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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha > Jesus Christ - the Rebel of Rebels

Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha

Jesus Christ - the Rebel of Rebels

November 1991 in Tamil Nation Print Fortnightly

"it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law" - Preamble to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

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Jesus Christ - Rebel of RebelsThe title of this column, The Rebel of Rebels is a transformed version of the title of a Hollywood movie, The King of Kings  released some forty years ago. This movie, told the story of Jesus Christ. During his life, Jesus was a rebel rather than a king . He was not the first rebel of repute, to make his entry into this world. He have been preceded by quite a few like Buddha and Socrates.

At his time, the total population of the world was only between 200 and 300 million. In this century, when a rebel of equal merit, with the name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, altered the history of this world, the population of this globe has expanded to almost 4000 million. When Gandhi himself had to lead the 300 million Indians, he gained inspiration from his predecessor who was just living in the periphery of the Roman empire two millennia ago.

So much has been written about this Jewish rebel by so many in so different contexts. I found, how Bernard Shaw description of the activities of this Bethlehem rebel quite refreshing in many ways. Wrote Shaw:

    "Jesus was from the point of view of the High Priest a heretic and an impostor. From the point of view of the merchants he was a rioter and a Communist. From the Roman Imperialist point of view he was a traitor. From the common sense point of view he was a dangerous mad man. From the snobbish point of view, always a very influential one, he was a penniless vagrant.

    "From the police point of view he was an obstructer of thoroughfares, a beggar, an associate of prostitutes, an apologist of sinners, and a disparager of judges; and his daily companions were tramps whom he had seduced into vagabondage from their regular trades. From the point of view of the pious he was a Sabbath breaker, a denier of the efficacy of circumcision and the advocate of a strange rite of baptism, a gluttonous man and a wine bibber. He was abhorrent to the medical profession as an unqualified practitioner who healed people by quackery and charged nothing for the treatment.

    "He was against the priests, against the judiciary, against the military, against the city (he declared that it was impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven), against all the interests, classes, principalities and powers, inviting everybody to abandon all these and follow him.

    "By every argument, legal, political, religious, customary and polite, he was the most complete enemy of the society of his time ever brought to the bars. He was guilty on every count of the indictment, and on many more that his accusers had not the wit to frame. If he was innocent then the whole world was guilty. To acquit him was to throw over Civilisation and all its institutions. History has borne out the case against him; for no State has ever constituted itself on his principles or made it possible to live according to his commandments."

Bernard Shaw wrote the above cited commentary on Jesus in the preface to his play on the Rocks (1933). It is also interesting to note what Shaw had written in the same preface about the freedom of press then (when India was ruled by the British) seems valid even now, considering what had happened to the founding editor of this paper.

"I have seen too many newspapers suppressed and editors swept away, not only in Ireland and India but in London in my time..." observed the distinguished dramatist.


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