The term dharma means that which is to be sustained or supported.
What is to be sustained at a given moment need not be sustained at another moment.
That is why dharma keeps moving or changing in accordance with the exigencies of time.
The upanishad (taiittriyam) also says ‘dharmam chara’
It uses the word ‘charathi’ (move with dharma) for dharma,
instead of saying ‘do dharma’.
This can be best understood by the adage in Tamil on cow- slaughter.
Cow slaughter is a worst crime – an adharmic act.
From a purananUru verse, we come to know that
even using the word ‘cow-slaughter’ is un-parliamentary.
The verse says –‘aanin mulai arutthu’ to indicate slaughter.
Such is the adharmic nature of slaying a cow.
But a cow can be killed, if it comes charging towards you!
“Thannai-k-kolla varum pasu maattaiyum kollalaam”, is the saying in Tamil.
It is justified to kill a cow in self-defense if it comes to kill you.
So the dharma of not killing a cow also can vary according to the circumstance.
It is on the basis of this only, even our penal laws have been designed.
Coming to think of the display of banners in the city
and the page after page display of ads in newspapers on Karunanidhi’s birthday,
I can not help thinking about Dharma –
whether the ruling on Banners is a rule of ‘dharma’ !!
There is a court ruling against banner displays.
The administration does not care to put it to practice in normal times.
But come Jayalalitha’s birth day,
the administration suddenly wakes up to that ruling
and removes all the banners and ad boards.
Everywhere we saw Jayalalitha’s picture being torn down about a couple of months ago.
The chief-minister friendly media also was all praises
for enacting the banner rule at that time.
But come the birthday times of the sons
and now the father,
no one seems to remember the banner ruling.
No writer or news paper or columnist cares to raise even a whimper
against the banners for the birthday bashes.
That is why I choose to call this as Banner-dharma –
a dharma that changes in tune with whose birthday bash it is all about!!
Long live Banner- dharma!