Monday, August 15, 2011

My reservations on Indian freedom


Went to watch 'Singham' the other day with my wife. It's a typical masala movie... the sort that eases and irons out your stress lines after a hard day at work. I love no-brainers sometimes. A single righteous cop beating-up nasty goons like a superhero we need so much. That's dreamland. Ancient Indian texts say there are two more states of mind that a human can exist in, apart from the Swapnawastha (the dream state). These are the waking and sleep conditions. I happened to meet the heroes of all these three worlds in a matter of three consecutive days.


On 9th August, Arvind Kejriwal initiated his mass anti-corruption movement at Mumbai's Azad Maidan with the veteran Anna Hazare by his side. I was in awe of the duo, as they marched from Azad Maidan to August Kranti Maidan with a sea of anonymous supporters like us. For all those who've entered late... this is the second freedom struggle of India. We're battling against the corruption of our own people. 16th August - a day after the 64th anniversary of our earlier Independence Day, begins a new era of change. Our grandparents had heroic stories of their youth to share with us. And this... is our chance to make history, to build a better India for our grandchildren.... To be heroes to them, while we're still alive and awake.


And of course, I forgot to mention... a startling promo of the movie Aarakshan featured during the screening of Singham was impressive. India even today is bridged by divides of caste and race... practically in the rural regions and competitively so in our urban jungles. The focal point of Aarakshan seems to be this misuse of the Reservation System that fails to meet the common eye. For the same reason, when I landed in Mumbai as a lanky rural teenager, eleven years back... I did not claim an academic seat reserved for scheduled castes. I am a scheduled caste boy and bear pride in my roots. Open category students may go hoarse claiming that I deducted one of their seats, but I claimed my place in colleges on pure merit right through my academic years. For one moral reason -

Reservation of seats for selected castes/tribes are a provision to secure them from racial discrimination. It is a very foresighted provision that can uplift India beyond the grip of egoists. Candidly, these seats are not reserved for those who are already socially uplifted in some way. Every Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Nomadic Tribe (NT) or Other Backward Class (OBC) candidate in the city who claims/occupies a 'reserved' seat is doing great disservice to his own caste-men from rural areas, for whom the reservation is actually meant. The socially thriving backward caste candidate who's backward no more - his place is in the Open Category. We'll term him as a hero in Nidraavastha (sleeping state), and hope he wakes up soon.


The rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom to assemble peacefully, conferred upon us by the Constitution of India are all biting dust today. Yesterday, our Government threatened Satyagrahis with dire consequences, should they extend their peaceful anti-corruption protests beyond the third day. This is shameful. Our country is not supposed to have a dictatorship regime, is it? Yet 64years after the Englishmen are gone, we continue to be ruled upon by vested interests. This happens because of the "chaltaa hai" attitude of most of us. Indian YOUTH need to wake up. We need to fast clean up our system, create awareness amongst those who are ignorant. The process begins NOW.


Because once India wakes up from the nightmares of rampant corruption and casteism.... other battles against gender bias, poverty and economic suppression await to be fought --- together. To those who still imagine we're free yet.... well, Happy Independence Day!


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