First version didn’t publish picture (internet issues) – Mixed into the back country of the India we are driving through daily is another flavor of cultural in2013-03-18 10.12.04fluence. Scattered around rural India, there seem to be pockets of those who have rejected all religion as a matter of conscience. We passed Hindu temple after temple, and then suddenly by the side of the road stood a large red pillar with a hammer and sickle at the top. This marks the village as communist.

Apparently the people in the immediate vicinity have experienced their own reaction to the many gods of the Hindus, and their agenda is a political one, seeking radical reform of the government and the society they live in. We are told that they have violently rejected all religions and supposedly work to make their areas religion-free zones. We are warned that it is actually dangerous for Christians to try to evangelize in a communist area because the people will attack with the intent to drive you off. Motivated by political fervor, their efforts have apparently met with some success politically. There is one state of the 29 states of India that has voted communism into the majority in recent years.

We came across several of these small enclaves on the back roads we were traveling. Attached is a picture of one of the markers. Oddly, sitting in the very shadow of this hammer and sickle obelisk is what appears to be a small Hindu temple. So I’m not sure what that means exactly. India is perhaps the most complex of all countries. Don’t even ask about the caste system. It will take me years to understand all the nuances.