Sunday, June 08, 2008

Giving a god the business

The Sardar Bhagat Singh College, a business school in Lucknow, India, has named Lord Hanuman, the popular monkey god as its new chairman.
Lord Hanuman ... has an air conditioned chamber that is equipped with plush furniture, including a swivel chair that has a framed photo of Lord Hanuman on it, and a computer.

"Whenever, there is a problem with any decision, we simply place the file on Hanuman ji's table and leave it there for some time. The decision becomes easy and the hurdles are also removed," says Vivek Tangri. The college management now plans to build a temple for Lord Hanuman on the campus and chairman's chamber will then be shifted to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

The students at the institute, meanwhile, are thrilled with Lord Hanuman as their chairman. "The institute is now like a temple and we need not visit Hanuman temples in the city. When we are in classes, we feel that we have the blessings of Lord Hanuman all the time. Our careers will now be taken care of by him," says Gaurav Kapoor, a first year student.

I think a lot of people will file this under "wacky superstitious foreigners," but they should pause before feeling too superior. In 2006 the far right Law and Justice Party and the League of Polish Families introduced a bill in the Polish parliament to turn the country back into a monarchy with Jesus Christ as the king. Not good enough? Even though they're white and Christian, to many Poland is far enough away that they can still be dismissed as wacky superstitious foreigners too. A lot of American evangelicals would have loved to have had the political pull to do that in the US. Google the phrase, "We have no king but King Jesus." It's a favorite of he American religious right. In this country we have a political faction that believes we should be ruled by laws supposed given by a sky god to a tribe of desert nomads three thousand years ago. They might not give their god an air conditioned office, but aside from hat are they really that different?

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