Being Indian

My friends In India are worked up with me.

The more this India visit has stretched for me and the more I write about the woes that I see here, the more they are put off with me. It is as if my being quiet will abate the misery. Something similar to ‘out of sight, out of mind’!

It is alright if the poverty struck Indians, the ones who make the ugly underbelly, are killed for less than a dime. Their lives have anyhow been worthless for centuries. Yet, I should look away!

It is alright if the ‘Dalits’- the lower class people, men and women alike, are beaten black and blue by the ‘Gow-Rakshakhas’- the cow vigilantes in the name of safeguarding the religion. This is when the same Dalits have been expected to carry out this work for centuries and are still expected to do the same on the sly. Yet, I should stay silent.

It is alright if people get caught in never ending jams, have their homes flooded whenever the nearby ‘nala’ or ‘pond’ runs over, have property and lives destroyed by calamities aggravated by human folly.  Yet, I should ignore.

It is alright to accept rape, superstitions, pollution, garbage, breakdowns, bans, ‘bandhs’, all as a part and parcel of a package called India and move on in life.

After all if I cannot change it, I have no right to comment.

Right? Wrong.

Guess what. My Indian roots cringe when I am expected to be silent.

I know that I alone cannot change it but ‘We’ can. We must!

So this time, I will not focus on what is wrong but how to set it right.

Off course there are issues which could be settled at a macro level but require a tough political and public will. Be it with regards to more stringent traffic rules and segregation of slow and fast moving traffic. Be it with regards to removing the religion or even surname from all job and academic applications. Be it with regards to ensuring more stringent rules and controls to ebb corruption and allow the black money to flow back into the economy and not just pile up with the corrupt and the rich.

These are issues which Indians love to discuss over a cup of tea or after the second drink to browbeat the respective governments of the day knowing fully well that nothing will change as it is difficult to reach a consensus in India. These are issues which I would therefore leave for you to gossip over in your next party with good ole’ friends and get high on!

Let us rather talk on what we can do at our level for which we do not need anyone else to intervene.  That which you and I can enable!

Let us just make a simple wish ‘CARD’. A ‘CARD’ made of Civility, Acceptance, Respect and Discipline-

Civility- Can we please remove our X-Ray stares from the breasts or faces of the women we see on streets and stop behaving as sexual predators? Can we please wait for others to step out before we enter an elevator, bus or train? Can we hold the door for the next person behind us? Can we bow and wish the person standing beside us and recognize his existence?

Acceptance- Can we really accept that not everyone can be same and others may have differing views, religion or even sexual preferences? Can we accept that if there are White people in the world whom we envy, than God has also made Blacks, Yellows, Browns, Purples and what have you and everyone has the right to be treated as a human? Can we stop whistling or laughing at fellow Indians or even foreigners who look different than us? Can we actually accept that ‘our’ God and ‘their’ God may differ in his/her name and yet perhaps be the same creator? Or the same ‘created’ concept by different societies!

Respect- Can we be treat people living on streets- beggars, rickshaw pullers, street workers and vendors, homeless gypsies, as humans and not as a burden on our society? Can we start providing some respect to our home service providers- the aiyas, maids, chowkidars, drivers, toilet cleaners and treat them as equals? Can we ensure that they are not served left overs, are provided better clothes and accommodation, are given even an iota o

Discipline- Can we try and follow traffic signals ourselves or request our drivers to follow them? Can we try and follow lane driving than fighting to snatch every single inch of the road to go past others? Can we try to be on time for our appointments? Can we for a minute consider that freedom does not mean spitting or pissing at all possible locations? Or even throwing garbage out of our cars? Can we throw our waste plates in dust bins provided and not leave them on the table? Can we clean up our mess before we leave a public place?

I know. I know. It is difficult to change the world and you and I are no Saints. I know old habits die hard and it is difficult to change. It took me a while to do change myself!

But this wish ‘CARD’ is human. Simple enough for us to follow! And from my experience, it does not bite or cripple you or makes a robot out of you. It only makes life more beautiful and enables you a far better spiritual richness.

So when do you wish to start playing your ‘CARD’? And yes, when we all play together, we can really have the winning draw spread out for India!

Keep playing!

Posted in Times of India on 31st July 2k16 . Link below-



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