On October 2, 1944, on the occasion of Gandhiji’s 70th birthday, one of the most renowned scientists of our time, Albert Einstein expressed his admiration for Mahatma Gandhi and said, “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”
It has been 70 years since India got its Independence. Every year, on August 15, a mega event of colourful tableaus and parades is organised as if a newlywed bride named “azadi” is walking down the aisle. Yet, 70 years on, the idea of “azadi” is still being challenged, one can hear the strange whispers of muzzled voices calling for azadi from the streets we have never walked on. From the corridors of universities and colleges to the scenic valleys of Kashmir, the calls for azadi are all too common.
What sort of liberalisation is this? What freedom are they seeking?
Well, if you look at the discourse in India and matters of national importance, you’ll get the answers. Somebody is seeking the freedom to express love, somebody is merely asking for the freedom to eat the meat of his/her choice. Someone is seeking freedom of expression and someone asking for his right to live peacefully.
If you look at the discourse in India and matters of national importance, you’ll get the answers.
Hindu-Muslim riots are still the order of the day, Dalits are still being persecuted and their backs carry the whipping scars of upper caste Brahmins’ atrocities. This speaks a lot about the current state of the country.
Every five years, politicians lure the nation with false promises and sell fake dreams much like the heartless deceitful beloved would.
Since time immemorial, societies across time and space have nurtured this special kind of squalid reality, although its name and face may differ from country to country. Blacks in America, or Shia and Ahmadi in Pakistan are some examples of this squalid reality. In India, we call them Dalits and these days Muslims have been a target of the same ugly reality – a result of the sense of insecurity being fed and propagated in the minds of the majority.
These insecurities, the fear of the “other” are the reasons we see riots and public display of violence engulfing the prevailing peace and at times taking the life of a Shia, Ahmadi, Muslim or Hindu.
These pyres of bodies and corpses serve as fuel for politicians and their hate machinery, as they are aware that these bodies, these pyres are the lifeblood of their ugly propaganda. Politicians feed on these corpses like vultures. To cut the long story short, bodies are essential to their politics. A world without politicians feeding on bodies would be a peaceful world of coexistence, one devoid of melancholy.
Perhaps, these bodies are as important for politicians as filth and dirt are for insects and bed bugs. As I discern from my thoughts, seen from the lens of politics, every Hindu will appear to be Godse and every Muslim a jihadi.
Truth be told, in the garb of India’s democracy, the dreams and vision of a democratic state, humanity dies everyday with painful sighs. Even after 70 years of Independence, it is in this “lassi” made of spoilt milk that India is looking for traces of self-rule. We have more bystanders than leaders in our country. And those few leaders we have are hell-bent in not obeying the law of the land. To drown the voices of those who speak truth to power and to ensure we censor these voices the moment they are born. Politicians have gagged the freedom of speech – lawlessness and barbarity are the new order.
This barbarity tells the story of an unaided and forsaken prostitute whose personal desires have no place; they have long been drained by the society which dubbed them as “filth”. Abject as it is, this barbarity carries the silence of that middle class salaried professional who is desperately trying to make his ends meet, and failing everynight in this tussle. This barbarity carries the melancholy of those women who have drained her lungs fanning the fire of cookstoves and wood burners, for she’s afraid here’s another night when five heads will live on two chapatis and water to douse the fire in their belly. This barbarity of free hoarding and the nakedness of the society, and the barbarity unleashed by political cacophony.
To silence the voices of those who speak truth to power, in fact, to nip them in the bud, politicians have gagged freedom; lawlessness and barbarity are the order of the state.
Together, these uncivilised acts are doing irreparable damage to India’s history. Everyday. Without any break. In the light of India’s barbarity, maybe Einstein was right about Gandhi and future generations. India, as we see it, is far from Gandhi’s ideals, for it’s now the India of Godse and his ideologues.
Gandhi is long gone and so is the India he envisaged. India now stands tall as a half-naked theatre of absurd. Perhaps, it’s not entirely inappropriate to conclude that India is a children’s playground before me.