FREE INDIA: I BURNT YOUR HOUSE BECAUSE YOU BURNT MINE

Today is India’s 69th Republic Day.

69 years ago we gave ourselves the Constitution and swore to abide by it as honest, progressive and peace-loving citizens. 69 years hence we are doing everything but that.

We are now a nation that not only endures but covertly even encourages religious bigotry, self-righteous vandalism, myopic sexism and ruthless rioting. Certain sections of our citizens have learnt that the Constitution is actually a toothless tiger. Worse still, some of our countrymen believe that it exists only so that it may allow them the freedom to engage in vandalizing properties, killing their own countrymen, abusing each other’s religious sentiments, violating our men, women and children and terrorizing their own brethren over trivialities like a movie!

This anger in my writing is a reaction towards the fringe mob attack on a school bus which was conveying children to their homes. The mob was protesting the release of the controversial movie, Padmaavat, in Gurugram, India, and had preiously burnt a State Transport bus before setting eyes on the school bus. Those of you who yet do not know of the attack, please head to this link and see the horror for yourself. And those of you who want to know why there are protests over the movie Padmaavat, please click on this link.

Anger swamped me when I first saw the video on a news channel and I’m sure this is the same emotion that must have overcome you while you were watching that video through the link above. These were innocent, harmless children, some as young as 4 – 6 years old, who were heading home from school, while their bus was assaulted with stones and sticks by an unruly mob whose only reason to protest was the release of a movie that depicts a character from folklore…okay, maybe history, but that character is very much dead.

I repeat – this was a ‘moving school bus carrying children‘.

Thankfully there were no casualties, but what if there were? What if the driver got hurt while he was driving, leading to an accident… and deaths? How does attacking children resolve the issue for these rioters? Where do we draw the line between the right to protest and heedless vandalism? If you have watched the video you may have noted the newscaster’s anger and she is right in pointing out, ‘These could have been my children, these could have been your children’. But it’s not just about whose children these were. The bigger question is how do you justify attacking an alive human being over a piece of fiction?

Sometimes I feel freedom is wasted on us Indians because we don’t just misuse it, we abuse it. This is not the only case of abuse of freedom that we have seen within the last one year itself in India. The very start of the year was besmirched by the infamous mass molestation of women in Bangalore on New Year’s Eve, followed by equally shocking incidents like the inter-religious attacks over the beef ban issue, the Bhima Koregaon attack and the northern India riots over Godman Ram Rahim Singh’s rape conviction. But these are bigger transgressions in the name of freedom. How about everyday abuse of freedom – in the blatant violations of traffic rules; in our stubbornness in finding loopholes in the law; in our netas not only supporting but propagating vandalism and unlawfulness; in our ‘chalta hai‘ and ‘jugaadu‘ attitude for everything; in a person spitting or peeing on public property because he can and because there’s no one to put a check on him?

The above instances prove that we have not only no regard for the law, but also that it has become the agitated Indian’s habit to take to the streets and cause mayhem, sometimes going to the extent of drawing blood, in the name of religion, cult, culture and gender? Throughout these incidents, the Police were powerless, the governments inert while the opposition is either muckraking or fuelling the agitation.

What use is the Constitution? What use are these words contained in the Preamble:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and… FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation…

These are just words if we Indians do not internalize them and base our lives upon these ideals enshrined in the Constitution. My fellow Indians, remember, we are lucky that we have the freedom to do as we please, to go where we want, to worship who we want and to practice what we want. There are many other nations out there where freedom is not freedom in the real sense of the word; where you may be free to breathe, but death is considered a better option. Consider yourself lucky that you are born in a country where tolerance is not just an ideal but a way of life. But in your lust for freedom do not forget that you are part of a bigger thing – you are a nation. You, your beliefs and your actions are what shape your nation. The future of us, our children, will have the same beliefs as you do. Give them a better lesson than violence and intolerance.

