Dinkoism, India’s largest parody religion, is holding its first ‘mega congregation’ this Sunday at Calicut in the southern state of Kerala.
The religion was floated after rationalists and science activists — tired of holding ‘logical’ arguments with religious fanatics about everything from evolution to abortion to women’s rights — decided exaggeration and caricature was the best way to expose the absurdity of most religious beliefs.
Dinkoism is built around Dinkan, a rat with super powers who saves lives in children’s weekly ‘Bala Mangalam’.
Through Dinkoism, the super rat is coming back into popular consciousness in a new divine avatar — a combination of the Gods of all the religions that dominate social media discussions.
The rationalists’ strategy is simple — place the rat as the supreme being, and attack ‘non-believers’ (people who believe in other religions) over silly matters such as insult to Dinkan, blasphemy of Dinkoistic beliefs and so on.
Some of the events organized by Dinkoists include actual protests — using placards and war-paint — in front of a film crew that was ‘disrespectful’ of the divine rat.
Also found on Freethinkers — the primary discussion board for Malayalam-speaking rationalists — are various religious paraphernalia around Dinkan — including hymns to Dinkan, ways to appease the supreme God and be in his good books, dos and donts for a Dinkoist, and so on.
Regular ‘testimonies’ from those who have been helped by the supreme rat also appear on the Facebook group and receive much adulation and attention from Dinkoists.
hile some of the prayer songs are clearly inspired from the Hindu tradition (see above), others — such as a fanatic intolerance to any real or perceived insult to His glory are modeled upon other religions.
Similarly, Dinkoists have copied most of the other proselytization tactics from other religions — such as the occasional celebratory post of a well-known celebrity (even the not-so-well-known) joining the ‘true way’ by accepting Dinkan as his or her savior and testimonies to his power.
Dinkan’s lore also consists of warning tales about how people who insulted his divine being ended up with burnt laptops and coffee spills on their pristine white trousers.
The religion also has a holy book in the form of Bala Mangalam, whose lines are used widely to settle all kinds of disputes, ethical and legal dilemmas. There is even a ‘Mooshika Sena‘ (Mouse Army) of ‘intolerant’ Dinkoists, whose job it is to react with full force towards any perceived blasphemy against the One.
One of the earliest protests by the Sena was against moves to name a Malayalam film ‘Professor Dinkan’.
Taking the religion to a new level, Dinkoists ‘across the world’ are coming for a ‘mega congregation’ in Calicut this Sunday, and people are actually painting walls to announce the event and invite the faithful.
For now, the strategy seems to be paying off as rationalists’ ‘enemies’ are largely clueless about how to counter the move.
While earlier, Freethinkers would be full of posters from believers about the stupidity of evolutionary theory and other ‘articles of faith’ of rationalism, these days such posts are few and far between. Similarly, testimonials and celebrations of well-known people accepting the ‘true way’ and so on are also much fewer after Dinkoists started copying such tactics.
UPDATE: The holding of the congregation was followed by criticism from members of established religions, many of whom pointed to the fact that less than a couple of hundred Dinkoists turned out for the event.
Some devout Dinkoists, like Haritha Thambi, even took to Facebook to question what she called the injustice and discrimination faced by the followers of the Wise Rat. “Just because our Dinkan doesn’t exhort us to violence, do not think we are weak,” she said, warning both non-believers and the media not to make fun of Dinkoistic rituals like the stoning of the jackfruit (chakka eru).
At the venue of the Dinkoistic conference, EA Jabbar, the science activist, created quite a flutter with his surprise announcement that Lord Dinkan had come to him on the previous night and that he was “leaving rationalism” to join the new religion. “Dinkan came to me in my sleep and said he had chosen me to be a prophet for his religion.”