions get along remarkably well, and the state government is the Communist Party! One sees religious symbols and sickles and hammers co-mingling all over the place. I use the term communism loosely (what is communism, anyway?), but it just goes to show you that the generalizations about these manufactured concepts of tribe and ideology and religion are sketchy at best, and limited undoubtedly. Go to your heart first, and remember…

Lots of love to you, sister and brother,

Pete

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One Response to “The Human Highway with its ten thousand road maps”

  1. Sue says:

    Hi Pete,

    I watched the trailer to the “Oh My God” movie–wow that was a powerful message right there in all of roughly 4 minutes of film! I really liked Rodger’s closing comment that he wishes some extremists would watch the movie and rethink their agendas. I think all politicians and religious leaders should also sit down and watch the movie and think about how their actions and agendas contribute to the misunderstandings, fears and conflicts that arise out of “differences”. My sense is that people generally do get along quite well, and the communal violence that ignites from time to time throughout India is sometimes incited by cynical politicians with an agenda that has nothing to do with the greatest good for everyone, as indicated in the following quote by Prof. Ananya Mukherjee Reed: “Relentless opportunism and political ambition, bolstered often by massive private wealth appears to have given rise to a multiplicity of candidates and parties who are able to cull a platform sometimes out of thin air, or even worse, by fuelling caste or ethnic conflict or abusing divisive ‘local’ issues.” Here’s the link to the full article: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13340 It’s not a pretty reality at times, but it’s there and needs to be dealt with–preferably in thoughtful, even-tempered and compassionate responses.

    My impression of northern India was similar to yours of Kerala: that people from various religious backgrounds generally do get along well with each other on a day to day basis. There are some incredible examples of this cooperation between communities that have helped to defuse the risk of communal violence (and unfortunately a few examples where discrimination against the Dalits is still stubbornly thriving) in part 2 (Manufacturing Dreams) of a four part CBC documentary called India Reborn: http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/indiareborn/ Each part is about an hour long and is well worth the time as the documentary does also does a splendid job of comparing and contrasting the realities of the 10-20% of wealthy Indians and the 80 -90% of the population that barely make ends meet.

    As I’d mentioned to you in an email, when I went to India in December, I spent my first afternoon at a peace rally (For lack of a better way to describe the event). I noted that it seemed to be equally well represented by Hindus and Muslims. (I also noticed (by their absence) that there seemed to be very little in the way of a visible security or police presence at the event–maybe it was just assumed and expected that given the nature of the gathering it wasn’t necessary.) Pro-peace groups from both backgrounds did an incredible job of clearly condemning the violence of terrorism while showing understanding and compassion for the types of social conditions/oppressions that tend to give rise to extremism. I don’t know if you’ve read any of M.G. Vassanji’s books, but two of his recent books “The Assassin’s Song” (a novel that cleverly weaves in a lot of historical and contemporary fact) and “A Place Within: Rediscovering India” touch on the issues of the communal violence that has occurred–and reoccurred– in Gujarat from the perspective of an individual whose spiritual path incorporates elements of both Hinduism and Islam (Sufism, actually), and the challenges such a position creates when the wrong kinds of passions get stirred up and create both arbitrary and artificial lines between communities.

    This has turned into a rather long response–possibly longer than the original posting! ;-)–so I had better sign off. However, this is the very long way of acknowledging that while the concepts of tribes, ideologies and religions (and any other labels/groupings used to foster divisiveness) are manufactured and arbitrary, they unfortunately do tend to take on lives and misguided passions/actions of their own under certain circumstances–often with tragic results. My wish is that we do remember we are brothers and sisters and as humans experience more commonalities than differences between us and that we use our gift for independent thought to dispel the kind of thinking and behaviour that accentuates differences and perpetuates inequalities.

    Much love and many hugs to you, your readers and everyone else in the world that could do with more loves and hugs.
    Sue

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