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12 November 2007

Everyone is doing it so why don't we

Title of an old album by The Cranberries. And music is not in any way relevant to this post but it is exactly the question of our times- it may as well be the theme for today's lives and times.

I read this article by Vir Sanghvi in the HT and though he does not end the article with an answer to the question with which he began the article, it is not important at all, as moving on I thought he makes a very relevant point on the whole topic of India and everything to do with this country and its people. Quote,

......We have much to be smug about when we look at Pakistan’s failed experiment with democracy. But we also have much to learn from its failures in mixing religion with nationhood. If India is to become one of the great nations of the 21st century, then democracy is not enough. We need liberalism. And we need a just and thoughtful secularism. ( just & thoughtful secularism- what a beautiful phrase)

One reason why I was able to get up and challenge both Leghari and Musharraf after they’d finished lecturing us is because I knew we were a fair society that aimed to treat all citizens, regardless of religion or caste or creed with respect, dignity and justice.

Lose that moral advantage and we lose the moral right to sneer at Musharraf

End of quote. (I also liked his comment on Benazir as an alternative. So true)

I have made reference to this here because, it also helps me express a few thoughts that I have been struggling to do so for some time on the topic. And this is not even half of it.

I am not advocating peace, justice, liberty, equality and such noble things merely for the sake of moral advantage. No. It is not just that I'd like all of us ride into the blue yonder on moral high horses. with "and they all lived happily ever after" end to story.

But if war (and terrorism, bomb blasts, riots) is difficult, keeping peace is ten, twenty, thousand times more so. Just think back to the smallest thing that happened at home or at work or on the road that was enough to make you lose your temper. So next time you want to fly into a road rage, or yell at your neighbour for watering her plants that drip into your balcony, or are at work and indulging in a fantasy that has your boss or that conniving co-workers's head served to you on a silver platter, take a deep breath, and think about the soldiers on the siachen glacier - who are dying so we may live in a free, peaceful country, and among other things- blog too.

Can't do it? Have to -my friend. Whatever it takes.

(Sonam, I've lost touch with you and I don't know if you will ever read this, but this one is for your brother and all the soldiers of Kargil. I have the pin -never forget. )

Is it that lives lost in a bomb blast are any more or any less than those lost in Kargil, farmers deaths, bhopal gas leak, nithari,every year in orissa floods, in mumbai when crossing the street, baby girls unborn, dowry deaths and domestic violence. On account of being poor, weak, of lower caste, no recourse to the justice and health system.

For every list we have of the dead, there are countless anonymous ones. In a land where life (excepting that of the politician) is very cheap, I could go on.

Many lives are lost everyday due to various factors and in most cases there is hard evidence of collusion and of corruption. Of carelessness and neglect and more. Yet we keep quiet as a country collectively. Individually we may speak up in fits and spurts, as people and organisations, but collectively we are silent to act. If I has to ask why, I'd ask this in anguish everyday. In the process only run up my blood pressure.

It is not as if government is not doing anything with the evidence on terrorism that they have. I am confident they are. And if we need to go to war, we will. That preparedness too is never compromised. Make no mistake. We are at war. Military, and Personal. Even as I type this, or Vir Sanghvi writes his piece. All of us are at war at all times. A full fledged or an ongoing one with another country is the decision of the powers in charge. The everyday ones are the ones the citizens have to fight. As Dr. Radhakrishnan in his incomparable manner states in his commentary to the Gita. Kurukshetra represents not merely a place or a war that was fought far away and long ago on a battlefield. The war between what is right and wrong is fought everyday in the hearts of men. I quote this from memory so the actual version may be diferent. Will update it later.

It is more challenging to maintain peace and keep the wheels of economic and social development moving. This latter part cannot be left to the government only as we tend to do with all other things in life. While a fight for justice is ongoing one, to maintain, preserve and uphold peace is the duty of every citizen. Just as expecting it is a right.

World peace- begins with me.

In the madness around, I don't get many things too, but this part I get.

For the other parts of the madness I do not get, I hope to post another day.

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