I wonder “why this kolaveri di?” (Tamil expression for why this killing rage) Why there is chaos everywhere, why so much negativity and why do we ponder around freedom of expression when most of us fail to imbibe, understand and accept things as they are.
Being a medico I have lived with multiple choice questions for a long time (longer that I actually loved to) and they teach us just one thing…there’s only one right answer and the rest are all wrong. Most people live by this rule in their lives too. But PGI Chandigarh (Medical college that conducts own MCQ based entrance test) refuses to bow down to this monotony and they offer more than one right answer to each question. That’s it. EUREKA!!! Although such question are even tougher to answer but this is where the ray of hope is hiding. The simple truth that there can be more than one right answers for a given situation. But here also we fall prey to “भला उसकी धुलाई मेरी धुलाई से सफेद कैसे?” I mean the fight continues to decide who is more right…Pity.
So where does perspective fall in here. It simply means two people can see the same thin differently from where they are standing and more importantly they both may be right. There are some other expressions for this too like, walking in their shoes to understand their views and the other one which urges you to look at the other side of the coin too.
मेरे सही होने से, तेरा ग़लत होना ही सही, ये धरती अम्बर सब तेरे, मेरा मन का कोना ही सही ||
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN: If you are a mathematics nerd, you would have appreciated that besides the flip side there’s a rim of the coin too. The small thickness which may be a minority in itself but still a side of the coin. Bye the way, I don’t know who said that there can only be a coin. This concept is easier to understand if you consider a ball in place of a coin. See, now there is no flip side but a possibility of innumerable sides. An endless combination of perspectives to the same given situation.
I am extremely delighted to be writing this piece to honor the martyrs-the real heroes of rising India. I recently saw a trailer of a movie based on the famous Red fort Trials which have remained away from the limelight despite being one of the most important event in India’s struggle for independence. I am sure the movie is going to be a masterpiece. Here’s something to put things in perspective.
It has been more than 70 years since our national flag breathed free air for the first time in 1947 and we owe every bit of this victory to selfless heroes who laid down their lives for it. We can never be sure about who played the most pivotal role in the ‘struggle for independence’ but one thing is certain that it was a joint effort and that it did not happen “ बिनाखड़गबिनाढाल” . There were people (of the likes of Shaheed Bhagat singh ) who, at a tender age of 23 years, willfully took the path of martyrdom in the hope that it may help incite a revolution that might uproot the British Empire. There were more fighters than we can name but only a few shone as the leader, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was one such prodigy.
We should have but one desire today. The desire to die so that India may live.
-Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
You may think that I am exaggerating but Netaji’s feats are way beyond the ordinary. Be it cracking Indian Civil Services, being the Congress President, consorting with Germany and Japan to raise the Indian National Army, taking the British Empire head-on, establishing Provisional Government of Free India with Japanese support and what not. The government of Azad Hind even had its own currency, court and civil code, and its existence gave a greater legitimacy to the independence struggle against the British. Immediately after the formation, Azad Hind Fauj declared war against the Anglo-American allied forces on the Indo-Burma Front. Some may argue that it was a complete failure but many (including me) believe that it was much more than meets the eye.
One individual may die for an idea, but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives.
-Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
Let me ask you a simple question: Why did the British leave India?
Amidst all the celebrations, we often forget to introspect and the simple facts like these gets ignored. The Quit India movement of 1942 had subsided and nothing major was happening in the mainstream politics, the world war was over and the British had finished on the winning side, Netaji was no more and INA also had to face defeat at the hands of the Royal Army. So, why did the British actually leave?
No real change in history has ever been achieved by discussions.
-Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
British Prime Minister Lord Clement Atlee, responsible for conceding India’s Independence, answered this all important question during a visit to Free India in 1956 when he mentioned this directly to Justice Chakraborty who was the then acting governor. He said – The final decision to “leave India in a hurry” was due to the “activities of Subhas Chandra Bose which weakened the very foundations of the attachment of the Indian land and naval forces to the British Government”. Also, that in his assessment, Mahatma Gandhi had “minimal” impact on British policies.
