Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fight Against Stranglehold on our thoughts and freedom

As an arbit Indian, I am more concerned about the daily chores of my life than that of building a temple or any such issues. I am more willing to debate about the bread and butter issues than issues that drive men like sticks drive sheep. I am very skeptical of emotive issues and hijacking of right to define nationalism or any religion and culture. Such attempts leave me completely helpless. In the name of protecting religion women are raped, foetus are sliced and heritage and spiritual monuments are destroyed[1], young boys and girls are humiliated and lead to commit suicide[2] and no one dares to question how it help in protecting one's religion? In the name of nationalism stones are pelted at Anjali Wagmare[3] for representing Ajaml Kaasab in court. Can I dare to ask how is delaying the procedure of justice and hence delaying the pronouncing of the sentence on Ajmal Kaasab nationalism? In the name of protection of "culture" girls are beaten at pubs[4], we are not allowed to celebrate any festival that is not considered "Indian"[5], we are not allowed to visit parks or any public place, Charlie Chaplin's statue cannot be put up on the beach[6]. Can I dare ask who gives you the exclusive right to define culture and enforce it on others?

Why cant we let our country awake "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where Knowledge is free;
Where World has not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the deary desert of dead habit;
Where the mind us led forward by thee into ever widening though and action;"

Why do we forfeit our intellectual freedom to define and redefine culture, nationalism and religion according to our rationality. The culture is what we are today and not a moribund entity that was frozen five thousand years ago. Our land is blessed to be an ocean where cultures from all over the world fill into and mix forgetting their identity but always adding their flavor to things. We are the only nation in the world that has the privilege to enjoy the best of so many cultures. We can listen to any music form from classical to sufi to rock. We can relish so many cuisines from Kashimiri to South Indian to Muglai. We are the only nation in the world that benefits from more than 5 different medicinal systems whether it is the old Ayurvedic or Unani or Acupuncture or Yoga or Homeopathy or modern system of medicine. We are the only nation in the world where we have the choice to wear anything from lungi's to salwar to jeans. We are the only nation in the world where we can learn philosophy from so many view points and look holistically at theology. We are the only nation in the world where we can say that the major problems of the world have been pondered at length here and solutions to them have been found. We are the only nation in the world that can claim to modern and yet deeply connected with the past traditions. Why shall we leave all this to accept a narrow view of Indianess or our religion or culture. Why shall I fall in league with Taliban when I can make the world envy about the richness of my culture, nation and religion. I want to make every day of the year special by celebrating every possible festival in the world and imbibing in the society the good message the festival promotes. I want to celebrate Holy, Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Easter, Guru purv, Navroz, Guru Poornima and Valentines day with equal fervor. Am I doing harm to my culture by doing this? Am I going against my religion for wishing so? If it is so then I may not like to follow the religion that prohibits me from the same. I want to be friends with every person I meet irrespective of his/her religion. I want to learn about the answers different religions and holy men provide to the deep problems of life and ponder on them. I want to experience the full range of cultural tastes which I am fortunate to get in this country. Am i Wrong in wishing so?

7. Gitanjali

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