To be an independent country where one enjoys – the right to equality, right to freedom, right against exploitation, right to freedom of religion, cultural and educational rights, right to property and right to constitutional remedies is something of great value for all of us Indians who were born into a free country. Over the years, this has been very specific and unique to us. We have perhaps taken it for granted.
For us this has been both our beauty and our strength. With these rights we as a country have progressed and have made great highway, thanks to the leadership that paved the way to put us on the International map. The diversity of India – our Motherland has been something that made us proud. Travel extensively from North to South; East to West, you will simply be enamoured by this wealth which is so sacred.From childhood and in school, we were never bothered about who our partner, sharing our desk was or which community, religion, caste he/she belonged to. She/he was just another Indian; just another human being, we enjoyed the innocence of children, partook of festivals, ate from each other’s tiffin and life was so beautiful. It was so common to visit our friends and be up to all kinds of pranks which little children often got into.
Today, when I look around and see what‘s happening, I am saddened because the innocence of children is being tampered with.Instead of them learning for themselves from life, from their experiences they are being indoctrinated by hatred, suspicion and evil. The seeds have been so badly embedded in their hearts that the innocence of children is lost and not only innocence but they are being robbed of their childhood.What stories will they share with their children and grandchildren? What will give them the happiness of the memories of their growing up years? We are losing a whole generation, that will, I’m afraid grow up with divisiveness within them instead of unifying them and this is what we are on the brink of losing.
We still have the time to change the course of events, if only we can sit down and reflect on what are some of our treasures. It is up to the grownups of this generation to say NO to VIOLENCE; to say NO this is not what I want my children to learn. The onus is on us. Somehow, the so called learned who are married to a party; to an ideology have become blinded to see the richness and beauty of diversity. They are the ones who are more to blame. Just a handful of people 10% of India’s population cannot call the shots; they cannot be on the top all the time, the law of nature always shows us the reverse. The venom that is being spread among people who have lived as good neighbors, lived like good friends, lived like families has all been shaken up, just for a few power mongers whose only agenda is to divide people on the basis of religion.
Religion is the opium of the people, said Marx and somehow this is being played into sadly by people at the helm of affairs. Religion is something private to be practiced individually; unfortunately we have got all things mixed up. Dividing people on the basis of religion is destructive to the very fabric of our country and we who uphold these as a value need to do all in our power to safeguard it.
Governance is not about religion; it’s not about being at power for one’s own personal agenda; it’s not an abuse of people’s trust for your ideology. People who are in power are so insecure that they are using both their power and people’s money to ensure that they remain in power not to govern but to appease a few 5% people of this biggest democracy. This is a sheer violation of our Indian Constitutional values which have been handed down to us by our forefathers.
Through this piece of writing it’s a humble appeal to all people who have this narrow understanding of loyalty; narrow understanding of governance to rise above these petty selfish desires. This not what the tall office of governance calls you to become. India is social sovereign republic and the first vital part of governance is to bring those who are on the periphery to the centre. To work with and for those who have been denied human dignity and respect.
I would like to conclude with the famous words of Rabindranath Tagore:
Where the mind is without fear; and the head is held high;
Into that Heaven of Freedom my Father, let my country Arise…”
Where the world has been broken into tiny fragmented pieces…
Into that Heaven of Freedom, my Father, let my country Arise…
Dorothy Fernandes is the Founder of Aashray Abhiyan that works for the right to shelter among the disadvantaged people. She is based in Patna.