What I write below are my views and opinions and I express it with the same passion that the opposite will hold, but argumentative .That I can vouch.
In mid February every year some of the weak hearts like me who live or happen to be in Thpuram scamper out of the town for a day. It is a literal run for some peace, quiet. It is the only possible way to retain ones sanity. The commercially and religiously muscle flexing temple in the suburb of the city will host its Guinness book fame pongal festival. A day when the city is rampaged and controlled by the chaste Hindus! The day is literally a day when the quiet resident of Thpuram will lose his bearings. When you cannot lie down and enjoy rape run away from it. This year while I happened to be in the city during that time I was almost at my nadir of sanity and patience after a host of loudspeakers where placed within a few meters from where I lived, ostensibly playing the cacophony of hymns, songs from a temple nearby, which had the same presiding deity as the Guinness book famed temple. It began at 4 in the early morning and blared till after midnight. In fact the temple is a kilometre away and the hardcore worshippers pulled an extended cable to evict all of us from quiet. I ran away to a distant town for a couple of days and until the faithful had got their absolution and peace with the Gods.
The dual ways that are within ones grasp is either to bear it stoically or run away quietly until the din has subsided. This is the case with many matters in today’s societies in India.
I’m warily looking to the 15 of August which is a few days from now when the mobile will be active from dawn. The beep of the text messages bombarding with wishes, reminders, patriotic and jingoistic slogans, prompting and stating the greatness of India will bother the renegades like me. The less patriotic earthlings! The Bolgdom will have ample Posts emphasising ”Mera Bhrath Mahan”. The sane ways to exist is to accept these statements , reciprocate jingoism and to a lesser extent patriotism that erupts every year for one day on the 15 of August, or to switch off the mobile and not open ones blog that day.
Is it the quirk of fate or the forced delusion that Indians cultivate, I do not know. And we, even after 64 years of the exit of the colonist, run after a mirage –‘Independence’? Yes, we are Free, free that the looters of public wealth go on with their task with blatant impunity. Free, that one fifth of the country has been leased to the Maoist insurgents who have taken up the cause of the hapless and fiercely exploited natives. Free, that the whole of North Eastern states are not reconciled to the union of India. Free, that the simmering discontent and betrayal is dangerous in Jammu and Kashmir. Free, that still we rank about 100 in the world index of development in a scale of 120. Free that we can be oblivious of the fact that sixty percent of women are illiterate and consequently exploited in many ways. Free, that (officially) forty percent of the population is languishing below poverty line. Free, that many parts of central India is harsher socially and economically than the sub Saharan Africa. Free that the perpetrator, an elected person who swore by the constitution but wrecked the most heinous communal frenzy in known history on the Muslims in Gujarat walk all over the country with blatant impudence.
Has anything changed for the better since the last August 15?
Yes this is a myopic, lopsided, cynical view of someone who refuses to see the rockets that we fly beyond the stratosphere, the fledging malls, multi national retail giants and mining companies that have landed in the country, the billions that flow in as foreign direct and institutional investments, the imminent launch of another agricultural revolution aided by multinational corporations like Mosanto ...there is much beyond, I hesitate, I’m not a patriot.
So we have one day, mercifully one day in a year to remember our freedom, independence and the exit of the Empire!
A few days ago I got a few text messages and noticed some general reminders and wishes on “happy friendship day “in my face book wall. My comment on that, which I pasted on the wall ,“Twenty years ago, no one wished me on a certain day and claimed ‘friendship’. If one has to be a friend there need not be a day to remember that. It is silly. Imagine remembering your parents only on a certain day. As funny as that! And people ape, herd instinct it is terribly boring”.
And that attracted this comment from a friend, I was aghast. “@anil....it’s just that in this fast life lane that we all live today we just take a day to dedicate our thoughts for those spl people in our lives...children’s day for kids, mother’s day for mom, father’s day for dad...Birthday to make the person feel spl on the day he/she was born,..it’s just an occasion to reciprocate and respect one’s feeling. Valentine’s day does not mean u lv ur lv only on that day but yes these are ways of reassuring your feeling for ur lvd ones...It’s how u look at it. I don’t think you have to ridicule others who believe in it. The sooner you accept change the better its gonna get...what life was 20 yrs back and today is not the same dear. Change is inevitable.”
Yet another comment came ,"friendship day is for teens.”
So friendship, independence, mother, father, brother, sister, and even one’s life is remembered for one day in a long calendar of 365 days. That is capsule living we have so well aped from the West especially the debt ridden America.
How I wish that I was patriotic and tolerant as the rest! May be I’m misfit!