Friday, August 18, 2006

I am on my way to Hell!

I will reiterate my favorite quote here: 

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality. Alighieri Dante

The last few weeks when Israel was bombing the smithereens out of Lebanon I was quiet. It is one of the biggest crises happening in our world and I was busy with my work. In fact, the whole of India was quiet about it. No official comment, no decrying protest, no denouncement. Looking at the opinions that are written at various newspapers- from columnists to newsreaders, and looking at various blogs and interviews on TV it is clear that our opinion is divided on this issue.
What happened to us? Once, we were champions of Palestine cause during Indira Gandhi times. Indira Gandhi and Yasser Arafat were such pals that they used to refer to each other as ‘brother-sister’. When I was growing up, we had many Palestine students studying with us on government-sponsored programs. During the time of Nehru, India was a champion of Independence movements worldwide. We set the trend for breaking up the colonial era and went about rallying for the cause of many such movements worldwide. We were looked upon as the leaders and moral authorities on this subject. What went wrong? How did we change from being the champions of the downtrodden and poor countries fighting for their land and freedom to being on the side of the oppressors?

What happened by which we began to see ourselves closely associating with Israel, with US, and Great Britain? What changed our mindset that our population condones the recent bombardment of Lebanon? What makes us support the war on Iraq and Afghanistan? I thought we were great friends with Afghanistan during the times of Mohammad Najibullah.

The more I think about it the more I realize what the reason is! In one word, its


Because of Kashmir, Pakistan is an enemy. Because of Kashmir, Muslim is a terrorist. Because of Kashmir, India is an oppressor. Because of Kashmir India has lost its moral position to defend and support a freedom movement. 

How can I be proud of my country when it puts half a million army in a small piece of land to rule over a few million people – only with the aim and idea to coerce them into accepting our rule over them? Weren’t we those champions of freedom movements across the world? 

Our position on Kashmir has made us hypocrites. Our position on Kashmir puts us in a dilemma. We don’t know whether we should be happy to see those Muslim nations cower in fear because they are housing terrorists, or whether we should protest the bombardment because innocent people are dying everyday. We are so focused on our local problem (with Kashmir and Pakistan) that we are not able to see the big picture. How are Chandrasekar Azad and Bhagat Singh national heroes while Yasser Arafat and Kashmiri Muslims fighting and killing for their freedom vile terrorists? We are no longer sure what our stand should be. This is clearly seen on various media forums where in one guy supports Israel action on Lebanon while another decries it. We conveniently stay silent on official forums because we have now transformed into the same people whom we fought against- the oppressor!

There are many in India who want us to be victims – just like US is, just like Britain is and just like Israel is. They want these countries to sympathize with us. They want to tell these countries, “See! This was the same problem we have been facing!” When Israel bombs Lebanon there are many who want India to do the same to Pakistan. “Let’s bomb the terrorist shelters in Pakistan!” they say. They idolize Israel because they think it has the balls to do something that India can only dream of but can never execute.
Our stupid Indian media journalists who mimic everything western sensationalize every news item, starting from a dirty-MMS to a kid-being-rescued-from-a-well, from bomb-blasts-in-Mumbai to a rape-victim-in -hinterlands. They want to highlight our travails to gain sympathy from the newly found Western friends. To get their attention and equate our miseries with theirs, they go on to name our bomb blasts as '7/11'. Now tell me something, when did we start writing our dates month-first-date-next? "If US has 9/11, we have 7/11"- that is what our journalists want to say. An innocent Indian kid asks- “Dad why is it 7/11? Shouldn’t it be 11/7 in India?” The dad answers – “Son, we like to copy everything which is western. It’s like calling our film industry ‘Bollywood’ copying ‘Hollywood’. Do you get it?”

We want to ape the colonial masters, build an empire, and make up for everything that we lost when were ruled by them. In the process we annex Kashmir by some crafty means and hold on to the land (and its people) by ruthless force. The situation is not much different in North-east either.

