GIVE MY COUNTRY BACK
I was born years back. I was born in a free country. My parents, elder siblings, some relatives, and may be some neighbours as well must have rejoiced at my birth. I am not very sure they did the right thing. Today, years later, past the prime of my life, I search for a country for my yet to be born grand children and I don’t find any. I don’t feel sure that it will be an occasion to rejoice if and when they are born.
Today millions of my brethren are without work. Millions of them are hungry. They all deserved to have a decent life, a life in a just and equitable society. A life in which they could have work, they could have food, they could have freedom, they could love, they could be loved. They belonged to the land and the land belonged to them as much as it belongs to you and me. I can’t be sure whether my grand children won’t have the misfortune of one like these unfortunate millions. You can’t be sure.
When I read the news of Ashok Khemka, the IAS officer in Haryana, who exposed the irregular land deals by one belonging to the ruling family, being charge sheeted again and again, and see no anger or appropriate reaction in the media or in and by the known stalwarts of the society, political or apolitical, I know there is no country around me, only a cluster of people. Left to fend for himself, his is not an isolated case. Examples of Sanjiv Chaturvedi, the forest service officer, and Durga Shakti Nagpal, another IAS officer are not very old. The public servants doing duty in the interest of the public are hounded by those elected by the public to serve the public and the public looks on, the other thousands of self serving public servants look on. Certainly a circus, not a country.
When I find Baba Ramdev, who has been devoting his time and energies for the good of the masses for years, being hounded, and find absence of any sympathy for him in the civil society at large, I know there is no country anymore. I know there is only a fiefdom, and a cluster of people in that fiefdom. A god man is allowed to amass untold wealth and run sex rackets for years. But as soon as he sins to open his mouth against a particular family, all his sins come out in the open, and he becomes the greatest sinner within the boundaries of my country. Now I know I am allowed to say whatever I like only till I am not perceived as a threat to that fiefdom. The day that happens, my hounding will also begin, and I shall hardly be able to defend myself.
When our soldiers are butchered and we keep mum or don’t react appropriately, I know country has been lost somewhere.
I read the columns by the renowned and seasoned journalists. One day they tell me how one political party and its leaders are bad. The next days they tell me how the other political parties and their leaders are bad. There is no political party or leaders that are not bad. And only one or other party and their leaders can rule me and you, and will rule you and me. The seasoned journalists don’t tell me what the way out is. Beyond giving some superficial sermons, they are not bothered what the way out is. If they were bothered, they would have thought of a way out. They would have pestered the society with that way out. They are men of blood and flesh, and have been gifted with brains. They are not bothered about the country; they are bothered about their egos and their finances. Probably they have accepted the fact that there is no country. Probably they are happy with the fact that there is no country.
Newspapers must publish daily, and are published daily. They must carry the headlines and they carry the headlines. The utter non-sense uttered daily by the rogue parties and the rogue leaders (their rogue character having been conveyed to me earlier by the same newspapers) must form the headlines and forms the headlines. We are left to judge who was more effective in continuous exercise of calling others names and we make our judgment, and then vote for the more effective one as we could judge. We go ahead and celebrate democracy and our voting right. If I want to convey something sensible to my countrymen, I can’t as I am neither a celebrity nor renowned. Newspapers shouldn’t and don’t act as my mouthpiece or your mouthpiece since we are unknown; these should be and are the mouthpieces of the known on daily basis even if they happen to be first rate rogues.
Flaring of communal passions of the masses to serve own interest by these rogues was never as open and as blatant as has been in recent times, more so by those who have got the tag of secular hung around their necks. They are not bothered that left to ourselves, I and you are not interested in knowing the religion of our next door neighbours, we are interested only in their conduct.
A couple of years back some activists emerged on the national scene as saviours of the country and gave a lot of hope to aam aadmi (common man) like me. They disintegrated earlier than the rogues would have wished. The gods started fighting among themselves rather than with the demons, to the delight of the latter. A retired Judge of Supreme Court recently discovered that the ends of justice would be best served in the country if a particular distinguished convict was pardoned, even though thousands of other mortals continued to languish in jails without trial. The President also saw merit and considered it worthwhile to examine the matter. It was evident to me that there was no hope for the country from the quarters from which it should have.
How easily we deceive ourselves in thinking that some particular person will become Prime Minister and suddenly everything will be rosy? Deceiving ourselves so, we continue to accept what we must not. We deceive ourselves by abusing our leaders, chosen earlier by us, and continuing to be the self-seekers ourselves. We have to come out of our deeply ingrained self deception. Not easy but necessary.
The young visionary Bhagat Singh had a family, but laid down his young life for a purpose, for a country. A country, that doesn’t exist anymore. What exists today is only a large cluster of self seekers.
But I must have hope, for my children and grand children. You must have hope, for your children and great grand children. So I appeal to you, my dear countrymen, as someone made of blood and flesh, whether a journalist, or a judge, or a bureaucrat, or a politician, or an aam aadmi , to give me my country back, to give yourself your country back. When the holocaust strikes, and strike it must sooner than later if we continue the way we have been doing, it will not distinguish between the perpetrators and those who suffered at the hands of the perpetrators. It will have no distinction between the haves and the have-nots.
You have got to get the country back! We have got to get the country back! Before I die. Before you die. Before it is too late.
- one among us