A while ago, a friend of mine told me that he wished to leave India for good. This was a time when I was talking about brain drain et all and how many NRIs (Not Required Indians) suck the wealth off our motherland to nourish themselves and runaway to foreign lands for money. I would then go to the extent of claiming that this act was indeed comparable to leaving your mother to be with a stranger and glorifying the alien as you put down your own at every possible occasion (like many short time "foreign-returns" do). Yet my friend was stubborn and believed that India was not a land for people who think and want to give something to the world... rather he believed that this is a land lost in the shadows of slavery, a land where everyone wants to be a master to enslave the other. He said that India was cruel to people who want to do good. He said, "India betrays."
Ever since childhood I have been reading the preamble of our constitution, to reaffirm myself of my faith in this giant nation, wishing to hold on to the belief that what I was taught about it was true despite the ridiculous statistics that periodically decorates the front pages of the dailies about its countless scams both within as well as in the international circuit, about its poor performance in sports as much as its inability to bring down the poverty level, malnutrition, farmer's suicide, hunger, disease pandemonium, illiteracy level, lack of schools, lack of black boards and chalk pieces in schools that do exist, teacher and doctor scarcity, poor sanitation level, pollution, human rights violations, police brutality, political impotency, safety negligence, avoidable accidents and our quick and high level of resilience to all these issues (thanks to our trademark-our firm belief in being ignorant and/or apathetic), administrative indifference, incapability to provide decent drinking water and many more things including life. Though it would hurt many times to know that my country still has villages that do not receive electricity after over 6 decades of independence, and to know that people who have been elected to power are still in the dark just as much as the people who elected them... I would still hold on firmly with belief in the foundations on which this so called "great" nation has been built; the preamble that reads " WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY thoughts, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;"
(copied and pasted just as it was)
I believed, just as many of you would too, in the lessons I was fed in school, sans free thought with unquestioning obedience in fear of the cane that might otherwise tell who was supposed to be right. Silently finding solace in the great words once spoken... "Yet it moves" if I had anything else beyond what was being said disturbing the iota of logic. Slowly I was taught as I learnt to be humble, simple and obedient, those great values (I was expected to imbibe and pass on to the generations to come) considered essential and sacred in one's path to greatness, (nevertheless, slavery). 'Simplified', 'humiliated' and made to 'obey' thus without questioning nor reasoning... here I stand waiting for "masters" to lead me, tell me what is right and what is wrong, shackled with chains of restraint too heavy that weigh me down with its dead weight of obedience and duties of life pushing me as far as it can to bend me beyond a point of complete surrender, this slave can hardly move. I have learnt that in a country where everyone other than you are supposed to be sensitive, any act of defiance, the slightest dissent, the slightest moan or a drop of tear, can be taken up against you as a sign of grave internal threat and get you royally screwed.
Take for example a group of peaceful protestors who requested a sustainable energy source in place of a nuclear plant towering in their soil, against their wish, against their logic, against their feelings, against their livelihood, against everything they stood for... my country which is great in providing justice, liberty, equality and recalls fraternity, as mentioned in the preamble in all its endeavours, trampled upon these people... not only here, in the forests where poor tribals try to protect their land from foreign miners who wish to loot the soil and destroy their homeland, it happens in any place where voices of distress can be heard. The easiest way to solve these problems as our great leaders, the guardians of our constitution have recently learnt... Kill them all! Finish them, till they can shout no more. First the scream, then the cry, then the shout, then the silence, then the mourning, then eternal peace on the forgotten dead bodies of those souls, thus the end... C'est la vie.
My "for the people, by the people of the people democratic country" has 7 jokes in its giant book of jokes called the "Indian Penal Code" to contain these issues; well, these same jokes are applied anywhere, any place and to anyone who refuses to bend his back and rebels to stand straight for a change, just like it slapped these jokes on the protestors in Koodankulam recently...
Joke 1: Section 121 (waging or attempting to wage or abetting waging of war against the Government of India),
Joke 2: 143 (unlawful assembly),
Joke 3: 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant),
Joke 4: 153A (doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony),
Joke 5: 341 (wrongful restraint),
Joke 6: 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and
Joke 7: 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Considering these, maybe I should, like many of you, who think, who write, decide to close my pen's cap, kiss my pen 'goodbye' along with my rights... (shhhh!), wear that fool's cap and learn to nod that famous 'Indian nod' along with flashing that 'meaningless Indian smile' and say the great 'Indian "Yes, Sir!" to everything and everyone and live peacefully ever after.
Yet it moves...
Bottomline: "It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry