Republic Watchword

new-image    The Thing about Republic day is that it is a holiday! Indeed. This may sound like an ironical situation right here but well, unintentionally today morning, while letting in specs of morning light into my room, I delved into my regular non-fiction reading sprees. This book I randomly picked up today was called ‘India from Midnight to the Millennium and beyond” by none other than Mr. Tharoor.

The book interesting started off with a quote by Churchill where he called India to be a mere geographical Expression, no more a single country than the Equator. The book then goes on to describe Tharoor’s own idea of India being a republic during his adolescent years. He narrated calmly, how he embarked onto a complaining voyage as soon as he was asked to pen down an article for a newspaper on the occasion of Republic Day.

Well, I cannot and will not be able to blame him for complaining and pointing out the very visible flaws existing in the democratic and republican system of ours. I too, with my spurts of awareness and observant analysis once in a while, end up being all morose and depressive about the blame worthy condition of my country.

We all write about the flaws and the violations, demoralized out of our senses regarding the growing intolerance in the country. While being at it, we play the blame game wonderfully charged up, all ready to throw tantrums in the very little ways we can.

Hence, this Republic day, I wanted to frame an almost positive note for us, for the ones who are disheartened and annoyed by the circumstances. I know we all are having a tough time in the world and our country has been within the ambit of ‘developing’ for far too long. I know and we know that it is not easy and human right violations and strange happenings are occurring more than ever, everyday. But this Republic Day we could try and keep some hope. Idealism does not work and skepticism is much accepted and better felt, but well, hope is all we might need, right now.


“Power, Protection or Prohibition”


With several movements cropping up once in a while and getting subdued even faster, human rights was and shall remain a ‘concern’. Having read the works of some of the greatest of the political philosophers, I have found repeated emphasis on natural rights and liberties of man, time and again. But, unfortunately I still feel the dire need of reminding people of ‘human rights’ not as a concept but as a necessity.

Arundhati Roy, an activist, a writer and a well-read human being, talks about how it is extremely disappointing for a writer to be having to harp on the same aspect over and over again. But, she as an activist, also does not step back for once and says that she is indeed ready to emphasize on re-telling stories of human right deprivation, if need be.

With the youth and the old, coming together time and again in order to rise up in unison regarding issues in Kashmir, I am often taken back to the informed opinions Arundhati Roy has always spoken aloud. A ‘hysterical’ woman, as she has been called, breaking traditions with her actions and words, has relentlessly fought for the 56 million people displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Project. She had stood by the Narmada Bachao Andolan, by not being someone against the notion of ‘development’ but by being brave enough to speak out about people’s faulty conceptions about development.

I remember, being left in awe as I was reading one time, how the building of the dams would not have served the very ‘real purpose’ for what they were being built. That this water would actually never reach the Kutch and the Saurashtra regions and would conveniently benefit the sanctioned sugar industries instead! Hence, the fight had never been against development but the question was indeed as to who the development was really being done for.

When talking of human rights, the fundamental question that I ask with my ‘pea-sized brain’ is whether decentralization and democracy are words that are anyway related to human rights or are they not!

When we talk about rights, are we talking about the ‘greater good of people’ or looking up at a cluster of individuals who lover ‘power’? When we are talking about human rights, are we really concerned or are we conveniently hiding ‘real actions’ under our bed sheets?

“On one hand you’re saying that the world is a global village. On the other hand governments spend millions and millions patrolling their borders with nuclear weapons”, says Arundhati Roy again. Our world is indeed made up of paradoxes and with irony clouding our minds; we may try to consider giving up the ‘reserved seats for women’ in the public buses while we talk about feminism at great lengths!

Silence is never an option maybe. Also, if rights for the very sake of it, is an option, then it is shameful indeed. Another question here could be, what rights do we really need and what are the ones we could give up? Are all rights we claim to ‘hold’ really needed or are they equally worth it, when there are millions of bodies craving for ‘right to life and livelihood’?

I think it is high time we start thinking, sleeping alone at night while romanticizing about the damp smell of grass, whether mocking human right violations in the name of ‘development’ and ‘security’ are things we are really looking for, inside our very own ‘global village’! Whether compromising the right to life to millions all over the world is a little more important than billions of rupees we waste organizing round table conferences for discussing ‘separation of power’!

Hence, let us get up and stop fooling ourselves in the name of development and security, because well, tomorrow the army may be knocking on our doors in order to displace us from our homes, you never know the exact route of ‘power politics’ darling! Marching on dewdrops has got to stop, sooner or later.

Thank You.