Freedom does not mean that you do as you please. If every one of us was free to do as we pleased, we would have anarchy. Freedom comes with a responsibility – that of respecting the freedom and well-being of others. If you don’t respect the right’s of other’s, why will other’s respect your rights? If you have burnt someone’s house to the ground citing religious freedom as the reason, remember tomorrow your house could be the victim of someone else’s right to religious freedom.

Violence does not need a reason but remember that you only reap what you sow.

This Republic Day, let’s take a vow to be responsible citizens. To bring out differences and resolve them by dialogue and not violence. To practice freedom but not out of malice and indifference towards the freedom of others. To abjure inhumanity, intolerance and deviant behaviour that harms the people of this country and the ideals of our forefathers. Citizens, compatriots, this Republic Day vow to rise above your menial differences and become better human beings.

Jai Hind!

Image Source: Catchnews

WHY MY INDIA IS GREAT? THE REASONS WHY I LOVE MY COUNTRY SO MUCH…

I have been living in this country for last 40 years and more… And truly speaking I love this country called INDIA and I love its people, my fellow Indians.

“Mera Bharat Mahan!”

When I said that, I feel it and I love to share why I felt that way.

Early Morning Drama: Usually we wake up in the morning with a natural alarm clock when the birds sing and crows crow. But have you ever waken up with the noises of  women fighting over a bucket of water just outside your room? Its really fun watching the ladies shouting at the top of their voices fighting for their rights of a bucket full of water.

But the interesting fact is the same ladies will be gossiping, giggling and chit chatting with each other some other time.

DSCN7584Carefree Life: I have a picture which reflects the carefree attitude of few school girls having delicious Biriyani on the street. It’s not only about the kids but also the adults sometimes behave that way. I don’t think we will ever get that pleasure anywhere in this world. The carefree and “I don’t bother,” attitude is always invigorating.

Why I used the word ‘invigorating?’ Because the same carefree behaviour turns into serious drama the very next moment when somebody speaks against the people of the group chilling out on the street. Sometimes the carefree strength is used for positive dramas too.

Utter Simplicity: We lack mannerism. The simple fact is we never learnt that in our childhood and we find it very difficult to practice it in general. For example, if I say thank you for what I receive, the giver always protests why I said “Thank you.” Why the formality between the close relatives or friends? That mannerism is not acceptable in India or among the Indians. That sometimes is very moving. It shows our simple hearts. We don’t try to complicate things by mannerism and so called formalities. We love to be informal and simple.

But who can beat us in being hospitable? The way we show our hospitality from welcoming the guests, offering food to giving our best when somebody comes to our village, locality or home. Nowhere we can find this. Our hospitality will cross all mannerism in the world.

Togetherness & Brotherly feeling: This is the best part of my India. We love joint families. We love to gather together for party unnecessarily. We won’t find that family relationship anywhere else. The joint family culture is just so much fun and beautiful which is though fading away slowly. Sometimes we feel that we love to waste money on cheap emotions when we gather together but the importance of that is being felt in the long run in life. We have thousand reasons to come together over a feast. We enjoy our failures and joyous moments together. Isn’t that amazing?

Yet, when it comes to pay for a good cause we are always ready to raise fund.

Delicious & Different types of Food: We get the most delicious food in our country and may be the maximum types of dishes because of varied cultures with different cuisines from Kashmir in North India to Kanyakumari in South. We as Indians have the opportunity to taste all kinds of food. If we start naming them one by one then we need a whole blog to describe it with different posts.

There are many such aspects that I couldn’t mention in this one single article but all that make our India a great country and we are proud of it.

On a final note I can say, there are lot of things which we need to change in us and around us yet we have such fun, such beauty in all those that we lack. I have mixed feelings about the things I pointed out about India yet I love the very fact that I am an Indian and a proud one.

Jai Hind!!!

Stay Blessed!!!

A THOUGHT ON “3 SHADES” – AN INDIAN SHORT FILM

I love to watch motivational and inspirational videos. Youtube is such a site where lots of videos are available for us to watch, download and upload. Even I have a channel of my own with some very important videos for people.

