Unboxed Writers App for Phone and Tablet

Here are more ways to stay at forefront of Unboxed Writers and stay informed and inspired! Download our app for Android Phones and Tablets. Click on the image to Download Now!


Justice

Like Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

 

Archives

Cattitude: Cause We Support

Cattitude!

The Cattitude Trust is a Public Charitable Trust started to reach out to cats in distress, particularly in Chennai (India).

To know more about Cattitude, 'Like' them on Facebook.

Copyright

Creative Commons License
All content displayed here by Unboxed Writers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://unboxedwriters.com.

Excerpt, Don't Copy: You may not publish an entire post. You may republish an excerpt of not increasing 250 words.

Give Credit: You may not use any material from our site without giving due credit to the individual author and Unboxed Writers. You must hyperlink directly to the post.

Author: Author of the post retains all copyright, and reserves all rights not explicitly granted here.

207 Feet Away from Ground Reality

images

”They said, for the sake of the country…
But the country isn’t the earth beneath our feet, it is the people. Have any of you ever spared them a glance? Oppression for the sake of the country is oppression of the country. But you won’t understand. Travel as far on the road as you can yourselves. I am willing to acknowledge all of you as leaders and march behind you. But when you trample over the freedom of the poor and brandish your flag of victory, I will oppose you even if I have to die for it,” argued Tagore in his novel ‘Home and the World.’  He asked why we need a brand of nationalism that demands scapegoats, “the raw alcohol of a passing enthusiasm” and whipped up frenzy (Excerpted in Scroll.. http://scroll.in/article/803819/the-country-isnt-the-earth-beneath-our-feet-its-the-people). As news anchor Ravish Kumar said recently, we need to first understand the implications of a blanket term like nationalism that was used to gas millions of Jews in Nazi Germany. And if nationalism can be severed from the well-being of its own people?

**

This question is especially relevant in India today when we want to arm twist ‘ungrateful’ Muslim superstars by stoning their cars. And are fine with the public beating of student leader who says, “I’m ashamed that in this country, the mothers of the poor and Dalit farmers are not part of Mother India’ by lawyers who say, “Do laatein jadi mast waali… mukke maare saale ke muh pe (I kicked him twice… punched him in the face).”  Are men who troll women online to say they will be raped if they say anything anti-national, exemplify nationalism? Are leaders who say that farmer suicides and the compensation they get are part of a ‘trend,’ the true representatives of all of this nation or are they representing only a few privileged sections?

**

Why are nationalist symbols more important than living, breathing Indians? We want all universities to ‘instil nationalism’ in their students. How? By hoisting the national flag in the campus. The same universities where over the past one year, we have seen violence against students that was physical, administrative and ideological and caused a Dalit scholar to take his own life.

**

Recently, a young biker in Bangalore met with an accident and his body was slit in half and passersby were taking pictures instead of helping him. What an immense tragedy and one that in a way sums up the state of this nation. Instead of addressing root issues, we are busy photoshopping infrastructure, throwing around catchphrases like Make In India, applauding selfies with international leaders, stadiums filled with patriotic NRIs, spending crores on towering statues.

**

The Chhattisgarh government recently cancelled tribal rights over forest lands. In the Goa Winter Assembly, as designer Wendell Rodricks put it, a scandalous farce was afoot, an Act permitting the felling of coconut trees without the permission of the Forest Department. Then we learnt that this was being done to make way for a brewery plant after the butchering of almost 500 trees. Real estate and hospitality giants also needed Goan land “cleared for their projects.” Look around and observe what is happening to farming land in every part of the country. To tribal land. To wildlife reserves. To farmers. Soldiers.