How can I be proud of my nation which does not know where it should stand on such a crisis? How can I be proud of my nation which holds onto a piece of land by force while the entire population of that land hates our rule and regime? The hottest places in Hell are being reserved for me and my countrymen. I am just getting ready for that! That's all!


  1. The point does not come through clearly. I guess the points are.

    a) Indian Govt. should to take a stand against Israeli aggression? b) India should stop the oppression in Kashmir? c) And Indians to stop copying western trends?

    I dont think the first thing is going to happen. The reality is that the Indian Govt is too weak right now. There are no leaders there. Only followers. And the so called leader is just too uncapable of taking a stand.

    On the second point, its even more unfeasible. Taking idealistic stand is good if you want to gain popularity and become a world leader (ala. Nehru). But realpolitic dictates something else. The Kashmiris are just an unfortunate people stuck in an stiutation we inherited from our oppressors. If Kashmit and Pakistan hadn't been there, terrorism wouldnt have been there too. The British are really paying for their mistakes now!

    Regarding copying the west, it happens because it sells. The media copies because it has to sell to the lowest common denominator. That is inevitable in a capitalistic economy. After all, they have to maiximize the profits of the shareholder, dont they!

    Even because of all of this I would still be proud of my country. At least we are still a democracy, however flawed it may be, and have some liberties. Much better than most of the countries in our region. I have a future here and I love this place. Few mistakes made by some fools wont deter me away from it!

    And things can only get better with time.

  2. Welcome back!

    I was dying to see you write on something.

    Now that you have concluded that Kashmir is the problem and you indicted the Indians and the Indian government on different counts, What do you think the solution to Kashmir is?

  3. This country has given you a life, your parents, roti, chaddi and makaan. This country keeps your fundamental rights. This country gives you a good standard of living in Bangalore. You can still choose not to be proud. Dont be proud. No one's going to be hurt if you arent proud. You dont have to scream it out for everyone to hear.

  4. Dear Atlantean:
    Voltaire purportedly said:
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

  5. That's why I said "Dont be proud." I was in no way opposing your right to say it.

  6. Hi,

    You are making a valid point..,Kashmir is asking for freedom give that to it.Assam & a few other NE States are also asking for it give them wat they want,so did Tamilnadu..;the list keeps on going.Then suddenly there will be no India.

    And reg Azad,Bhagat Singh comparison with terrorist!!!
    Azad,BhagatSingh never killed any Common(Innocent)People.Esp in Parliament bombing case their bombings did not even injure any British People.

    Reg Westernization of media wat you say is true they sensationalise it.But people are also to be blamed...who is encouraging whom?

  7. I really think it is a matter of what we think is the best for us. What would happen if you put out Kashmir to fend for itself. Do you think that they will have peace? What of the many who are currently living there and do not wish to have a free nation or be oppressed by the other few who are doing that. The real situation in Kashmir deteriorated when our leaders thought that they could control by oppression and not logic. They left logic and became the brutal oppressors who thought that they could thus win over a section of that society and to hell with the rest. That is what has happened with the North-East also [by the way, aren't we alienating them thus, by calling them the NE??].
    The people there have absolutely no say in what is to be done. The leaders decide on that and implement it.
    We as a nation cannot leave either Kashmir or the Seven Sisters due to many other reasons too, such as security of the borders and the population there being an integral part of our nation. Also, we earn a lot from these so-called terrorist states, which we never seem to realize. Kashmir is/was famous for its apples and the abundance of the tourist trade. Likewise for the Seven Sisters, which have a big enough part of the nation's oil reserves. Then, why should we not protect these concerns and try to win them over. Yeah! I fully agree that oppression should not be the way, but it is our fault also to let things go out of control, so that without the need for a certain aggression we cannot have those states to our side. I think the best way would be to separate each state and see which one survives on its own - I don't think any will without the help and support of the other. We need to make the populance realize this and not oppress them into submission and thus give rise to a degree of resentment in them. Would any of the people realize thus...!!

