Once upon a time there was a little girl who thought her country was the greatest in the world. She would argue and preen and proudly proclaim that she was proud to be born into that country. The country that was older than the oldest civilization (no matter what history books said!), steeped in beautiful traditions and rich culture that gave its people roots and gifted with ancient values that taught its folks to be better human beings.
Till one day she grew up and realized that her country was dying. Dying because all that she was proud of was slowing disappearing, vaporizing into nothingness. All because the sons and the daughters of the country had no backbone.
There was no truth left, no values, no morality- nothing that made them human anymore. They would fight and claw each other, steal what they could for themselves, hurt others when they cannot, lie, cheat, corrupt and even kill. All they understood was the ugly power that they could possess over others by raping, hitting, abusing or killing and of course, the scent of money.
Nothing was left behind of the richness that she associated with her country, all that she had read in books, or had fathomed her countrymen to be. The warmth, the care, the effusive spontaneity and love that she had seen in the people around her, were reduced to fear and cruelty.
From the other side, the grass did not glow green anymore. The lure of home still pulled at her but it scared her, what she would discover- what it had become. The grass had turned yellow in her sights, parched, dry and fading.
Once, she was angered when she had read these words by Winston Churchill,
“Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air and water would be taxed.”
Today, she’s sad that in full consciousness, we made his words come true. The freedom for which our ancestors had laid down their lives- all to ensure that we were born into a free country- was a victory in vain. In their quest for a liberated future, they hadn’t known that it would be their sons and daughters who would destroy their country.
The Britishers may have enslaved us, but they had also made India a whole country. They had served as force against which we, irrespective of languages, religions, castes, color or region, had stood united once. Today, in our hands, it has started breaking up into pieces again, all the while refusing to stand up for itself to the world outside, or even protect its own, as foreign powers gnaw at it from all sides. We bicker, we fight, we duel amongst ourselves and we weaken from within. We cry in despair, we complain but we do nothing. Or we are scared and helpless to do anything.
And while we think of our beautiful country as it was, as it could be and then visualize the ruin that it is becoming, I wonder- after all, at the end of the day how many of us are Indians, and not what our mother tongue or our religion dictates us to be?
No one needs to bother about destroying India, we are doing a pretty good job ourselves.
P.S. For the first time in my life, painfully, August 15th meant nothing to me. Are we really free? -G.