This Independence Day…
I am thinking of the recent Kashmir agitation, something that raised our heads from the soap opera gossip to the news channels; asking us to question the very definition of freedom.
I am thinking of the Dadri family, destroyed because of the speculated presence of a particular meat in their fridge.
I am thinking of the Dalit men who were beaten against an SUV in the open marketplace in Gujarat for carrying a dead animal’s skin.
I am thinking of the meaning of moral policing. I must be foolish because I cannot seem to find anything “moral” about this concept.
I am thinking of the students who are not allowed to enter their schools, drink its water, befriend classmates, or get equal education because of the caste they were born into.
I am thinking of the people who make rules and defend them with sword. Who can draw a line between morality and immorality?
I am thinking of religions and their leaders, who have made it quite clear that there is only one way to know God. And it is theirs.
I am thinking of the people who say public display of intimacy and healthy pre-marital relationships are against culture. I guess lynching, gang-rapes with video cameras, being masturbated to, eve-teasing, domination of women, are with the culture.
I am thinking of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT), who pay taxes and occupy some humble, some prominent posts in the country, but are deemed criminals if they decide to love.
I am thinking of religious extremist groups who say India should have only one religion, that all the others are outer-spies and here to defile unity. I am thinking of some of the richest Hindu employers in the world. I am thinking of Christian and Sikh Generals of the Armed Forces. I am thinking of the Muslim Missile Man of India. I am thinking of a good reason the extremist groups say the things they do. A little help please…
I am thinking of those who are not considered Indian because of their name and religion, even though they have the necessary documents—from ration cards to PAN cards. I am thinking about those people who believe that Indians and Indian Culture is that which conforms to one particular religion only.
I am thinking of the propaganda released by those in power—over national language, national animal, national religion—when suicide of farmers, marital rape, quality education, corruption in the ranks, are dusted off in ignorance.
I am thinking of the amazing freedom of rapists: if you cannot rape a girl now, you can rape her after marriage. (No law against marital rape)
I am thinking of the FIFTH standard students in rural government schools of Madhya Pradesh, who are still learning the English Alphabet or the Hindi Varnmaala. I am thinking of their annual exam results, where most fail miserably but are passed anyway because the teachers are nudged from higher up to clear them or be grilled into extra remedial classes.
I am comparing the Education budget [Rs. 72,394 crore] with the Defence budget [Rs. 2,58,589 crore] and something, sure as hell, is wrong with our priorities.
I am thinking of a traffic cop or a regular police officer, who has an unimaginable work load with long working days, but is meagrely paid and despised by the majority in comparison to a regular army man who is well-paid and also enjoys the added benefits.
I am thinking of India as a democracy, but all around, people subjugate their political views on each other. There are people blindly worshiping their representative. There are people willfully honouring their leader as a dictator. The last time we Indians treated our leader as a dictator, we had a National Emergency.
I am thinking of all the martyrs in our struggle for Independence, who “literally” gave their lives for this day. Have we forgotten what they stood against? Haven’t we reduced them to mere emotional patriotic songs?
I am thinking about the meaning of patriotism: Is it only when India plays a sport, or an army officer dies on duty, or a foreign country says something against India that we feel patriotic? Is patriotism constant in our hearts, or is it defined only when we compare our country with another?
I am thinking of the mass brainwashing of people by the politicians and the media, who tell us whom to hate, who tell us we should be divided, who tell us that there is a looming tension between Hindu and Muslim, even when there isn’t. They hide their court cases and ulterior motives behind silly religious propaganda, this foolproof method of divide and rule, just so that the “real” issues can be clouded from the average person.
I am thinking of the debates on the news channels, where the anchors have already decided who is right and scream their larynx out to overlord their decision.
I am thinking of the people who raise their voice against an establishment, a policy, an issue; and are labelled anti-national before they even finish their grievance. Ask your friend for a detailed explanation behind that label, and they’ll say they’re doing it because everyone else is. Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side.
I am thinking of Freedom of Speech. It has divided us into people who raise their voice, and people who troll these voices.
But, this independence day, I am primarily thinking of the British Raj and their 200 year colonisation of our country. I am thinking of a small, run-from-a-single-office-in-London East India Company that toppled all the kingdoms of The Golden Bird. I am thinking of the method they used to fulfill their ulterior motives: Divide and Rule; as long as Indians fight over religion, caste, equality, they can be controlled. I am thinking of this same method being employed today. And I am thinking about us…the citizens of India…aren’t we allowing ourselves to be misled? Day after day…
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