Sunday, 21 February 2016

India: A nation that still couldn't be!

What is India, our country, our homeland? How do we define it? How do we characterize it? How do we put its essence in words? Is it our cultural diversity that we should forever be proud of? Or is it the barbaric savagery of dowry, female feticide, repression and hypocrisy that many of the same cultures stand for. Is it the varied landscape and opulent natural treasures that we are endowed with, or is it the ruthless extirpation of the same we seem to be carrying out incessantly? Is it our stultifying struggle for freedom that saw many martyrs getting slayed for the sake of their progeny's independence, or is it their idiosyncratic good for nothing progeny that doesn't even understand what freedom and independence are? Yes, I guess in the current scenario, that's the best way to put the plight of our nation's identity crisis.

Do we even know what freedom is, before we could go out on the streets, puffing our chests in conceit, hurling abuses at the nation and its institutions, because we think we are exercising freedom of speech. Can we ever gauge the price that has been paid for it? Or can we ever envisage what those who fought for it believed it shall bring with it?

Freedom in absolute terms can have many notions. It can range from the ideals of liberty that form the bulwark of a democracy, to the carte blanche that defines hippie trails. Many believe that the core essence of freedom is subjectivity, but then where does it leave the veracity of the institutions? It's here that we have to understand the real gravity of the problem that lies in what a lot of young 20 odd olds have suddenly started demanding. And also, what the venerable Mr. Arvind Kejriwal demanded before he went on to become a part of what he once castigated.

Freedom of any country has its own character and flavor. Take the United States for example. Their idea of freedom is actually a palimpsest of many successive masonic presidents. And hence the nation today stands for progress and unbridled superiority. After all, masonry in itself had its roots in establishment of a brotherhood that could withstand the crusade of oppressive Catholicism. That's what their freedom is like. A nation, that no doubt gets involved in financial debauchery and diplomatic promiscuity at a gargantuan scale, but a nation that has still allowed many a men to dream that they can change the world, and so they did. Now what exactly is our idea of freedom then?

Is it the freedom astronauts like Rakesh Sharma and Kalpana Chawla exhibited when they dreamt of literally challenging the adage of skies being the limit, or the freedom exercised by a bunch of university rookies who instead of progressing among the ranks of a well defined system of inclusion in the political fraternity, thought of howling and whimpering and using the short cut to sure shot fame?

 Is it the freedom that a pauper from the "excessively oppressed" and literally "endangered minority" of Muslims exercised when he took upon himself to buttress the country's armory with unmatched missile power, predominantly against a nation whose terror frenzy is led by Islamic fundamentalism? Or is it the freedom that a lot of Muslims enshrine in their self proclaimed righteous freedom struggle for Kashmir, a piece of land where many of them also used that kind of freedom to slaughter Kashsmiri Pandits and soldiers alike. 

Is it the freedom manifest in the martyrdom of many a jawan whose valor and blood formed the foundation of the formidable Jat regiment of the Indian army? Or is it the cohort of rogue jobless boys, who in the name of seeking reservations for their Jat community, demolish public property and disrupt usual activity, thereby defiling the sanctity of the profound status that their own forefathers achieved for them?

Is it the freedom in the pride that the premiers of our armed forces take at the salvo for a martyr like Hanumanthappa or the way they ensconce it in their distinct regalia at the republic day parade? Or is it the freedom the CM of the national capital exercises when he attends such a parade in flip flops just to express his own allegiance to his humble roots in being an 'Aam Aadmi'?

What exactly is this 'freedom' that is duly mentioned many times in documents of our constitution? Is it something that we use to fight against all odds and to build an edifice, or is it what we use to simply say someone else's magnum opus is tainted and hence should be torn down? Can we really exercise right to free speech while we at the same time we tirade certain institutions whose very job is guarantee that freedom? Can we really believe that freedom is tantamount to Eleutheromania, whereby our zest for freedom is juxtaposed on both our ability to question anything, and the amnesty of our constitution to allow that? Or is it the realization that being free is as much about being responsible for proper conduct of it?

In the end, it's worth noting that the institutions are much more fragile and perishable than one may think. After all, it was "We, the people" who gave the constitution to 'ourselves'. The institutions too were set up by us to ensure that the freedom was ensured along with the sovereignty and integrity of the nation, to which a superfluous and debilitating secularism was added later on. The day we take freedom outside this context, all the institutions shall cease to exist, and we'll have the kind of untrammeled freedom that no one shall have seen before. And we shall also have the freedom to call that bloodbath and rampage a constituent of freedom, till the day when there shall be no Indian left to realize how stupid we really were. We are India. We attained our independence 69 years ago, became a republic 66 years ago, and yet we are a nation, that simply couldn't be!

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