Why do religious teachers stereotype people as when they pronounce all Pakistanis as cheaters? (PK QA 3)

by January 11, 2015

Such stereotyping is definitely undesirable, but then why does PK stereotype all religious teachers by depicting them in just one color – black. If there are shades among Pakistanis, aren’t there shades among religious teachers? The popular media frequently portrays religious teachers as manipulators and mercenaries out to profit from people’s faith and fear. And PK by depicting only that kind of religious teachers simply perpetuates that stereotype. If stereotyping all Pakistanis as cheaters is simplistic and misleading, then isn’t stereotyping all religious teachers as cheaters also simplistic and misleading?

Someone might argue, “But those are the kind of religious teachers who are most popular and influential. So it’s only right and educational that PK depicts them.”

Won’t that argument apply to Pakistanis too? The common Pakistani people may not have any strong anti-India prejudice, but they don’t determine Pakistan’s policies towards India. Those policies are determined by Pakistan’s political and martial leaders – both of whom usually find it convenient to keep anti-India sentiments high among Pakistanis because blaming India for Pakistan’s problems helps deflect attention from their own ineptness. So if Indians are to be educated, then they should be educated about the dangerous mindsets of such influential Pakistanis also, not just about un-influential Pakistani Romeos pining for Indian Juliets.

Further, if PK truly wanted to educate people about India’s religious landscape, it could have highlighted or at least depicted the sincere religious teachers who unselfishly serve God and humanity. Then people could have endeavored to find and follow such teachers, thereby staying protected from the harmful influence of self-serving teachers.

But depicting such complexity isn’t easy and it isn’t entertaining. Much easier to paint all religious teachers as black, make fun of them and make big money out of it. PK’s purpose is not educational – it’s simply commercial. PK accuses religious teachers of making a business of faith. Though not all religious teachers do such business, PK itself surely does that. It makes a business of faith, just from the opposite side – not by promoting faith, but by bashing faith. Agar dharma-guru shraddhaa ka dhanda kar rahe hain, to PK dharma ki ninda ka dhanda kar raha hain.

And if PK had bothered to find some authentic religious teachers, it would have discovered that they see everyone with equal vision, as the Bhagavad-gita (05.18) describes. They see that beyond our different bodily shells the spiritual substance that animates all of us is similar. Accordingly, they teach that all living beings, whatever their nationality, religion or race, are all beloved parts of God. So authentic religious teachers, far from stereotyping others, provide the spiritual vision by which people can rise beyond such stereotyping.

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