The nation celebrates it's 74th Independence day from the British colonizers, giving geographic credibility to a country that has since been India. The British have left but times have ensured that we have new slavemasters that get their subjects high on the attack of nationalism and religious divisions. Why should a country be nationalistic when there's no perceived threats to its sovereignty?
Under the watch of the Modi government there's a constant paranoia that the idea of India is under great threat, from enemies largely manufactured and imaginary. There's a need to avenge for the Muslim past and freedom from 60 years of Congress misrule, but these are bogeymen to cover up the agenda to have an unfettered BJP ruled Hindu state.
Our new colonizers look and talk like us, camouflaging hidden agendas to maim and control. We need to remind ourselves that hard earned freedom from the British is easy to vanquish to the tyranny of home brewed thought systems. Are we citizens free in this New India being envisioned? Except for a privileged few the answer is a resounding no – the foundations for a new independence movement should be based on the problems of the present. Let's not harp over a long gone past and fight the monsters from within.
Life happens in an anomalous interpretation of time where moments of bone-crushing slowness are spliced with the ones where time flies. The average perception lies in between, at times waiting for a year to end and at others wondering where all the years went by.
History tells us that our lifespans are blips on what has happened before us and what is to follow. Though during our lives we are presented with a highly important version of our selves, it does not take too much imagination to debunk this importance. Dead people are forgotten, their memories fade away and all that remains is a name on a gravestone or a mention in a family tree. Our final deaths happen when our identities are lost by all forms of history. With no-one to remember our face or utter our names, we are dead, forever. The greatness that we are programmed to achieve is nothing but a short-term preoccupation against the confusion of existence.
When confronted with the beauty and scale of the things we are surrounded by, the awareness merges with our sense of self that can be termed as a transcendental experience. In this experience we are in the center of the universe, becoming the universe itself. The self is stripped of identifiers only to return a moment later, consuming us till there is nothing left. We try to extricate from this consumptory chaos with a variety of distractions but there is no recourse from the little voice in our head that creates both these urges and the cures.
Living is to endure these contradictions while trying to escape them. Everything outside our own existence is for our pleasure, to complain and to celebrate. The feelings we hold so dear and the emotions that we cherish are the fluctuations of the little voice which we confuse with our whole selves. We think we live in a world and its projections though our real homes are inside our heads. A home which we can never escape.
A picture of humanity is painted as that of a species moving forward together. It moves forward and it moves together but not at the same times. There is a certain expectation of working with each other for our mutual best interests but the underlying motive of this work is selfishness. There is something to desire as an individual towards working for a collective good — I work to build something because I get something in return, I want more peace in the world because that lines my pocket at the end of the day.
The picture of humanity that we have in our heads, as a species working towards justness while we are confronted with the not so just parts of it in our day-to-day functioning. The cracks are visible from the very top — how our politicians function and businesses dredge their way through the colloquially held ideas of fairness. Not that these entities are heartless but to be a part of the elite there needs to be a certain sense of self which entitles itself more than others. The root of power comes from a solid entity and if it is a person, group or committee ruling a faceless majority their identity should be superhuman to begin with. The learning to counter this power is all around us: when we see students being educated or children taught the foundations of what is theirs, we explicitly lay out the terms of what is desirable to the self first before anything else. This is also not a false view because the survival surrounds around the I.
The problems of poverty, income inequality, climate change, racism, oppression, misinformation can all be talking points but the messaging is loud and clear: if it does not suit our self interest then it does not warrant our attention.