An “Open Letter” to my Fellow Indians on the eve of “Independence Day”

My Dear Fellow Indians,

First, let me congratulate you on the eve of Our Independence Day. Wish our hard earned Independence from the tyranny and suppression lasts long and we discover ourselves in  a country without hunger, terrorism and corruption in everyday life.

Like every human being, I too have a life, and a desire for a peaceful and “Independent Life”. Unfortunately, the current political system and state of affairs do not allow me to have a life of my own – without fear of coming back home when I step out, without fear of losing my life’s saving when I invest, without fear of getting cheated by our Ministers and Politicians, without fear of getting killed or kidnapped by the Maoists if I travel to “Malkanagiri” or “Similipal” or “Dantewada“, without fear of getting a fake degree if I take admission into a college, without fear of getting raped or kidnapped when I roam around in our national capital “New Delhi“, without getting targeted by a section of people and media if I am a Hindu or Muslim or Sikh, without getting labeled by my fellow Indians that I am a “Chinki” if I am from the north-eastern states, without fear of loosing my life and job if I am from Bihar and UP when I am in “Mumbai“, without getting targeted by the Mafias and Babus if I file an RTI and without being thrown out from private schools and hospitals if I am a poor.

Friends… the recent incidents such as 2G or ISRO or Adarsh scams, land grabbing by politicians in name of trusts and charity, CWG mess, siphoning taxpayers’ money in the name of development and other schemes in various states, dividing India in the name of regionalism and religion, nexus of judiciary, layers and politicians, slow and inactive steps of our Police and CBI, populist schemes to attract votes have really shaken the faith of every Indian like me on the political, judiciary, educational and structural systems of India. It is indeed a mater of concern –  for you, for me, for our future generation and for every Indian.

Then… should we allow ourselves to be ruled and governed like this? Don’t we think a change is required at this stage? How can we justify and console ourselves every day when we get hurt, when we are cheated, when we are thrown out by the police in the midnight, when we are taken for granted for every thing – in the parliament, in the cabinet meetings, in the press briefings! Our freedom is at stake, our life is in danger and our survival is in jeopardy.

Do you think that the country which is famous for its “youth” will present itself to the future like this? Do we have any remedy for these kind of short-term and long-term diseases?

Yes, we have, but it is not easy and cheap. It is difficult and sometimes very costly. The solution is just another struggle for independence; a fight for our survival, a fight for our dignity and a fight for our future. Remember, this fight is not against any one else, it is against our “chalta hai” attitude, against our own people; it is a fight of our inner strength against ourselves and against the pseudo-systems – cultural, communal and social. It has to start from the family through right teachings of life and value system, and from the very own “I and you — We“.  Neither the blame game nor the pahle aap and pahle aap can help here. We may have to pay a heavy price in terms of life, money, time and peace for this. It is not free..

A change in attitude and look is necessary; may take a long time for a change, be it short-term or long-term. Another Rang de Basanti….

On the very first Independence Day when Pundit Nehru addressed the nation, he addressed with hope, a sense of fulfillments and sense of achievement.

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance …. We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again.     

Pundit Nehru (15th Aug, 1947)

Friends, he (Punditji) was right on his own way and at that moment; as the first Prime Minister of India, to architect India and the future of Indians. Sixty Five years have passed… and we are still discovering and re-discovering ourselves!!! “independent” is just another metaphor in public speeches.

Hope and wish India and Indians wake up to a dignified life and true freedom – their “birth right“.

Jai Hind!

Moral Policing in India – a Reflection

Hey, you know! … Soli Didi and Bandhan Jiju had come today to our hostel!

Wow!! Really! how sweet :).you know.., four years back on this day, Bandhan Jiju had proposed Soli Didi in front of our hostel gate.

Really! so romantic..

Quite interesting! These were some of the conversations between two valentine day girls which I overheard on my way from the department to my hostel in the tum-tum.While the tum-tum had reached our hostel, both the girls were busy calling their valentines, and I was on my way to my room. I was just wondering and thinking about the scene of Bandhan Jiju proposing Soli Didi in the broad day light in front of the hostel gate. Thank God!, it was four years back, the moral policing team was not that active. Had it been the case today, he would not have dared to propose in front of the hostel gate.

Last month, I was on a two days trip to Khopoli and some near by places with my family and friends. On the night when I reached Khopoli, I came across with the Mangalore pub beating story on TV. I could not believe my own eyes, where are we? and in which century? How can people beat young girls in the name of moral policing? Living in a liberal or in a Taliban world? When Taliban was doing such kind of moral policing in Pakistan and Afghanistan, we the people in India had raised our voice and named those incidents as barbaric, violation of human rights, hooliganism…; then, what happens today in the form of Mangalore attack? Not that people did not protest such kind of hooliganism, but looks like the level of protest is confined to media only! Is media the only rescuer in such kind of incidents? Are the common people merely mute spectators?

Immediately after that incident, Chief minister of Karnataka had made statements that their government will take strong measures against such kind of incidents. BJP president had to rush to Bangalore too and it became a war between the political parties in the Media glare. Political rivalries were important to the so called law keepers of our society. The event was used by the parties to get their own equations straight. Quite interestingly, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan also joined in the fray, making statements that he too will not allow pub culture in his state. Even the Union Health Minister wants that. Yes, stop that pub culture. But, start from your family and let the ministers and the high ranking officers stop going to the pubs. The pubs are not that accessible to the middle class people, forget about the lower strata. They can’t even afford to avail this. In cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore most of pubs are status symbols. People of high class, rich back ground (only) come for fun. Liquor and other kind of drugs are very common among the pub goers. Most of the black money business and underworld dealings happen through these pubs. Do these so called politicians and law keepers dare to stop these high-end pubs? No. This is because, they are mostly into it. Then the question arises: what is wrong with the common man going to a pub? and why do you police them?

