INDIA THAT IS BHARAT
SECULAR Satiricus was not a little surprised to read the other day in the New York Times an article on how more and more Americans are becoming more and more zealous Christians—in name. It began with how a couple wanted to name their baby ‘Messiah’, but was prevented by a judge on the ground that “the word ‘messiah’ is a title, and it is a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person was Jesus Christ.” Another couple was prevented from changing their surname to ‘ChristIsKing’ or ‘JesusIsLord’. But is such lowly legality preventing Americans from rejoicing in their (nominal) religiosity? Apparently not. For according to available divine data there were 762 American baby boys given the name ‘Messiah’, and, way ahead of Messiah, 3758 American babies given the name ‘Jesus’.
Well, now, what do you know? Even this Hindu ignoramus knows that Messiah means Saviour or Liberator, and, as the dictionary adds, “Christ regarded as this”. But the incurably curious cuss that he is, Satiricus wonders: Was Jesus Christ the Saviour because he saved himself from being crucified? In fact, taking his curiosity to the level of pernicious profanity, Satiricus wonders: Who really died on the cross? Empires are obsessive about keeping records, then how come Pontius Pilate, Roman prefect of the province of Judea, crucified the Son of God, no less, but left no record of the event? Surely the Roman empire was not the same as the Roman Catholic empire of India, where files and records can go conveniently missing!
So Satiricus delved into the details of history—and what did he find? He found that the devil is in the detail. Pilate had offered to pardon one of two convicts, the Messiah and a thief or robber by name Barabbas, in accordance with a tradition of clemency. The Gospel of Matthew refers to Barabbas as a “notorious prisoner”, while the gospels of Mark, Luke and John suggest that he was a rebel who had taken part in an uprising against Roman rule, which sounds suspiciously like a freedom-fighter. Pilate asked the assembled crowd to choose, and, say the gospels, the Jews instigated it to vote against Jesus, letting Barabbas off. This is what happened, says Bible as history. Simple as that, no? No, actually it gets more and more complicated for this non-Christian nitwit. For he finds that the name ‘Barabbas’ is actually ‘Bar Abbas’ in Aramaic, the language in which Jesus preached, and it means “the Son of the Father”. That sounds eerily like the Messiah’s description of himself. And as if this is not enough confusion worse confounded in Satiricus’s so-called brain, while the first name of Barabbas is not mentioned in the Bible proper, it is found in the apocryphal part of it, and what is that name? It is Jesus!
Oh my God in Heaven! This makes Christianity, the religion of Jesus Christ, all the more complex for this Hindu simpleton’s underdeveloped understanding. For it means what Pilate was offering to the crowd was an impossible choice—between Jesus the Son of the Father, and Jesus the Messiah, Son of the Father. Then was there really only one man in Pilate’s court when he washed his hands? Satiricus does not know, and he doubts if Christians do. What, however, Satiricus does know is that ‘apocryphal’ means imaginary. Then does that mean the whole Jesus story is just that—an imaginary story? Again, Satiricus does not know. But apparently a certain Pope of historical times did know. For he is on record as saying : “Jesus Christ is a lie, but it is a useful lie.” Amen!
Sad, sorrowful Satiricus’s sympathies are with the Prime Minister. Opposing the opposition MPs’ attack on him the other day he rightly and righteously retorted—“No other country has MPs shouting “PM Chor Hai in Parliament.” Certainly not. Not even in Australia. Australia MPs are known to describe the treasury benches as a gang of “crims” (short for ‘criminals’), but when they say so, they just say it, they don’t shout it, do they? And why not? Obviously because Australian opposition MPs are more civilised than Indian opposition MPs. So in the considered opinion of civilized Satiricus our opposition MPs should not have shouted PM Chor Hai, they should have politely, simply and softly stated PM Chor Hai. And in any case what is so objectionably unparliamentary in calling the PM a ‘Chor’ in a parliament in which 162 MPs have 522 criminal cases filed against them—13 for kidnapping, 20 for attempted murder, and 14 for committed murder? Why, even Satiricus would like to be a Chor PM who is neither a murderer nor even a kidnapper.