There is a sculpture in Amritsar like a giant pocket puzzle. It is inscribed, in dozens of different languages, with the last words of M.K Gandhi before he was assassinated by a militant Hindu nationalist who disagreed with his advocacy for religious minorities. These two words have so many intonations and implications that it’s hard to know exactly what Gandhi meant. You can only really hear the differences of out loud. Say them with me now.
First, in prayerful supplication to the divine you’re about to encounter, with all the weight of heaven on the first sermonic syllable – Oh God.
Now in eye-rolling frustration at the predictability of the the thing, a bored, sardonic sigh for those who just don’t get it – Oh God.
Now as a lapse of bearing, a crisis of faith, a escaped exclamation of horror and disgust at the mad inhumanity of man – Oh God.
Now very quietly, as if you’re looking at someone who is about to shoot you in the chest.