If you analyze closely then you can see that neither pub culture nor moral policing are the root causes of these incidents. These are just the side effects of the disturbed family life of modern India. When the young force does not get the culture and family value at the family level, then these kind of incidents are bound to happen. When both the parents are busy in money making and parties, how do they expect their children to learn social life and their cultures? The joint family system has gone and so is the family bonding. Parents do not have time for their kids and mostly think of giving pocket money instead of quality time, and the kids have enough pocket money to get into such kind of activities. In most of the cases the differences in the family life and the disturbances in every day life results in further disturbances in social relations.

In India, male members of the families used to be the only bread earners. Time has changed and so has the equation. Female members are earning and some times even more than their male counter parts. Instead of staying back at home all the time, they (female members) too have started moving and enjoying in the new world. Young girls instead of spending time in house-hold work are spending time in other activities, at par with young boys, be in study or sports or entertainment. This is good and is a positive move of the society. Over and above, every one thinks that (s)he is free and independent. Yes, every one is independent, but that independence too has some responsibilities. Responsibility to behave and to act cautiously. You earn, that does not mean you will involve yourselves in un-lawful activities. True education, family cultures and the social get together are required to shape the youth (either sex), not the way it is happening now.

In the fast changing world, we too have to cope up with our needs. Educational institutions need to teach moral value and the basic sex education (it is still a big debate in India). The curriculum have to be changed as per need, not as per the political compulsions. Let the young boys and girls enjoy and live as per their interest. Don’t force them, rather help them to choose their way of life. Help them to opt for a healthy life with moral values and culture. This requires basic restructuring of the family life and the education system. In most of the colleges in South India, boys even can’t talk to girls during college time. If the moral police of the college finds students of other sex talking to each other, they are heavily punished and some times debarred from the college. Some time back VC of a reputed university (Anna University) of Chennai had made an order which stopped young girls wearing jeans and T-Shirts saying that it distracts studies. Will Chudidars help in bringing concentration in studies? I doubt. Enforcing dress code is not the solution, rather a problem. Let the young mass learn what to wear and what not! Yes, I agree that minis and micros should not be allowed in educational institutes. Then so is the Nikkars and Burmundas 🙂 Those too distract 🙂 …

Saying that most of the problem can be sorted out at the family level, I do not discount the society. We are social beings and we should abide to the social practices. If some thing goes wrong (which is very subjective), then that can be rectified in Gandhigiri manner, not through moral policing. The society has right to object, but not through vandalism and hooliganism. There is a system (judiciary and police department) in place and let that takes care of the law-and-order and the obscenity, if any. It is true that Police department does not do any such moral policing in general (in certain cases, yes, they do moral policing and is a subject of discussion), but then the law in India is enough to stop some one doing obscenity in public. Let the system in place takes care in a law-full manner, not the way Sainiks and Senas act. Who gave them the power and right to stop the people and create problem in the society? Look at this video which a citizen journalist has recorded when the so called messiah of the local people had stopped and threatened some of cyclists in Bangalore. Do these people understand any thing? I doubt! It’s not the only incident. South Indian actress Khusboo and Tennis Star Sania Mirza too were attacked in public (and even cases were registered against them in courts), just because they spoke about safe sex. Not only the political parties and some so called moral police of the society made this an issue, but also they resorted to violence until the Court intervened. Even the health minister succumbed to political compulsions.

Moral policing at present in India is unbearable. Every one thinks, that he/she is the guardian of the society and has the right to humiliate people in public in the name of moral policing. In the recent past, there were reports of a young girl who committed suicide in Mangalore because of the Moral Policing. In cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Mangalore, Bangalore, Jaipur, Kolkata, either the Senas or the Sainiks have been terrorizing the youth in the name of moral policing. If they see a young boy and girl together in a mall, or in a college, they simply beat them and humiliate them in public, and most of the times even without knowing their relationship. The moral policing has gone so far, even young siblings can’t roam and go together; they beat brothers and sisters too. On days like Valentine’s day, New Year’s day, X-MAS, Diwali or Holi one even can’t think of going out with his sister or fiancée or even with his wife, forget about spending some time in a park or beach. Reason, moral policing in place. What they say… stop celebrating Valentine’s day in India. Why? It is not Indian culture? Which Indian culture are they talking about? Wife-beating, raping in public places, killing female fetus in womb, rash driving in the late night killing common man, or beating mercilessly people of other state in the name of desivad? Is that Indian culture? If they are really concerned about India and its future, let them do some thing against poverty and corruption. Farmers in Vidarbh, Kalahandi, Baster, Chhatarpur, Murshidabad, Baran and Tea estates of Assam need their support, not the young mass at Mumbai or Kolkata.

Saying all these things and opposing the acts of moral policing, I do not support vulgarism or indecent behavior at the public places in the name freedom or independence. But, let the system in place (law) acts, not the moral police. Let us act in a different way and start rebuilding the society from family levels — no structure is strong without a strong foundation.

Aamjunta be watchful against moral policing. Your and your family’s life might be in danger….

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