Happy Independence Day

We all work for our country.

We write software programmes, we build buildings, we save children, we teach, we police our community. We train customer service people. We help commerce across boundaries. We clean the sewers, we sweep the streets. We balance the books, we make machines, we serve food. We offer loans, we give interest. We sit at home and make our children good people. We fight for what is not right. We fight to keep what is right. We fight, sometimes, for all the wrong reasons. We do what we have to do, to protect our present and our future. We join the armed forces, we protect our country; our families.

The Indian Tricolour - National Flag

The Indian Tricolour – National Flag

On this Independence Day, here’s a shout out to all the armed forces – national and state [The Indian Army, Air Force, and Navy. The State Police forces, the paramilitary forces, CISF, CRPF, BSF, IB, R&AW, All of you], who protect our present.

Here’s a shout out to all the teachers – who protect and nurture our future. You are the most important of us all. Our soldiers are looking to you. They are protecting our present, so that you can protect our future.

As someone who just does stuff and pays taxes, so that you can do your job, I hope you know that each morning, I salute you first.

And I apologise for the kind of leaders we ended up electing. Spineless and gutless. Do not blame the politicians. We failed you. Yet, we trust you. But, I promise you, we will do better. Your sacrifice and you frustration will not be in vain.

And to, all our soldiers: promise us one thing: Kill, do not die. Please do not die for your country; kill if you have to; live for your country. Come back home.

This is all WIP (work-in-progress), we’ll get there, bear with us.

To all my protectors of the present and the future: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.


Happy Independence Day

“Next to ‘God’, ‘love’ is the word most mangled in every language.”

Thus spake Richard Bach, in The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story Frankly, there are so many words in every language that have been mangled beyond recognition, we hardly care about them. Outrage has to count amongst them. Freedom, even. What the hierarchy is of this mangled-ness, I do not know. Erich Fromm, writes, in “The Fear of Freedom”:

[ … ] the modern individual has lost to a great extent the inner capacity to have faith in anything which is not provable by the methods of the natural sciences. Or, to choose another example, we feel that freedom of speech is the last step in the march of victory of freedom. We forget that, although freedom of speech constitutes an important victory in the battle against old restraints, modern man is in a position where much of what “he” thinks and says are the things that everybody else thinks and says; that he has not acquired the ability to think originally—that is, for himself—which alone gives meaning to his claim that nobody can interfere with the expression of his thoughts.

On social or mass media — we see this rampantly. There is no original voice anywhere. We are all adding the proverbial 2¢ to an existing voice. The 2¢ from everyone adds up to a $. Then a few thousand $s. Then to a million $s. That becomes the voice. We are slaves to the voice of convenient beliefs. If we were ever to ask a question to our selves – what we felt, or believed, that would be too much of a task.

My country’s struggle for freedom was staged on more than one stage. Self-appointed smart-holes, corrupted by an ideology and tried and paint a picture and simplify the story to suit one dogma or the other. Other idiots join in and celebrate it. We came unto our own, after 15th August 1947. We learnt very quickly, how to exercise our rights, we forgot very quickly the responsibility we had to shoulder.

When we were a colony, we learnt to accuse and fight the foreign head of state. Over time we forgot, that the head of state was our own. We continued to badger the head of state, irrespective of the ideology. Habits, apparently, are genetic. We never came together. We were given a nation that could celebrate differences. We forgot the nation, we remembered the differences.

Some day, this nation will become more important than our differences. And in hope of that day:

Happy Independence Day.

Happy Independence Day

Malvan Beach, MH, India

Malvan Beach, MH, India

Ours is to fill up our hearts with all things good, so that there is no place for anything else.

Happy Independence Day!


Happy Independence Day

Wishing all readers a very Happy Independence Day. Beyond just an anniversary, a call for independence from the slavery of the mind and imposed belief systems. It applies to the individual, and the nation.

The Grammar of Anarchy – Pragati: “The Politics of Pedestals:
The second thing we must do is to observe the caution which John Stuart Mill has given to all who are interested in the maintenance of democracy, namely, not ‘to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or to trust him with power which enable him to subvert their institutions.’ There is nothing wrong in being grateful to great men who have rendered life-long services to the country. But there are limits to gratefulness. As has been well said by the Irish Patriot Daniel O’Connel, no man can be grateful at the cost of his honour, no woman can be grateful at the cost of her chastity and no nation can be grateful at the cost of its liberty. This caution is far more necessary in the case of India than in the case of any other country. For in India, Bhakti or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship, plays a part in its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.”

(Via Pragati – The Indian National Interest Review.)

On a Pedestal

An excerpt of the concluding speech Dr. B. R. Ambedkar delivered as Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee on the floor of the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949.

Being Free

Happy Independence Day, all you proud Indians, slightly belated, but it is still Independence Day as I write this.

Freedom has come to mean a lot more than just the notion of being self-governed. It has started gnawing the innards of the self. A mere declaration of independence does little in achieving it. And Tagore’s words resonate:

Obstinate are the trammels, but my heart aches when I try to break them.

Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed.

I am certain that priceless wealth is in thee, and that thou art my best friend, but I have not the heart to sweep away the tinsel that fills my room.

The shroud that covers me is a shroud of dust and death; I hate it, yet hug it in love.

My debts are large, my failures great, my shame secret and heavy; yet when I come to ask for my good, I quake in fear lest my prayer be granted.

— Rabindranath Tagore

This is, surprisingly, the same person who wrote, “Where the mind is without fear…”. I say surprising because, while I am not quite familiar with the chronology of Tagore’s poetry, he has obviously experienced the clutch as as well as the release.

Tagore is not, or has evolved from being, the patient that Sheldon Kopp refers to when he says:

He prefers the security of known misery to the misery of unfamiliar insecurity.

So, apart from the notional freedom that we all experience on this day, there is an arduous journey we all will have to undertake before we can be truly free. Free from what? That “what” is a personal trammel that we will need to identify and cut through each layer before we can swim free to the surface and gulp in fresh air.

Chinese Fishing Nets - 4

We are often blind to that obstacle that holds us back. We think we are free, yet somewhere our heart does not accept it. That mildly nagging feeling of slavery never leaves us alone. We walk with our heads held high, yet the thud is our heart is nervous. It is almost Matrix-ically Neo-tic where you do not know if you are dreaming or awake. And we cover ourselves with more tinsel, that perhaps may blunt the unwavering call of freedom that keeps softly beckoning.

And we get weighed down by the tinsel that promises false safety.

Yet, we want to be free.