“What should I do with which I do not become immortal?”

My mother often quoted the famous argument by Vedic Scholar Maitreyi whenever I failed my tests. She forbade me from dwelling in the shallow mediocrities of life. She said that it was alright to commit mistakes; however, one must never sin. I did not understand her as a child. Then, all that mattered to me was that she was not angry with me and I could go down to play.

“I pity him!” was my immediate reaction after watching the ‘Rahul Gandhi interview’. Well, for once, it was not because of my clichéd support for any particular person or political group. Rather, Rahul reminded me of my traumatic nursery interview sessions, where I always sat helpless trying to figure a way out of the ordeal. Failure was inevitable.

Strangely, the next thing that I watched was the first Obama-Mit Romney presidential debate.  It too was a tense situation of American politics and the two arguing men were no less rivals than Rahul-Modi. Yet, it began with a little exchange of wit and moved on to a rather substantial discussion.  Yes, there was a moderator, but certainly, he was no match to the ferocious Arnab Goswami.

The discussion appeared to be an exchange of ideas between two adult gentlemen. Unlike the hour long Rahul-Arnab farce, which seemed more like an interrogation scene. But frankly, is it not time that the Indians grew up?

On one hand, we have a Rahul Gandhi, who is an intimidated weak student. And, on the other hand, is a Modi who, is a similar unprepared boy but manages to amuse us enough with his rhetorics. Basically, he is just a smart student who manipulates well.   However, amidst all these dramatics, we are forgetting a very important fact- this is not a high school test anymore!

Indians, continue to cherish their joint family roots. We still romanticize the fact that ‘elders’ dominate our major life decisions.  Perhaps, that is exactly what is reflected even in our modern political scene. It lacks the strength of individuality and progressive thought.

Rahul Gandhi constantly spoke about ‘the fundamental point’, but never really came to it.  Instead, we were once again regressed to the same old drab conjecture and comparison of the 1984 and the 2002 riots! I don’t blame Arnab for his meaningless questions. They were all that we had to ask Rahul. Still, inspite of all the sadistic pleasures that we got out of watching him, I don’t think it benefitted anyone at all.

The differences between Rahul-Modi are known to all. However, they are of little significance. The ‘real issue’, instead, is the way forward for India.  As common citizen, I’m more concerned about the taxation policies, foreign policies and governance methods that these politicians envisage. If they cannot put forth and defend their ideas now, how can they even implement them later? So, where are these ‘real’ discussions of ‘fundamental’ governance plans?

How does India perceive itself in the changing situation in Afghanistan? How are we going to react to the changing paradigm of Asian international politics? Should India focus more on South East Asia or does its future lie with the relations with the U.S? How are we going to handle Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China?  Should we focus only on GDP growth or Human development is a greater concern?

India, historically, has remained as the cradle of a flourishing democracy. Public debates were once, a part of our lifestyle.  However, today, we lost our heritage to a monotonous mediocrity. Our politicians, like us, lack a sporting spirit and all they want to do is blame each other!  We have stopped giving ourselves the freedom to fail. And thus, it becomes all the more difficult to conceive and try out newer plans.

It is the same fallacy that forbids a child from writing a creative answer because he is afraid of failing the test. And if he fails, mother may not be too happy! But, we are free of the parental domination now. Why can’t we just clearly speak about what we want to do? Let Rahul Gandhi discuss his own resolutions. Why must he defend his father? Let Modi speak of his way forward, why must he recite an RSS anthem?

Election is just the beginning. The real substance comes out of what lies ahead of it. Else, it stands as another catastrophe as Kejrival.  Spewing criticisms and throwing aspersions is as easy as waving the ‘Jhadu’. However, taking the responsibility and facing the system is just as difficult as tolerating it!

The Rahul-Modi saga may quite replace the Saas-Bahu gossips for a while. But, it will give us nothing more than frustration. It will not make our country immortal. Yes, Rahul Gandhi may be a mistake.  But, not being able to create a vision for the nation to move forward will be a sin!

As a child, I did not understand my mother. I know what she meant now. To her, education was more necessary than mere gradation. She taught me to learn from my mistakes. She taught me to grow.

Freedom cannot be given to anyone. It is realization that comes from within. Why must the Indians only become CEOs of Microsoft? Why can’t we create a Microsoft?!  Why are we so afraid of risks? How long are we going to crib about everything and exclaim “Nothing can happen to this country!!?” Then, later, we shall sit in our cramped office spaces and pull our colleagues down! Are we forever going to live in our miserable hopelessness?

India cannot afford to die so soon. We cannot accept defeat so easily. India is not so feeble that it shall only whine about its problems. Instead we have to face them and overcome every crisis! Let’s break the shackles of the childish fears. Let’s broaden our mind, perspective and reclaim the heritage that we had once gifted the whole world.

