here's my latest article published in The Focus Global Reporter, Feb-2011 issue //mg
Bharat .…...Highly Inflammable??
As I left the Film City road to turn into the western express highway, an oil-tanker parked by the road side caught my attention. Boldly written in red on the cylindrical body of the tanker was the warning HIGHLY INFLAMMABLE! What was amusing was that just above these words printed in green bold letters was the slogan “MERA BHARAT MAHAN”.
As my Maruti glided smoothly along the newly repaired highway, my train of thoughts too seemed to speed up. “Mera Bharat Mahan”……Highly Inflammable! This kept recurring before my mind’s eye. The more I thought about these words, the more sense they seemed to make. Someone had unknowingly expressed the current situation of our country very aptly. “Mera Bharat Mahan” had indeed become highly inflammable.
That was when I was in Mumbai in the 1993 onward period.
Be it a Mandal scandal or an Ayodhya drama, they were enough to spark violence and let our country flare up in flames. While the debate on the Mandal issue was still hot and burning, series of immolations flared up to protest against the reservation policy. The youth truly went berserk. Surely this was no way to make oneself heard. What the burning issue consumed in its fire was nothing but just innocent lives.
Next came the Ayodhya issue. The “Hindu-Muslim Bhai Bhai” slogan was forgotten in no time and friends of yesterday suddenly turned foes of the day and maybe the future. Once again there were flames all around and in the fire that ensued, people burned, houses burned, old and strong bonds of friendship burned. Almost everything burned in this fire but what it failed to burn was the hatred sowed in the hearts of the people in the name of caste and religion.
Man had stooped so low in his values that he didn’t spare even God, The Creator. He didn’t hesitate even a wee bit in breaking up even God into many parts with darkness resulting everywhere. If there was any light at all to be seen anywhere, it was just that of the fire of anger & hatred which was engulfing the whole nation. While people were busy fighting over petty issues, some anti-social elements were taking advantage of this chaos, creating further panic in the already troubled country by blowing it up with bombs.
The serenity of the so far peaceful hills of Garhwal and Kumaon too had not been spared and even the remotest hill areas were engulfed in flames. With the latest addition to the list of burning issues –The Uttarakhand issue. Once again we had flames flaring up, violence and arson, burning and killing, people and property being unnecessarily subject to untimely death and destruction.
More than a decade and a half down the line, my residence changed from Mumbai to Delhi, my car from a white Maruti to an SX4 of the same colour. A lot has changed but one thing remains constant. “Mera Bharat Mahan” still is….. Highly Inflammable!
As if the terrible bomb blasts rocking the quiet and peaceful Pink city weren’t enough to frighten the spirits out of our countrymen, the Gujjar violence began its frightful fury. This only added to the already burning scenario. Though three years ago the heat of global warming spared India and was good enough to give us quite a cool and pleasant summer, but the Jaipur blasts followed on the heels by the Gujjar agitation made sure we had a “hot” summer. Then came the 26/11 blasts of 2008, to shatter not only the country but the whole world with the scale and magnitude of destruction. Spreading fear and terror in the minds and hearts of citizens of the entire Global Village, life has become the cheapest commodity of this age. Though ofcourse things once cheap, like onions, which were supposed to be a main component of the poor’s combo food pack or say the poor man’s “happy meal” of roti, namak aur pyaaz, have now become so pricy that even the rich have to think twice before buying them. Onions really make everyone cry out these days. Anyway!
With the Bombay Taj terror attack episode, more flames, more fire. And, who, I repeat, just who benefits from this fire? It is that tiny percentage of anti social elements that is being able to achieve its mischievous goal of destabilizing the nation. This situation of mistrust, hatred, fights over God and religion, people wanting more and more rights, lack of faith in the system and total confusion is eating away the country.
The result? Further flames. Innumerable innocent lives and property worth crores and crores of rupees just goes up in smoke to nobody’s advantage. That’s where the role of an individual comes in. Each of us can help build a better place by just being honest and sincere at every level, by being more tolerant, more open towards others ideas and beliefs, at the same time not being too overly rigid about one’s own. Being solution oriented rather than trying to outdo others in making a mountain out of a molehill, not fighting over petty issues and letting frustrations an outlet in violence instead of channelizing it to some productive directions. We want more reservations, we want more rights, we want more this and more that, fine, why not compete and work to deserve it rather than sit in dharnas, block rail or road traffic and stop the whole nation from working and create nuisance. If we want to put forth a demand, why not do it without wasting national time and property?
There is a need for each of us to think rationally as well as nationally, because if we make our own nation weak and wreak havoc, we don’t need enemies. Shouldn’t each of us contribute our bit to the making of a strong and lasting Bharat which is indeed Mahan!!!