Ghalib / 12.10.2008

Religion was supposed to fade away in the 1960s and yet religion, radical religion, is all around us now. The fading away of religion did not take us to a more humane society and the return of religion does not seem to be doing any better. Let us turn to Ghalib for guidance: hai pare sarhad-e idraak se apnaa masjuud qible ko ahl-e nazar qiblah-numaa kahte haiN beyond the limit of the senses is the object of our worship people of vision call the Qiblah, the ‘Qiblah-pointer’ At the very least, Ghalib is saying that we should not take the rituals of religion too literally. We should look beyond the rituals and try and envision the real purpose of worship. What should the act of worship be pointing us towards? Is it an end in itself or a means to an end? If the latter, what exactly is the end? Should...