Yesterday, I watched this video which gave me a thought which I would like to share with you all. The video title is “3 Shades” which is a short film. Have a look at it:

The little boy in the film could sell all his tri colour flags on 26th of January but couldn’t sell them the very next day on 27th.

What an irony!!!

Sometimes we get heated up with different issues coming up but as the time passes by we forget them and become very cold to even feel the need of thinking about the same issues. 

We look at the kids on the streets. Feel sympathetic towards them. Shake our heads. And walk on our ways in our own business.

We raise our voices on FB, Blogs, Twitters, Whatsapps and everywhere possible scolding the government, municipality, political leaders, other people for doing this or that. Then we forget and don’t even bother to do our part in that matter.

Keep thinking and keep creating awareness…

Stay Blessed!!!

REVISITING THE IDEALS OF TRUTH AND NON-VIOLENCE

Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian nation spearheaded the Indian struggle for freedom holding high the precepts of Satyagraha (Truth) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). Holding onto truth and offering passive resistance to the British Rule, Gandhi encouraged the freedom fighters to keep away from violence and bloodshed. The non-violent transfer of power from the British to the Indian hands in 1947 has marveled historians world over.

When the people of India represented by the Constituent Assembly constituted and gave to themselves a Constitution, they enshrined the ideals of JUSTICE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY and FRATERNITY. These ideals echo the Gandhian precepts of Satyagraha and Ahimsa and are meant to keep the citizens of a diverse India united against all odds.

In the rights-based world that we live in today, where every person hankers after his/her own rights, is it still possible to practise non-violence and hold on to truth? Wouldn’t we be labeled as failures and cowards who fear to retaliate? As being too naïve to deviate from what is true? This is after all a different day and age!

Hundreds of years before Mahatma Gandhi spoke of these values, Jesus Christ preached and lived them. So impressed was Gandhi in these values that he used them in his struggle against apartheid in South Africa and later on in his fight against the British in India. In the words of Gandhi, “The example of Jesus’ suffering is a factor in the composition of my un-dying faith in non-violence.” 

There we go! The age-old principles of more than two thousand years cannot become redundant in a post-modern world so easily. Civilization after civilization has passed by, dynasty after dynasty has passed by…yet these principles hold true even today. The immediate years post-independence were extremely challenging for a nascent India. Yet the ‘tryst with destiny’ that India made at that time has taken her a long way ahead.

As citizens of a free country every Indian ought to resolve to hold high the ideals of truth and non-violence which are not pathways of the weak but the gateways to greatness. To quote Gandhi again – “Seeming failure is not of the law of Satyagraha but of incompetence of the Satyagrahist by whatever cause induced…. The name of Jesus at once comes to the lips. His was non-violence par excellence.”

 

CYNICISM OF INDIA

A couple of days back I watched the movie “Airlift” and I was quite impressed. Impressed not just with the movie but also the people involved in the real incident that the movie was based on. In spite of minimal support from any Government, some volunteers manage to do one of the biggest evacuation programs in the world history – just to save their own people.

We all have met Indians who are absolutely resigned and cynical about how India is. They complain of bad infrastructure, hygiene, poverty, corruption and the list goes on. Some of those people choose to be in India and continue to complain about the governance, authorities and everything around them and there are others who choose to leave this country to go elsewhere and they continue to shame their own country on a foreign land.

Few months back, when I told some of my friends that I have given up my LPG subsidy because I really CAN afford the full cost of LPG cylinder, I got this reaction – Why should we give up our subsidy when the rich netas of this country eat in a highly subsidized parliament canteen? I just had one answer for them – What is the difference between me and those netas if I also choose to do what they are doing? Yes it is true that there is huge gap between how governance has been in India till date and what we expect out of a “decently good” government.

I live in Whitefield Bangalore and if you start following some news about this area of Bangalore, you will know that this place is a major IT hub of the city and has the most horrible infrastructure in the whole city. There is a NGO named Whitefield Rising which organizes volunteers to work with authorities to get some structure to this place. There are retired volunteers who have become traffic wardens and they stand in sun and pollution to manage the traffic for the whole day. There are kids and young adults who take up spot fixing projects on the weekends. Spot fixing is a project where they pick a spot that it dirtied by dumped garbage and they spend whole 2 days cleaning it and educating people around to not make that place a garbage dump again. There are hundreds of other volunteers who are working day and night to educate people on garbage segregation.