Elaborating further on this subject: In August 1945, Netaji had allegedly died, yes I said ‘allegedly’ because the real story still lies behind hundreds of classified files and in my mind the conspiracy further deepened when I saw the promo of a new series “Hunting Hitler” aired on History channel which alleges to prove that Hitler may have actually died years after he staged his own suicide when the second world war finished. A similar story of Netaji may be lying somewhere waiting to be unearthed. I seriously doubt that his disappearance was just bad luck.
Anyway coming back to the point, after the loss of INA, three of the top officers – General Shah Nawaz Khan, Colonel Prem Sehgal and Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon were put on trial at the Red Fort in Delhi along with all the captured soldiers. Their crime was “waging war against the King Emperor”. It only proved to be their biggest mistake as during the open trials, the people of India witnessed the transformation of the perception of Azad Hind fauj from traitors and collaborators to “the greatest among the patriots”. Given the tide of militant nationalism that swept throughout India and the resentment and revolts it inspired, it is arguable that its overarching aim, to foster a revolution within the Indian forces of the British Indian Army and Navy to overthrow the British Empire, was ultimately successful. Netaji may have possibly foreseen it and it may be all that he always meant to achieve with INA. It may be just a speculation but if it was true, each one of the soldier of Indian National Army deserves a standing ovation.
I wish that their soul rests in peace.
के जिनके बलिदान के बिस्तर पर ,
हम चादर ताने सोते हैं ;
भूल बैठे हैं आहुति उनकी ,
के ख़्वाब बड़े…पर दिल छोटे हैं ;
जीते थे जो हम-तुम के लिए ,
शहादत पे उनकी हम क्यूँ रोते हैं ;
आओ नमन करें उन वीरों को ,
और खुशियों के बीज बोते हैं ;
के मोक्ष मिले हर साये को,
जो सरहद पर जीवन खोते हैं ;
बेनाम नहीं…शहीद हैं वो,
वो देश के बेटे होते हैं…
वो देश के बेटे होते हैं ||
#Raagdesh by Tigmanshu Dhulia is releasing on 28th July and I can’t wait for it to release. Wishing them luck. A few other movies on similar grounds sound equally interesting. #Partition:1947 , #AccidentalPrimeMinister. Waiting for them too:-)
As the unquestioned leader of depressed classes and the principal architect of the Indian constitution , the name of Dr. B.R. #Ambedkar will always be remembered in Indian history. His entire life has been a saga of relentless crusade for social justice and a symbol of revolt against all oppressive features of the Hindu society. He was not just a social revolutionary but also a prolific scholar, a lawyer, an economist and a true‘Bharat Ratna’ indeed. He played a vital role in shaping the modern Indian society. Even at the peak of India’s freedom struggle with the British (a struggle of our past and present) , he was fighting for social and economic equality (our future). His own struggle had started the moment he was born in a poor mahar family but as non-violence was to Mahatma Gandhi, education was to #Babasaheb. With his resoluteness and hard work he went up against all odds and became the first person ever from the backward classes of India to earn a law degree and various doctorates from Columbia university and the London school of economics.
” When everyone else was worried about bread ,
he chose pen;
He righteously rose to the position,
apt for extra-ordinary men…”
He firmly believed that “cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence”. His endeavor for pursuit of knowledge continued till his last breath. He founded ‘bahishkrit hitkarini sabha’ in 1924 to educate and unite the depressed classes and rouse self consciousness and self respect among them. He started many publications including ‘mooknayak in 1920’ to agitate the people against the oppression, which was the need of the hour. He knew knowledge and unity, strengthened with agitation can bring down anything.