**

Harsh Mander, a human rights activist wrote in a national daily sometime back, of farmers and landless workers in 11 states,” crushed by drought, often for three years in a row, but if you scan newspapers or television screens, debates in Parliament, the drought seems like a figment of imagination.”  Everytime, someone asks inconvenient questions like these, we bring out the nationalism card and shut them up. Like Ravish Kumar said, “If a mob comes together and brandishes a flag, will it become more patriotic than you and I? There is a huge difference between’ nationalism and love for your nation.” Because, in our heads today, India is a monolith, a shining slogan heralding prosperous days. Not a country made of up Rohit Vemualas and millions more like him who have to battle caste and religion centric bias at every step. Not a country where we unleash police violence against unarmed students. Not a country where basic amenities like education, drinking water and sanitation are unavailable to more people than we care to think about. Kanhaiya, if you think about it, could be the Krishna at the heart of another Mahabharat. A Mahabaharat that is fought not with weapons but with questions,  roses, banners, peaceful but relentless protests against hate steeped jingoism and divisive politicking.

**

To shame dissenters, baying patriots often cite the example of soldiers who die everyday protecting our nation. The truth is that we do not care about them enough to pay them proper wages or allow them the dignity of retiring with adequate pension. From slogans of Vande Mataram, Inquilab Zindabad  and then Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan, we graduated to Mera Bharat Mahaan and then to an India that shines only for a few privileged classes. And a tricolour that must fly at 207 feet, not an inch less or more, to show that the happy days everyone was waiting for have finally arrived.

Reema Moudgil is the editor and co-founder of Unboxed Writers, the author of Perfect Eight, the editor of  Chicken Soup for the Soul-Indian Women, a  translator who recently interpreted  Dominican poet Josefina Baez’s book Comrade Bliss Ain’t Playing in Hindi, an  RJ with Timbre Media and an artist who has exhibited her work in India and the US and is now retailing some of her art at http://paintcollar.com/reema. She won an award for her writing/book from the Public Relations Council of India in association with Bangalore University, has written for a host of national and international magazines since 1994 on cinema, theatre, music, art, architecture and more. She hopes to travel more and to grow more dimensions as a person. And to be restful, and alive in equal measure.

Similar posts
  • No, we don’t get to tell any woman what feminism should mean to her The generation of women that came before mine had a different view by and large of what abuse and violation represented. I remember being told many versions of “apni izzat apne haath mein hoti hai” (your honour is in your hands) while growing up and in my twenties by women who could not understand why I [...]
  • Everywoman… The pain of men Is the crux of noir It’s why girlfriends Are found in fridges The pain of men Is stoic Quietly eats away at the men The pain of men Drives revenge epics Fuels classical tragedies The pain of men Ennobles, somehow The pain of women Is everyday Everywoman And when it is [...]
  • Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. No matter how many times I say it, it won’t be anywhere near enough. Strangers on the street, boyfriends, acquaintances at parties, “friendly” uncles, neighbours- the reality that our bodies belong to everyone but ourselves is one that women realize rather early into their lives. The first time I [...]
  • Why We Don’t Need A Goddess Queen Today “Everything is fair in love and war,” says Rajkumar Rao’s vindictive hero in the viral trailer for Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aaana. This could have been the tagline of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati. The difference is that in the first film, the hero is avenging himself by punishing the woman who broke his heart. He wants [...]
  • Indian Education System – The Real Blue Whale Challenge! It is heart breaking for a teacher to see adolescents killing themselves over an online virtual game which challenges them to do self-harming tasks in real life. It is equally heart breaking to read about the exam, admission, IIT studies, NEET etc related suicides. What are we doing to our youngsters? Are we driving them [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Authors

Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers!

Subscribe for FREE and get the latest in your Inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.
Name
Email *

Admins

Editor & Founder:
Reema Moudgil
Design Director & Founder:
Vani Bahl
Media Consultant:
Poonam Goel

Mission Statement

Who are we? We are writers. And here, in this space, we put pride and passion back into writing. We give ourselves and each other creative freedom and respect.

* We create an environment where content generation does not entail degeneration of inspiration and spirit.
* We create content that we believe in and identify with.
* We recognise that to create is always of more value than to berate.
*We critique without malice and arrogance.

This site is about us writers, what we stand for but more importantly, about creating something valuable, inclusive, thought-provoking. In this space, we do not just stand for ourselves but for all those who listen to a compelling inner voice that tells them, "Create!"

Unboxed Writers Share

Join the other awesome people who get the new posts right away by email!
Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers.
Enter your email and stay on top of things!

Subscribe!