Incredible Land!

Incredible land & its wonderful people!

India is a land of saints, sadhus, pirs and babas and matas. It is the land of the world’s leading technocrats, tycoons and entrepreneurs. It is a land of wealth and opulence. It is a land of poverty and penury as well.

Here, a few have helipads on roofs. Here, many live by eating ant eggs and tender leaves, picking rags and plastic, collecting scraps, and selling flesh.

We read science, but we are still confused about the creation of our planet. We take benefits of science. But we don’t believe in science. We are conquering the moon. At the same time, we are funding research on cow urine to find traces of gold in it.

We feel proud as the world’s largest democracy. And in that democracy, Muslims and Dalits are being lynched in the name of gau raksha. Waves of violence hit the land from all fronts. Injustice is everywhere. From the top to the bottom, corruption and dictatatorship seige the people.

Development is an eye wash. Waterbodies are being filled in by muscle-flexing developers, slums are burnt or bulldozed, Adivasi villages are ususrped for industry. Apparently, the aim is the development of the nation. But at whose cost? Obviously, the poor and the pariahs of the land.

Scientific reasoning has lost its edge. Scientific temperament is discarded in our public and private worlds. We see educated people crowd before the mandir, masjid, darga, and gurudwara for celestial favour. They also believe in the saying that man is what he makes out of himself. In the name of religion, a façade of staunch superstitions cripples us.

Petty, selfish, unscrupulous, greedy, tainted and amoral politicians are having their way in politics. The vast, honest multitudes are silent spectators to the demise of our democratic values of equality, justice, harmony and tolerance.

Hungry stomachs don’t want the daily doses of heavenly blessings at prayer places. The fragile limbs want the eradication of hunger, poverty, malnutrition, recalcitrant superstitions, barbarity based on caste, myriad forms of violence, and the jugglery of astrology. We do not want to hear Hindu vote bank, Muslim vote bank, Dalit vote bank, minority appeasement, Hindu Jagran, Islam in danger, Hinduism in danger.

People are fed up with spiritual gurus and hate-filled, dishonest political pundits. They are fed up with self-interested and dubious intellectuals. They are fed up with the atrocities of the state machinery. They are fed up with corrupt officials.

Why do they live at the mercy of the politicians? Why do they live at the mercy of corporate houses? Why do they live at the mercy of big babas or big bosses? The complicity of the state with the corporations wreaks havoc on the masses. Laws are made for the interest of the big houses and for the destruction of the marginalised Indians.

The issues of poor roads, badly run hospitals, and decaying educational establishments should not be politicised. People should find out who are responsible for their misery, oppression and exploitation. They should punish those involved in their affliction and persecution in elections, if held fairly.

Incredible land is fertile with many forms of violence–dispossession of the foresters from their forests, extracting their resources for the insatiable greed of the corporations, bulldozing of the houses of selected Indians, everyday violations of human rights across the country, climate change and how it affects the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people, environmental degradation, the proliferation of plastic use in our daily life, the myth in the name of population dividend, stifling of free voices, imprisonment of the journalist, writers and intellectuals.

The poverty and the pollution, traffic jams on roads, streets, lanes and by-lanes, the bonhomie of politics and religion, child labour and girl trafficking, child lifting and daini killing, and violence against Indian Muslims and Dalits surely make us proud as proud citizens of this incredible land.

The grand narrative of a ‘new’ India promoted by 24/7 Dalal media and the dedicated desh bhakts, the tacit support of the rightists, leftists and centrists to the cause of the Hindutva, the activities of the showy political gods and goddesses for the development of India, the sorry state of average Indian academics and intellectuals, the sad state of the public health system and public education policy, unemployment issues, the condition of poorly paid millions of Indians in Indian public, private and unorganised sectors, the rising of Indian mobocrats—college pass-outs with no skills for a job or self-employment, recruited for WhatsApp forwards to mobilise mobs to lynch Muslims and Dalits in the name of cow protection, and what’s not– wrap the sinews of our incredible land.

It is a land of hero-worship, a land of one-manship. Almost all Indian institutions are polluted with the arrogance of one-manship. Educational institutions are no longer run by educationists. They are managed by the profit makers, the managers, the administrators. The faces are not to taken at face value. Behind the smile, there is a shade of vicious villany.

A dangerous trend! An ensuing calamity! An Incredible land!

We could only wish for what Kabiguru once proclaimed in one of his Gitanjali poems (No.35):

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Let our incredible land regain its grandeur and glory by imbibing the principles laid down by Tagore.

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I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, said George Orwell. As a writer, I never kowtow to the whims and dictates of the sacred godmen or godwomen, the political bigots and hypocrites, dealers of laymen, the dishonest and self-serving intellectuals, traders of religions, the betrayers of ‘other’ Indians who eke out a living by their sweat, who are living in fear for being lynched for this and that.

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