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Confession of a Despairing Father

Not long ago, a despairing father made a confession to me.

 

His face was a landscape of opposing shades of despair and anger. With every inch of his face tense and animated, he said to me: “I must confess that never before had I said those words or their like. And the day I said them, my ears just couldn’t believe themselves! For they heard me saying to my 13 year old daughter, the words, ‘Beta, I had always dreamt that you would grow up to be a great Indian woman. I had always tried to sow in you a sense of national pride and dreams of doing something great for our nation. I always imagined you to be like a sharp edged sword cutting off corruption and other social evils in our great country. But today, with much pain in my heart, I say to you that you should get out of this country as soon as you can. For there is nothing left here!’”

He read the surprise on my face and continued, “You would be wondering in what context I said those ugly words? Well, the context was, and still is that of fear, insecurity, madness, chaos, corruption, helplessness, utter disregard for human dignity and hypocrisy. And just think about it that in spite of all this rottenness, we have our hypocritical slogans and talks about our greatness! It makes me despair and it makes to angry.”

The words did shock me then. But they also clearly portrayed to me a despairing father who on the one hand loved his motherland and on the other had to think about the safety and future of his children. Now as I recall the incident, I am compelled to wonder whether there are others fathers who are whispering the same words to their kids in the privacy of their homes. If there are, and if that’s what is being talked about in their homes, then we ought to beware for this a dangerous sign. It is actually a symptom of something like leprosy germinating and maturing deep inside our national marrow and which in the years to come will prove to be very costly for us as a people. Its degenerative effects are already and increasingly visible rotting the very tissue of our national life.

We need to accept that a lot of what’s going on in our country today is utterly undesirable and must be totally rejected by all, not in the interest of our respective communities, but for the salvation of our nation. The sick and unsafe environment we have created must be systematically undone – diffused very much like a live bomb for that what it actually is. The recent, and the very recent incidents of communal butchery, bomb blasts and the communal ‘debates’ with their allegations and threats and counter allegations and counter threats have only helped to further saturate our national environment with fear, suspicion, distrust, hurt sentiments, disharmony and disunity.

 

Imagine generations growing in constant fear and suspicion of each other. Imagine when next door neighbours stop trusting each other and adopt a life style and an attitude determined by that distrust and suspicion. Imagine young people growing up with the conviction and a strong sense of hopelessness and despair that the country is one thing in its written constitution and something entirely different in its actual existence with a clear divorce existing between what it claims and what it perpetrates. Imagine generations indoctrinated for their community and against another. Imagine new communal fundamentalist and violent outfits born by the day. Imagine living in constant fear and tension just to go to a neighbourhood store or a market place to just such a mundane thing as buying vegetables or tooth brush. Imagine. Is this the India of our dreams?

I am afraid that we as a people are fast moving in such a direction. We have to stop. Common people like you and me have to come together, not to do politics but to undo a lot of it that has already been done. We have to think rationally and get others to think as well. We ought to realize that what we are hurting is our larger ecosystem – our larger context, our nation. For after all, what will be a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or a Sikh be when India herself is destroyed? Imagine. And think about it. And do what you can as an ordinary citizen do to stop this national disaster. The least we can do is not to participate in this insanity. Long live mother India!

Contributed By  Deepak Ransom, a languages expert with the THE INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE INSTITUTE, Allahabad. d_ransom@rediffmail.com 


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