Dr. Ambedkar has left a legacy so rich that it is nearly impossible to match his steps but after more than 66 years of independence the BIG QUESTION is “Are we anywhere near to what Babasaheb set out to achieve ?”. He believed ideas need propagation as much as plants need water to flourish. His garlanded idols have definitely cropped up all over the country but unfortunately his ideas are scarcely witnessed. Parroting his name on politically crucial occasions and social gatherings is not enough but sadly this is where most of his ‘followers’now stop. Times have changed and so should we. The first challenge is to transform and redirect the feeling of raw , stifling anger against the upper castes into intra-community caring and unity. We should come forward and socially help and mentor each other for the betterment of the backward community on the whole . Dalits should realize that government policies and programs and all legal and political protections can only facilitate them but cannot fully change the society on their behalf. They should stand tall and open up new grounds for an innately positive moral and social identity and accept the fact that dalits and non-dalits are here competitors in many ways but are not enemies. Dr. Ambedkar himself drafted the constitution to ensure equality of all citizens and made special provisions to safeguard socially and educationally backward class’s interests but if they cannot help themselves, nobody else can.
Two of the most important contributions of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar have sadly been misconstrued by dalits and non-dalits alike.First was the introduction of positive discrimination of depressed classes. The idea was to break monopoly by proportional representation and bring all backward classes on one platform (SC/ST/OBC) to break the caste system. This step has been criticized and opposed all along but more so in the past few years. Nevertheless, it has survived for so long because it is the least expensive and politically most rewarding of all policy options. However, it is a matter of debate that ‘whether reservations have been successful or not’ but it is a common notion that it has benefited only a small section of the backward classes. It must, however , be admitted that even if this small number can throw up leadership for the community to bargain for the larger interests and help a lot more people around them, the purpose is more or less met. Although more and more people are willing to lend their hand forward, the numbers are still not enough to make an imprint on the larger front or just to shut the opposition. As a result, a lot many of the backward classes are still suffering. Moreover, the over-estimation of the amount and effectiveness of preferential treatment reinforces the notion that enough (too much) is already being done and nothing more is called for. This mindset prevents non-dalits,private sector or even the ‘developed dalits’ to come forward with a small or large contributions. Also, the fact that ‘Dr. Ambedkar professed for pursuit of knowledge his whole life’ has lost place to his contribution tointroduction of reservation policy. People feel more proud of his contribution to the reservation system than his hard work for his own education against all odds, when there was not just ‘no reservation’ but also no place for a so-called untouchable in the whole education system. Many people still rely more on reservation than their own hard work which Babasaheb must have never intended to. The reservation system should compensate for the educational, social and financial background and not for hard work. It will be a tribute to the legend if we can remain true to this simple fact. His another contribution was rejuvenating Buddhism in India. He accepted Buddhism after a lot of research and study with the sole aim of abolishing discrimination against the backward classes. But it is unfortunate to say that this discrimination still exists in India to the extent that it can be seen even among different backward classes clubbed together by Babasaheb himself as ‘SC/ST/OBC’ with the intention of uniting them as one. It is unwise, illogical and unfair to be riding on both the boats simultaneously. Even Buddhism is based on rational thinking and reasoning and is free from any form of discrimination or hatred. But neither Buddha nor Babasaheb is among us anymore and their ideologies are waning very fast or at least being bent for personal or political gains by politicians, communities and even the dalitsthemselves. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar has certainly succeeded in bringing about a very evident change in the life style of backward classes and practically influenced every single person belonging to depressed classes or not, in some way or the other but a lot of ground work (primary education, health, unemployment)still needs to be done for the overall development. He has done more than any human could possibly do for the depressed classes and bring them this far. Now it is upon them to rise to the occasion and help him achieve what he has always dreamed of and the mindset of the people certainly needs to change for this to happen and for the greater good of the Indian society as a whole.
Note: The word dalit is not used in any derogatory sense here but to denote all the depressed classes clubbed together.