Thank God, I do not call India homeland anymore and have the option of being able to return back to a saner country.
Three months in India has removed all excitement about India which was created by watching Bollywood movies in Canada and craving for some real desi food.
India may be progressing economically but is on a suicidal mission to divest itself of the very ethos that was the cornerstone of its existence.
This is a land of paradox, was a reality which was clearly established. It still revels in that.
In the same news headline you would hear of a country which is ranked as among the top seven richest countries of the world and still makes its men carry their dead wives on their weak, tired shoulders and walk miles alone.
You would not bat an eyelid while entering the swankiest of the malls while seeing the poorest of the poor begging outside.
You would order the costliest of scotch for your parties with friends who would not lose any opportunity to bitch about you and yet make it a point to offer your left overs or yesterday’ meal to the maids and housekeepers who work for you, referred with pride by your lordship as servants.
I could easily have accepted all this as a part of the great Indian culture. I was even ready to acknowledge that India would not change and that dirty roads, rowdy traffic jams and rowdier people stuck in them, rude and hostile people, lack of civility and the impotence of the state continue to be accepted as a part of the India on the move. For ever!
But what I cannot digest one bit is the winds of hatred and intolerance which have been blowing in India ever since the Hindutava forces have become the main representative of the Hindu majority.
They have beaten the very sole of Hindustan to death! A land where religion was liberating; where Buddha and Mahavir could co-exist with Shankracharya and Dayanand . Where ‘samvad’ and ‘vad-vivad’, discussion and debate were a part and parcel of the learning process in every school of thought! Where diversity and differences in opinion were the main barometers of the soceity’ wealth!
But today’ India beats me. An Indian lady, a renowned South Indian actress, Ramya, goes to Pakistan and finds that humans exist there too and not aliens living in a non existential place called hell as described by a great leader and lo! Her life changes for ever! She is slapped with a case of sedition, is trolled with filth online and every ‘declared nationalist’ worth his salt is ready to pounce on her. Unbelievable! This is the same land which once named a person called Gandhi as the father of the nation for doing something similar and in fact going beyond that in treating the people of Pakistan as his own children. But alas, Gandhi only now resides in the pockets of the rich and the corrupt and has had to make way for Godse in the minds of the so called nationalist.
Guess what, back home in Canada, I have dined, laughed, enjoyed many fond moments of my life with the so called aliens from Pakistan and yes if liking them is an act of sedition then I too am liable for that. I support Ramaya for every word that she has rightfully spoken and not just that, but her right to speak out on behalf of every sane human.
True Pakistan has remained a hostile nation to India and its’ Generals, religious leaders and politicians have built their careers by continuing their feed of anti-India propaganda. But that does not make the common people bad. In fact the common people there too are in similar predicament like that of the masses in India fed by the similar religious leaders and politicians whose career enhances by every piece of hate they spread among their followers.
The love, common bonds, camaraderie and bonhomie that exists in the South Asian community in countries outside the very region is seen to be believed. We share the same food, same tastes, language, bonds, culture, music, ….. We are ONE.
True in the last few years, the ugly venom of pseudo Hindutava or Islamic forces is spreading among a few outside the sub-continent too, but that still is left to the psyches of the ultra-right who thrive on such an agenda.
For the common South Asian, the bonds of the community go beyond the divisions of their land and they know that their lives and existence are created out of the same soil and their interdependence goes beyond the colour of their skin. It is soul deep!
History has proven that nations change. Boundaries change. Relationships change. Some fast and some slowly and may require decades and centuries.
Germany was united, then divided and then united again.
Russia was divided, then united and then divided again.
Britain went from being a speck on the world map to having lorded over the Sun too and is now eager to being a speck again.
The sub-continent has changed contours in the past and will change again!
And yet, humans exist and humanity should exist. Let us not get boiled over by the heat of the moment and realize that we are ONE and will remain as one even when this moment of hatred passes over.
Un till then, I would look remind you that a land exists in this world, where exists a Christian-White majority and yet Muslim Hijab wearing ladies are allowed to participate in citizenship ceremonies and now even join the Royal Guard, a turbaned Sikh is the Chief of Defence staff and LGBT and gay community is not considered queer. Its’ time that an older civilization like India learns a few lessons of humanity from one of the younger ones, Canada!
Being Indian is good. Being human is better!
Ramya you make us happy and proud. Thank you!
Posted in Times of India, 28th August 2016. Link below- http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/dev-vani/ramya-vastavaia-i-give-you-my-heart/