Tuesday, November 30, 2010
When I was a young boy, I assumed, very naturally, that I was extremely patriotic. Singing the national song and national anthem gave me goose bumps (it does even now), and the very idea of dying for one’s country was a heroic and romantic notion, something I thought I would do without hesitating for a moment. But then I ‘grew up’.
The unfortunate consequence of ‘growing up’ is that you are no longer innocent. You know more than what normally appears. [I put 'growing up' in quotes because not everyone who lives longer actually grows up. Most people, I realize, stop growing at around 16 or 17. They carry their prejudices from then on defending them for the rest of their lives.]
Now, I realize that there are two versions of patriotism. The first is the love of one’s homeland, which is natural to most people. We are nostalgic and have an attachment towards one’s origins; either it is a place of birth, or the times when we were young. We reminisce the moments of the past with longing and feel attached to them.
Almost every human being will try to protect one’s home against onslaught of the invaders. One’s home could be just one’s house, one’s street, one’s village, one’s district, one’s region, one’s state, one’s country, or one’s planet. The definition of home itself changes depending on who the invader is. If the neighbor tried to encroach upon what rightfully belongs to you, your home is just your house and you fight for it. But when aliens invade us, then our home is our planet and we fight for the planet.
If the definition of patriotism is love of one’s home and feeling to defend it from the invaders, then it is completely natural to most human beings to be patriotic. I think I am a patriot from this definition. I take pride in fighting for my people as long as I think it is a fight for justice. I also feel that I should express solidarity with those who fight for their people as long as I think it is a fight for justice.
However, if patriotism is the feeling that my country is the greatest and that it can never do anything wrong, then it is based in sheer arrogance coming out of absolute ignorance. It is this arrogance based in ignorance that makes me think that my nation, my religion, my race is the greatest just because I am born into it. I am NOT this kind of a patriot.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
This is the picture of our planet Earth. There is a ‘pale blue dot’ that you can see on the right side of the picture somewhere in the middle from top to bottom. - that's our planet Earth. The picture was taken by Voyager 1 spacecraft that was launched in 1977. It left Solar System in 1990. Carl Sagan made a special request to NASA to turn the camera around and take this picture of Earth. The band of light is result of play of sunlight off the spacecraft onto the camera, an accident.
When this picture was taken, the spacecraft was 6 Billion kilometers away from us.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Why Telanganas refuse to celebrate AP Formation day?
Telanganas reject the farcical experiment called Andhra Pradesh. The conditional merger that was brought in on 1st November 1956 has not lived up to the promises made on the eve of formation of Andhra Pradesh and therefore it is now paving the way for an unconditional demerger. People of Telangana have filed for divorce citing breach of trust, lack of faith, incessant and consistent betrayals, broken promises, outright discrimination and marginalization, suppression and oppression as the reasons for breakup of this marriage which was imposed onto people of Telangana 54 years ago.
Therefore, today it is clear to all people of Telangana that we cannot celebrate this day. It is not a day to be proud of. It is not a day to be happy about. In fact, it is a sad day. It is the day when Telangana was tossed from pan into the fire. Getting out of Nizam rule was a relief, but immediately, it got into subjugation by Andhras that lasted 54 years now.
Many Andhras ask why we have celebrated AP formation day all these years? And why do we reject it now? Pre-Independent Indians celebrated the events of British Empire and sang their songs. They didn’t know better. Those who did, they did not have the power nor the voice. But when the movement was in full swing, people of India got enlightened and could muster enough support to boycott such celebrations. That is what you are witnessing in Telangana now. Some of us did not celebrate this day for quite many years now, but you failed to notice it because we were a miniscule people. But now, entire Telangana stands enlightened of the past deeds, and they are part of the movement. And therefore you see such huge outcry of rejection only now.
On People’s Revolution
There’s a definition for ‘revolution’.
Revolution means that an exploited population must take desperate measures against great odds to overthrow its oppressors.
- Marvin Harris
Let’s understand this in Telanganas context. The ‘exploited people’ are Telanganas. The ‘oppressors’ are Seemandhras, more specifically Andhras. The ‘great odds’ are stacked against Telanganas, as we can see from the recent political maneuvers that creation of Telangana was initially impossible, and even now not a distinct possibility. Back in 1990s when I talked about separate Telangana, most friends, from the state of Andhra Pradesh or other parts of India called it a pipe dream - impossibility. Even now it is not assured that state of Telangana will be created, and therefore the exploited people continue to fight. The people of Telangana resort to ‘desperate measures’, which invariably include denouncing and defying the authority, which happens to be the Government of Andhra Pradesh, under the control of the ‘oppressors’. People of Telangana go about protesting, destroying or attacking the symbols of authority, the symbols of oppressors, and defying the rules and laws imposed onto them.