 

 

“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 the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the  dreary desert of sand of dead habit;

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”

Rabindra Nath Tagore

Grow Up! India!

The Hero Hunt!!

I never sang the national anthem of my country when the state compelled me to stand up for it. Unlike my peers, I did not feel that rush of a patriotic wave within my veins and neither did I turn all misty eyed! I’m not proud of modern India.

Last week, I was flooded with text messages about how ‘good’ the Friday was. The reason, for a change was not a religious fervor. Instead, this time, it was social hysteria.

The first and the most celebrated moment of joy was the ‘order to kill’ the four convicted of the infamous Delhi Gang rape. A very close second spot was bagged by the latest Indian icon Modi and finally a rather insignificant Sreeshant also grabbed a few headlines.

None of these three bits of news was inter related. Yet, to me, they resonated the story of modern India today.

The death of the rapists was an obvious outcome and certainly, I would not deny the rule of law. They were a bunch of social beasts that had to be eliminated. However, I could still not comprehend or affirm to this overwhelming sadism of the society. I could still not celebrate the death of four lives! And I still believe that it was an entirely defective social upbringing that drove these men to such an extent. Society, which now pretends to triumph over the evils within these men, is actually the one to have created them. We now remain as a hopeless bunch of confused race that does not know how to redeem itself.

Perhaps, this is where the iconic presence of Modi comes in. Rather, the entire mass of India is now trying to hide behind the Modi disguise. We are all trying to hold Modi as our hero as we wander blindfolded into a clueless future.

Modi is that manifestation of India’s desperate need for a Godfather. India is in search of a so called magician who can rescue the race and provide it with a dimension. But still, a leader too, has to be created by the society.

The education system of a society forms the backbone of its intentions. The learning that is imparted into our children obviously holds the key to our future. It is dismal to even look at our haphazard education system today. It somehow continues to exist upon the bleak the chain of mechanical rote learning!

The text books dictate certain ideologies and forcefully feed them into our children. Nobody ever asks the children to opiniate. And hence continues the breeding of generations of programmed Indians. Our children are never allowed to form their own understanding of the world. Instead, they are caged into the narrow circuits of pre decided ‘good’ and ‘bad’!

A leader does not land overnight from the moon. A leader is created amongst us just like criminals are. It is shocking that our children are never given any formal training in speech and elocution. They are rarely pushed to the stage and made to speak their minds. The basic quality of a leader is that he addresses the mass and forms a very distinct opinion. Unlike Modi, a leader is not expected to be a demagogue. A leader follows no doctrine. He creates them.

Even Modi like most Indians lacks that refinement to think beyond the obvious. He is still juggling with the trash ideas of Hindutva and Ram Mandir. His populist image has again taken over the deep rooted issues of this country. He is so pre occupied in his popular politics, that he cannot ever apprehend the real needs of the country.

And that is where a Sreeshant appears. He represents, not just Modi, but every Indian around us. We want instant magic, and our solutions are immediate. We do not think before we act. No Indian ever dares to think beyond the next minute. We are completely taken over by the glamour of commercialism and we have practically lost ourselves.

Modi reminds me of my cooking experiments. I would sprinkle almost every spice in the kitchen on my meat and it would always look so delicious.

Modi is the amalgamation of all the spices India wants to see. He has shown us blood and he promises fireworks and mindless action. He characterizes that rapist in every Indian that loves to dominate over the weak. India loves sadism.

He would not educate the Indians to be proud of their nation. He would just torture them harder and define Indianhood for them!

I was after all, never given an opportunity to know my heritage of deep intellectual legacy. None of my textbooks ever brought alive debates that were once an integral part of my Indian society. I was never taught or made to realize the value and meaning of my national anthem. I was only made to memorize it! No textbook, ever told me about the free thought of Tagore that transcends all boundaries. It is ironic that the nation that initiated the world to philosophy and creativity  has now completely forgotten to think.

History was the most half hearted and neglected topic at school. Revolution was just another term that we by hearted. Classroom debates were unheard of. The only need was to ‘complete the syllabus’ and to finish the ‘notes’. I only learnt about the policies, never discussed them. There was never any element of romanticism about history and the endless stories that it narrates.

Humanities was seen as a substandard topic and there wasn’t any infrastructure for science beyond a point. And it all led me to the Indian fascination for mediocrity. My education system had space for everything except excellence. My country does not value excellence.

During the national Anthem, I felt angry. They applied all the fancy spices upon us and tried to make India look so delicious. However, like my meat, even this dish of nationalism remained uncooked and tasted awful!