Ladyz, gentlemen, mitron, lend me your ears (arrey, kaan nahin kaatiye, bus suniye — I know we’ve got mighty handy with cutting of late)
I come to bury the Idea of India (which Indira put on ventilation many years back, and now Shri PMji is putting to permanent sleep), not to praise it.
The grandiose idea (secular amidst multiple ancient religions) birthed by the likes of Gandhi-Nehru,
was a stillbirth when Gandhi was assassinated within the first year of independent India (achhe din version 1.1)
But Nehru slapped it into some semblance of life, and let it be. Siri PMji
has told you the Idea of India was bogus:
A Hindu land, Hindu from the golden age of the Vedas, what you mean sickular?
And grievously has India answered it.
Here, under leave of Shri PMji and the rest —
For he is Hindu, Bharat varsha is Hindu;
As is his party of all Hindu men and some (Hindu) women —
Come I to speak in ‘Idea of India’s’ funeral.
I learnt of the Idea of India in my Civics class when I by-hearted the Preamble to our Constitution;
But Shri PMji and his Godse-loving party insists it is an invalid idea;
And Shri PMji has a vision for achhedin and an army of bhakts (so stay in line, I must.)
The idea of India brought many glories to our nation:
An ancient civilization! the world’s largest democracy!
Home to all world religions! Home of non violence!
Did this seem invalid?
Yet Shri PMji says India is for Indians (and Babur-ki-aulad types shush!),
Cent percent Hindu, if Brahmin, better,
If male, even more so.
I speak not to disprove what Shri PMji and his Bhajapa speak (and promise and trump about Make in India and the din of achhedin)
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love the Idea of India once, not without cause:
(You rioted at regular intervals — 1984, 1992, 2002 — but regained sanity, as if realizing that the good of India lay in a collective good)
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for the Idea of India?
Which Tagore described as ‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,’
Which the Preamble (yes, that dusty old tarp that refuses to die, for me at least, a minority twice over: woman and Sikh) promised?
O judgement! thou art fled to an army of trolls,
And men who will protest the plight of fictional women,
And behead, burn and film a poor laborer because he’s Babur-ki-aulad,
(Never mind that there are 500 years between the two, and hey, in the meantime we had the English too!) Bear with me;
My heart is there in the coffin with the Idea of India,
With Tegh Bahadur who gave his life for the Kashmiri Brahmins,
With the widows and children of ’84 who are still awaiting justice at the hands of their Hindu brethren,
With the women of India who must endure because they are not fictional or mythological but all too real,
With the Muslim woman who raised me, the Catholic nuns who taught me, my Hindu and Sikh family,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
And here, Mr Shakespeare, I must take your leave and recall one of my favorite poets,
Bahadur Shah Zafar, beleaguered in Burma, who recalling his motherland India, waxed:
Bahut lambi hain raahein pyaar ki, aur zindagi kum hai …
So long are the paths of love and hope, they oft outrun our lives.
So hope I must, even as I mourn…
© Manreet Sodhi Someshwar