Frictions Of Religious Fiction

pic_fic.jpgA whole new generation of fiction has given birth to a genre of writings brimming with legends, codes, mysteries and Earth-shattering revelations about well known religious figures. This breed of fiction has provoked a bewildering repertoire of responses varying from shocking self-righteous outrage to fascinated sensationalism. It has prompted religious herds to emerge from their august sanctums to issue vehement cries of condemnation. Teams of earnest scholars have been prompted to pour over tonnes of ancient manuscripts to either validate or dismiss the so-called bizarre allegations made by the respective authors.

It is, at this juncture, that one wonders who had the courage to frame such a fearful symmetry. To put it simply – how does the author react while witnessing such frenzied repercussions to his creations? The answer is painfully simple. He just sits back and watches the scene with a self satisfied smirk on his face. He is like the puppeteer who is derives immense satisfaction watching all his puppets move in all the right directions. The scene is moving in ways that he wants it to. And not only that, the best part is that he is raking in the millions as well. Liked or hated, his books are being read, and being discussed ad nauseam.The man behind this revolution of neo-fiction is none other than the very famous and, in some cases, downright infamous Dan Brown. Yes, the man behind the blockbusters, The Da Vinci Code and the equally un-put-down-able Angels and Demons. This is the man who could be confidently hailed as the pioneer (or the evil brain) behind the birth of this genre. It all started with The Da Vinci Code, the book that created ripples of controversies throughout the world. Many denounced the book as being downright blasphemous. In the Vatican for example, people burned hundreds of copies of the book and the film was banned in many countries. However, at the end of this entire hullabaloo, the book and the subsequent film still managed to generate millions of dollars in revenue. So, for reasons good or bad, this literary creation has gone down in history.This was followed by a spate of books in a similar vein by hitherto unknown authors. Chris Kuzneski, author of “Sword Of God” and “Sign Of The Cross”, “Genesis Code” by John Aces, “The Last Testament” by Sam Bourne, “Requiem”, “The Rule of Four”, “The Last Templar” by Raymond Khoury, “Labyrinth” by Kate Mosse. The list is exhaustive. The market has been flooded with books hailing from the same literary background. Some of the theories put forward by these authors border on the bizarre. For instance, The Da Vinci Code says that Jesus was not a divine figure at all. In fact he was married to Mary Magdalene, had a daughter named Sarah and that his bloodline exists till date! The author claims that his data was drawn from a book called “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. This is another meticulously researched book tracing the entire history of Christianity. “The Requiem” claims that the crucifixion never actually happened!

Contemplate the reaction of an intellectual cynic will have on reading The Da Vinci Code and then imagine a pious and gullible Catholic who reads in a book which says, The Lord was, in fact, an ordinary mortal who was married and had children!! Maybe, he will not believe it, but imagine the subconscious repercussions it will have. It is the classic case of the woodcutter chopping off the log on which he is sitting. The Enlightened western world seemingly enjoys attacking its own faith, picking loopholes in its own beliefs and doesn’t mind exposing them to the entire world to feast on! Such a noble and self-sacrificial spirit is certainly worth admiration. Imagine an Oriental even thinking about questioning his own faith and daring to get away with it! After all, we know the consequences that people like Taslima Nasreen, who dare to something similar, suffer.

Rudrani Dasgupta