It moves me when I see thousands of Bangaloreans getting together to actually make their own place better. They choose not to blame the authorities and government while sitting in front of the television – they choose to make a difference.

Ask yourself – Are you a cynical and resigned person who believes ki “India ka kuch nahi ho sakta” or are you the one who has the courage to take things in your hands and make a difference in some form.

‘NAMASTE INDIA’ – AN INITIATIVE TO BRING PEACE & UNITY

Today evening I was watching a clip from a Bollywood movie “Namaste London” where movie star Akhsaya Kumar delivers a very powerful dialogue to a British man when the man tries to humiliate India by calling it the land of Snake Charmers and so on. There, Mr. Akhsaya Kumar starts & ends his dialogues with the most honorable way of greeting people – ‘NAMASTE’.

Although INDIA is one of the most emerging superpowers & the fastest growing economy globally, it has not lost it’s rich heritage & culture of nearly 5,000 years. There are innumerable factors for which Indians can feel proud & great world wide but still we follow the teachings & culture of our old Indian society. Whenever we see anyone elderly we greet them with folded hands and bowed heads, saying ‘NAMASTE’ out of respect and honour.

I feel this word ‘NAMASTE’ has a great analogy in the scripture – The Bible. The Bible tells us to humble yourselves to God & also to your fellow human beings, as Jesus Christ humbled Himself unto death on the cross. Humility is one of the many characters of Jesus Christ which He displayed to human beings before He was crucified. So as the children of God we need to be humble to God & also to our fellow human beings. 

Humility only comes when we have love for others in our heart. We can never boast or humiliate others for our own good. And God also hates pride & boastful people. Because it’s not a godly character rather it’s an evil character, which always discriminates & divides people and races.

Therefore to live together as one family & one village (Global Home), the first change we need to bring in ourselves is, “to humble ourselves even to the point of death.” Only when everyone starts practising humility surely we can live with peace & harmony.

India is land where we find UNITY among many DIVERSITIES. We have people from different castes, creeds & languages in India. Still we are able to live together & choose one government.

I being an Indian, pray on this 67th Republic day of my nation, “let this character of HUMILITY shine in every human heart irrespective of all the differences”.

I Thank GOD because I am an Indian & I wish all the Indians a very HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY !  

NAMASTE INDIA!

 

Avinash Das

LET US BE RESPONSIBLE

India has come a long way since its independence in 1947. It has been 67 years since it was recognized as a Republic which meant she was not a slave anymore. She was not to be ruled by a monarch but will be governed by the elected representatives chosen by her people.

Yes, every five years we vote for our trustworthy representatives to come to power in the hope of a better tomorrow. When our demands are not met we pick out on how irresponsible our government is. Well, to say there is zero effort on our part is untrue. We forget that the true power of a Republic lies in the hands of the people. Do our tasks end with elections? We certainly cannot complain without working to eliminate the errors in execution. Nevertheless, a handful of people still burn themselves out for India’s ideal state of freedom.

There are solutions within our thresholds for minute issues. We have to take the initiative of being responsible and not just leave it to the government to enforce it as a law, for example, ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyaan’. People began a journey towards a cleaner surrounding only when it was passed as a law! Wasn’t this taught to us decades before in school? It could have been spontaneous but sadly it never happens that way.

There were times when we felt the need to show solidarity for Paris attacks but how many of us even mentioned the sacrifice of our Jawans in the Pathankot attack in our talks? We changed our Facebook Profile Pictures to a tricoloured one to promote the digitisation of India but not in the memory of the people who put up a brave fight against the terrorists in Pathankot.

Its time friends we bring out the true meaning of Republic in us and do the minimum we can to be responsible. Maybe, then we will surely come a long way.