  8. Sujai,

    If we should indeed champion the cause of poor and downtrodden, then how about the poor tribal people that have been adversely affected by Sardar Sarovar Dam and the corruption by government officials in the name of development (a concept of colonial masters). They are also fighting for their rights, justice and fair compensation.

    Check out these links when you get a chance:

    Your sympathies seem to be with the rich and the powerful, and the development-at-any-costs lobby and not with the peaceful, Gandhian protests. That should give you part of the answer to the questions you raise in this post. :)

    And, I can't help but chuckle at the naughty thought that just crossed my mind - what if the people being displaced by Sardar Sarovar Dam were Muslims? Would Sujai be supporting them then?
    (Sorry, couldn't resist that friendly dig. :D)

    BTW, I don't think you'll go to hell because you do take a side. :)


  9. Amit:
    In India all development activities are completely stopped because our government stoops too low to satisfy everyone- all and sundry.

    In US and most European countries, a project which is taken in the interest of public gets its way no matter what.

    In India, all public projects get stalled because someone has gone to the court only to drag the issue forever.

    In Bangalore, the highways are NOT complete because some guy in the middle is not ready to give up his land no matter what.

    In Bangalore, getting METRO off the ground is a big issue because of massive protests from all those who had to give up their lands to make way for METRO.

    Encroachment is a big issue. Lakes are encroached upon. Soon the lake itself has apartments and when the government comes down heavily on them, the resort to protest.

    In Koramangala of Bangalore, the residents have actually gone to hartal and hunger strike when the government tried to enforce the proper building norms. All these residents had encroached onto the roads and bylanes. They had starting renting out to businesses in residential areas clogging the streets with parking, etc. Eventually the protesters (who used your Gandhian ways) won. So, those who protest after doing an illegal activity win because people (like you and others) sympathize with them just because they resorted to Gandhian and peaceful tactics! :)

    India needs Dams. India needs Roads. India needs electricity and power. Thousands of villages get only few hours of electricity per day.

    And people like Medha Patkar and Arundhati Roy are quite stupid in their fights.

    Arundhati Roy criticized the mobile phones and commented what use they are to an Indian poor man. And now, almost every poor man seems to be connected thanks to mobile phones.

  10. Amit:
    I don't support Muslims just because the are Muslims. I don't support downtrodden (in case of Narmada) just because they are downtrodden.

    I know how downtrodden can also be easily manipulated into fighting wrong fights.

  11. I think you are mixing your issues here. Do you really want to compare city people with poor villagers whose means of earning a living will be taken away in the same way?

    I know how downtrodden can also be easily manipulated into fighting wrong fights.

    I could say the same using your logic for Palestinian terrorists and Muslim militants in POK, whom you seem to champion without batting an eyelid and romance in your eyes.

    India needs Dams. India needs Roads. India needs electricity and power. Thousands of villages get only few hours of electricity per day.

    Says who? The electricity guzzling urban dweller with his multitudinous gadgets? That is simply blind faith and obeisance, not to mention selfish! And, you criticize people for blind religious faith. Yours is the same - only your god is "development." Development at any cost? How about just compensation for poor people whose land is taken away? I guess that's too much to ask and fight for. Solar panels can also provide electricity.

    Arundhati Roy criticized the mobile phones and commented what use they are to an Indian poor man. And now, almost every poor man seems to be connected thanks to mobile phones.

    And your point is? I don't worship AR and could care less what she thinks about cell phones. That does not invalidate genuine concerns of people fighting for their rights.


  12. Sujai, it is okay if you do not take sides. When you do not know it is perfectly fine to say

    "I do not know". :)

    As simple as that. You are not supposed to know everything and take sides on every damn thing :)

  13. All the guys out there,

    Stop talking all these bullshit. Think of solution for the issues. DO something good for the country and post what you did. Think of individuals like Aruna Roy, Arvind Kejriwal who make the difference.

  14. solution is simple! where ever Muslim population reaches to majority they will ask for seperation! you either accept or eliminate slowly just like they do.


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