Monday, 6 April 2020

Divine Deficiency

Updated: January 7, 2012 3:24 pm

India That Is Bharat

Satiricus is an English-language journalist. So it goes without saying that he does not know the English language. But does even God know English? Satiricus doubts. For it has been recently revealed that he may not, at least not the English in which English-speaking Catholics used to pray to him so long. This ignorance on God’s part is naturally regrettable, so in order to make up for this divine deficiency Roman Catholics who pray in English have been directed to do so in a “new language”. Accordingly, they now say their Mass in a new English translation that is closer to the Latin version. For instance, while making their ritual confession they have stopped saying “I have sinned through my own fault” ; they now just say, “I have greatly sinned.”

Now, isn’t that greatly and grammatically convenient? For from now on the sinner may at the most admit he sinned greatly, but he does not have to admit that it was “through his own fault”. Actually that may well leave God wondering whose fault it was. So much the worse for God!

Anyway, this “sin verses syntax” business apart, it is said that the aim of the change is to make the English-language prayer more faithful to the original Latin. But is the Latin version the original? This non-Christian ignoramus does not know. And to make the confusion in his head worse confounded, the dons of the dictionary tell him that there are as many as five varieties of Latin, including what is called Ecclesiastical Latin, that is, the Latin meant exclusively for religious purposes, but the Latin language comprising all these varieties is about 1500 years old. Then what about the previous five centuries of Christianity? Christ himself did not know Latin, because it was just not there; he spoke Aramaic.

What is worse, if history books are to be believed (depending on whether or not they serve the secular truth), the history of the origin of Latin is itself horridly Hindu enough to be abominably anti-Christian. For according to ancient history, Asia Minor was once a conglomerate of Vedic civilizations. Among them was the empire of a people called the Hittites, who spoke a Sanskritic language and worshipped Vedic Gods. After the break-up of their empire they migrated to the Etruria region of Italy, and from there to another region called Latium, where, over the centuries, they evolved the Latin language.

All this is terrible. Satiricus hopes to God that the Christian God understands Latin without bothering to know its Sanskrit origin. And if, as it is hoped, it would be easier for God to understand a better English translation of Latin, Satiricus hopes he consults a certain minister of Britain’s English-speaking government for a still better understanding of the sins of English-speaking Christians that he is required to forgive. This minister, a frightfully finicky female by name Justine Greening, has circulated among her babus a 1500-word manual on letter-writing. In it she warns—“Do not put in too many adverbs; for example, avoid phrases like ‘strongly opposed’, just say ‘opposed’.” (Mr. God, please note : Even ‘greatly’ sinned would be officially unacceptable.) Among other delightfully (or disgustingly) detailed instructions she has also instructed—do not (not ‘don’t’) use “firstly” (even when the Oxford dons have specifically mentioned it as lexicographically legitimate). Oh well, perhaps the English God did not go to Oxford university. All in all, it seems to Satiricus that it would not be enough for the Roman Catholic God to have a faithful translation of Latin for forgiving the faithfuls’ unfaithful acts; he would still need a still simpler translation of the present English translation. The bottom line: The Christian God would forgive a sinner provided he could understand what the sinner is saying.

Artificial Or Natural?

God works in wondrous ways, Satiricus is told. So does science, it seems to him. For an “automatic ass” is surely coming. How else can Satiricus explain the recent report that our Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is not only working on a robotic mule that could replace a real one used by soldiers in hilly areas, but is even designing robot soldiers that can work like human soldiers? So, if a mechanical mule comes, can an automatic ass be far behind? And once there is an automatic ass, how long before there is an automatic Satiricus? And when that happens, will not the editor replace the real Satiricus with a virtually real one for this column? Oh, well, Satiricus’s friends assure him that he need not worry. They say the editor is smart enough not to bother with DRDO’s artificial ass when he has a natural one at his disposal. Simple Satiricus is not sure what exactly they mean by that obtuse observation, but he darkly suspects it may be something not very complimentary.

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