Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tolerant nothings

Most of us do feel protective and defensive about our heritage, culture, religion, or loved ones and sometimes we just stop being objective and receptive to criticism about things that we deeply care about. The first step towards growth is introspection and asking constant questions. Only when we identify the brokenness can we start the process of rebuilding.

So let’s face it, Modi is no beloved leader and his past is sketchy and somewhat radical. There was enough suspicion around him to make some of us skeptical. But we voted for him and he is now my Prime minister, shouldering the hopes and aspiration of the world’s largest Democracy. And as a mature progressive democracy, it is both my right and obligation to question the head of state. Yes I am apprehensive that as a society we are increasingly becoming intolerant but this admission does not make me any less patriotic.

May be we were just as intolerant before the 26 May 2014, but the question is being asked now and in the present the word BAN is more relevant than corruption.
Could it be that the liberals are overreacting? We would be fooling ourselves if we do not admit that secularism is our Achilles' heel. Hence the economic development, international relations, or growth (debatable) in the Modi’s tenure all take a back seat. The diverse fabric of our volatile unity still has scars from our intolerant past. But our recent reaction and anger towards the debatable intolerance is a proof that we have come a long way from our past of colonial favoritism.

Our multiplicity is what joins us and hence we have to be accepting and tolerant of our nations many many differences. We cannot afford to regress and allow state to interfere with our decision making by tainting our options in a certain shade of saffron.

The growing polarization between the Modi worshiping “Seniks” and the question asking “Liberals” sometimes makes us forget that we are all on the same team. You and me have the same dreams for our India and a conservative narrow society is definitely not part of our vision. We want the vibrant democracy that allows vegans, beef eaters and pork lovers to sit together on one dinner table. The large overcrowded table where each one of us is equipped and free to make our own choice, and everyone is excited for the versatile preference and diverse tastes.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

You are not welcome!

In the late 80’s, the minorities were forced out of Kashmir and there was a mass exodus of large Pundit population. As Kashmiri Pundit's we were told that it was only an internal temporary displacement from Kashmir to its neighboring state. We were going to another city in the same country, where the locals were mostly of the same religious and cultural background.
 Hence, we pictured gates being opened to the refugees with empathy, kindness and relief that we had made it out alive. But instead what waited us was skepticism, hostility and judgement. Sadly, Refugees are never welcomed.

Sea of people with no money, material possession were running to be alive. This meant that resources were going to be redistributed and mostly on unfair terms that involved moving the tax payers hard earned money towards feeding unemployed, homeless cowardly humans who couldn't fight for their homeland.We were a massive liability of over 150,000 humans who were also expecting empathy and kindness.

The world we live in does not promote humanity over religion, or Brotherhood over Nationality or someone else's safety over our own economic security. We value our personal comfort, financial stability, growth over someone else’s life. Hence, it was only fair that the Locals were feeling threatened by the inflow of migrants. We were crowding their city,  taking their jobs, eating their food and claiming what was meant to be for them and their children. While, we relentlessly argued that we were entitled to a life and security and that we had suffered enough to gain these advantages. But in reality we were the guilty guests who wanted to wash utensils after we ate their food just to feel included.

 In order to fit in, we compromised on our culture, religion, traditions and language. We were the unwelcomed temporary guests, who had nowhere to go back to. Eventuality we tried to replicate our pre-migration normal life, built houses, made friends, built relationship, and completely forgot who and where we could have been. But kept our old fading memories of who we were without any substantial proof like photographs, papers, or documents.

 We have been here for over 25 years, we have learnt to call this Home, but they continue to call us "Migrants”.