Quite early in the morning. I open the newspaper. And it shocks me: ” Sushma Swaraj no more” (1952-2019). For a vulnerable human being like me, it is not easy to come to terms with this uncertainty. Yes, she was active, alert and immensely ideological. Even on Tuesday (August 06) at 7.23 PM she posted a congratulatory message on Twitter:
Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this in my lifetime.
प्रधान मंत्री जी – आपका हार्दिक अभिनन्दन. मैं अपने जीवन में इस दिन को देखने की प्रतीक्षा कर रही थी. @narendramodi ji – Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 6, 2019
But then, even when parliamentarians debate, shout and assert, and the might of the state makes it difficult for us to know anything about the Kashmir valley and its inhabitants, the mystery of existence or the power of the unknown refuses to bow down. None can control it. Power, army, state: everything stops, as the final moment comes. Heart attack – AIIMS – Best Doctors. Yet, it happened.
Even though I am not in tune with her politics, I keep seeing her–yes, she was graceful; she took her job quite seriously; and even though the all-pervading Prime Minister made all his colleagues irrelevant, her presence used to remind us of some sort of parliamentary ethos–the trace of humanistic gestures.
Yes, the politicians would speak of her; newspapers would publish obituaries; and the state would honour her. But then, seldom do we learn anything from the mystery of death – the temporality of the phenomenal body, the futility of egotistic pride, or the absurdity of narcissism.
See the way our politicians are intoxicated with power – the power to rule, the power to eradicate the ‘enemies’, the power to silence the dissenters. Yes, see the magic of maya – army generals salute you, the traffic stops as your convoy takes you to the airport, television channels show you 24X7 – your aura, your boldness, your charisma, your power; and possibly, you begin to believe that you are immortal. But then, everything withers away. Nothing remains–this body, this ego, this ahamkara.
However, if with awakening we realize the nature of this illusory game, our existence will acquire a new meaning. With the realization of the futility of ego, we see the fountain of love; we realize the meaning of gratitude, the beauty of humility. Imagine a situation. You know that you will die; even the entire army, or the entire team of the best doctors of the world cannot make you immortal; even if death is postponed for some time, there is no escape from it. And then, you would find a close affinity with a Kashmiri woman who is anxious, worried, and fears that her son too might die in an ‘encounter’.
Yes, in the Infinite we all would meet – ’emperors’ and ‘beggars’, ‘nationalists’ and ‘terrorists’, ‘leftists’ and ‘rightists’, ‘ministers’ and ‘tea vendors’, and ‘television stars’ and ‘Kashmiri students’.