Sometimes, well oftentimes, India, my beloved country, seems to be a nation of hypocrites. If you just nodded in sage understanding, you can stop reading right away.
Imagine, the nation got into a huff about Gandhi’s belongings staying in foreign lands, away from these holy shores. So much planning and expense went into ensuring it was returned back to India. That too for belongings that Gandhi himself did not bother to keep!
If only our people had got themselves into a fit for not following Gandhi’s principles, how much better this country would have been!
Before you think this is a stray incident of oversight, let me assure you it is not. This rot runs deep.
The caste system is one of my favorites. The brahmin, at the top of the social pecking order, the guardian of knowledge chants his mantra and hordes his learning.
The brahmin dwells on the omniscience and omnipotence of his chosen Deity or Principle and yet acts in the real world as if his deity were a holed up only in specific statues and words. Imagine that, confining the Infinite to specific forms!
As if the Absolute would be sullied by dirt and tainted with sin because some time-bound social norm was not followed, or because of the place one was born or color of their skin. What use is knowledge if it does not reflect in ones actions?
To take another case, the monarchy and kingdom states that India had in abundance prior to independence is a another blight on our past. Just see what we have replaced it with, a system of dynastic politics under a democratic mask.
We as a nation and peoples seem to have a inherent weakness and subservience to perceived authority. We grovel, shiver and kneel at the first sign of purple.
Our politicians and family-held corporations seek to bequeath their scepter to their children. Suitability and skill for the task be damned. After all, it must have been ordained somewhere in their karmic past!
The accident of biology is turned into an unquestionable fiat of fates.
One stands baffled at the magnitude of this mess. The heart quakes in helplessness. But hope remains. After all, we have overcome 600 years of foreign rule, at least partially, and have an identity of our own.
What we make of ourselves now will determine the course of what we shall be many hundred years hence.