Friday, August 17, 2012

Kaisi chali hai abke hawa mere sheher mein...

This song comes to mind each time I think of all that has been going wrong in my country for these past few years and months …

What did we see when we saw the group molestation of a girl in Assam…how could such things come to pass? How could people just watch? How and why did it happen?

The violence in Assam… people ousted from their own homes by outsiders…violence, homelessness, arson, killing …. It is their home…why should they be asked to leave by outsiders?

The protest in Mumbai against the violence in Assam which erupted into violence with death, fire and devastation…  it was supposed to be a voice against violence…then what happened?

People from the North East leaving en masse from the south of India…being apparently threatened… with murder in their own cities, in their own country… how did this happen?

All of these are not real. There has to be something which is at the core of it, something which is tangible. All of us during our growing up years are taught the same values of honesty, truth, integrity, kindness, generosity…humanity. Right? I cannot believe that it can be any other way. Are there people who tell their children that when you grow up, you should kill all others who are not like you? Or that when you see a woman, you should attack her?...I am sure the answer is NO. Nobody is brought up to be like this…

We all grow up and we all of course form our own value systems based on what we see and how events around us affect us…  but what is it that creates monsters? How is it that one day we step out and kill people? What happens to us? The greed for power, money… how much can money help? And I know it can do wonders… it can get you everything but at the end of the day, it is just a measurement. It is not infinite. It is like matter… it grows somewhere and diminishes somewhere and it gains its value by its use… So, why and how does this thirst for money begin? While talking about this, some people point out that it is not about money… it is about power. Power…

How must it be not to feel safe in your own city, your own country? People say that I should not ask that question…after all I live in New Delhi, one of the most unsafe cities in the country… But again, this is my city and honestly, I do not feel scared here … yet. Will that also happen? Will I also feel what people felt in Bangalore after living there for 12 years and then fearing that it is not ‘home’?

At times I feel that India as a country is but an idea, an illusion. There is nothing that all of us in this country manage to do together… nothing constructive it seems!! While all may not be so bleak, the recent times have not been happy ones. And the ineptness of the various governments has been too visible … state or centre…there has been no reassurance from them. If this is how a country is run, even I can do it! Why do I need these experts to run it like a chaos? Agreed that all cannot be perfect in this country, but some of the things can be… some of the things should be… how is it that we don’t have basic amenities, that we don’t have basic law and order…why is there no accountability?

We are NOT  really a poor nation…and I know there are many of us in this country teeming with people who make it to the list of richest people… or who like me work in plush offices and draw more money than anybody in their families ever had…. Yet at the same time, there are as many or more people who don’t get to have even one tenth of what we earn in a month… why this disparity? There is lot that we can do but there are regulatory things that only the government can do…and they must do….Yet year on year, they have just gone from bad to worse…

And what about people like you and me? I know that we have since forever cracked jokes about Bangalis and Madrasis and Punjabis… we have all grown up in a milieu where labeling a particular community is part of daily conversation. Somewhere I feel that maybe the time has passed from when it was just a harmless joke to when we let it go on for too long and it became a suppressed cry to anger … and that anger is what manifests itself in the acts of sectarian violence that we see…

I don’t know… I have no answers, no remedies… just a helplessness seeing my country disintegrate like this… I wish there was something I could do rather than pray and continue being optimistic… Maybe there are ways but am not able to see them… there has to be a way… we cannot go on like this… we can surely exist like this but we cannot continue to live and thrive like this…

When will this mindlessness go away?