“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”
From Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
If I were to draw blindfolded an image of an Indian from what I hear from what people have heard or seen about India and its people from outside its borders, perhaps I would be drawing a dark, skinny and dusty person with a grim face and a turban wrapped several times around the head, amidst dark, gloomy clouds of lust and violence, corruption and scams, pollution and population hovering in the backdrop. Much of this imaginary imagery has been seeded long before and has been systematically imprinted in the minds; and we, from within the borders, have relentlessly watered and nurtured this image to keep it intact. Yet, it is only an illusion and the deeds and characteristics of a minority present (as in any other country) and presented cannot be generalized and held true and applicable to the majority.
Amidst that white-faced, faith-based pseudo-justice born out of intentions conceived through the marriage of hypocrisy and greed, it would be as revealing as a naked butt on a freezy, cold day if the following questions are pondered over: How is this image drawn so conveniently? Who frames these images? What benefit is derived by giving and taking up such an identity?
There is perhaps a reason for allowing this unclean and skewed image to be maintained to arrive at a win-win situation to both the perceiver and the perceived in many ways as we ponder over the issue of identity and the concept of being identified. Much of the damage, if any, has been partly due to an identity thrust upon us and much more attributed to us for accepting the identity thrust without defending our own.
Could it be blamed on ignorance? or perhaps apathy? Or maybe because many of us were busy with other things in life to survive and to be less bothered about these things. What if a few of us are really bothered and would like to defend? and what if some dare to uncover the masks of those who paint us black or rather brown?! Would the tables turn then?
In the pic: is the painting of M.F. Hussain, titled 'the rape of mother India, which portrays the image of a woman caught in a struggle to escape from the strangling force of two wild bulls. This painting was heavily criticized for the imagery as well as the titling. Revisit the painting and see the relevance it has today, when you see the Indian identity suffer a similar accord torn apart by the betrayer from outside and the traitor from within...