India has ascetics who can pull a car with their penises. India also has software engineers whose brains are put to good use by the world’s finest IT firms. There was a time when India built hospitals and universities. Now India builds statues and temples. Slogans had meanings in India until recently when they began to be exasperating echoes of pious wishes.
The independence of a nation is nothing more than the independence of its citizens. No nation can be said to be independent if even a fraction of its citizens are facing starvation, injustice, discrimination, and other such evils. No nation can be said to be free if its citizens are labouring under illusions and delusions, superstitions and ignorance, bigotry and sectarianism.
Is India really independent today, more than seven decades after our first Prime Minister hoisted the national flag proudly proclaiming to the world our historic tryst with destiny? True, even the first Independence Day wasn’t all that glorious. The father of the nation did not join the celebrations on that day because he was in the bloody streets of “the most violent city” (Calcutta, in the words of the authors of Freedom at Midnight) pacifying the spectres of religious hatred.
Those same spectres have been revived today by the successors of Gandhi’s assassins. Hatred is the largest enslaving spectre of today’s India. It walks about wearing the sanctimonious robes of nationalism and has the full blessings of the political leaders.
The leaders of any nation are a reflection of the people, Gandhi said. If we go by the standards displayed so far by our political leaders of today, India is a doomed nation. These are leaders whose souls belong to the dark alleys of the medieval period. They think like invaders and conquistadors though they speak like saints and visionaries. They establish IT cells manned by intelligent brains but end up making those people pull cars with their penises. They dish out falsehood day in and day out on various social media. They permeate the nation’s air with the poison of sectarian hatred.
Today’s leaders know how to get what they want by hook or by crook. Elected governments are toppled with the power of money. Educational and cultural institutions are converted into propaganda machineries. Dissenters are made to disappear from public places. Fair is foul and foul is fair. People have already been brainwashed into intellectual blindness. The Pavamana Mantras (Asato ma etc) have been inverted subliminally. We move from light to darkness.
India stands enslaved to falsehood and chicanery more than ever since its liberation from the British. The worst is the tendency of most Indians to keep looking back and blaming anyone from Nehru to Babur for all the ills that plague the nation today. The irony is that Narendra Modi has been in power for more duration than any other non-Congress Prime Minister so far in the country and yet he keeps blaming the past for the country’s woes. Worse, the country has degraded the most during the last six years due to the myopic policies implemented by Modi such as demonetisation, GST, and privatisation. The worst contribution, of course, is the dragon of communal hatred that keeps growing larger and keeps stirring relentlessly, spitting fire all the while.
India can be saved yet. It should liberate itself from its own leaders. A Panchayat in Kerala, Kizhakkambalam, has done this successfully. It said No to politicians and elected leaders on the basis of the services they do for the people. The Panchayat has made tremendous progress ever since. People’s welfare is not a difficult task at all. If that appears difficult, it just means that you don’t have the right kind of leaders. This is India’s curse today. It has criminals wearing holy robes and occupying high positions of power.