Yesterday night as I was lazing my time in Facebook I saw a rather interesting phenomenon. Though quite common, everyone started changing their profile pictures, swapping their "I'm so cool" pictures with those which had patriotic connotations. My Facebook page was drenched in the tricolor with streaks of pictures of grey Mahatma Gandhi interspersed probably to add some variety. As the clock struck twelve, patriotic statuses started overflowing and they almost hurt my eyes. I had friends who started wishing me and my family a very happy independence day. I didn't respond to even one such chat. There were a few people who even morphed their faces into the Indian flag. I woke up at around eleven in the morning flipped through a few channels on TV. The Indian tricolor was fluttering almost everywhere and there were special dance programs and Hindi movies which were being telecast amidst advertisements. The newspapers too were no exception, it didn't look as if the newspaper had ads it just the opposite. All this made me think. How do we, you and me that is, perceive the independence day. As a holiday? As a dry day? A day to watch over zealously patriotic Sunny Deol movies? For all those multi-national corporations, today is a day to advertise their products at the right places. For the television channels it's a day to increase TRPs, for the usual 'cool' dudes on Facebook and all other sites it's a day to shout out loud that they're Indians. The question is not "What does the Independence day mean to us" but it is "Does the Independence day have any relevance in today's society?" If you ask me the answer for the latter, it is definitely a big no. The reason? It's because we're not independent anymore! Everything in our lives is controlled by a few invisible enemies like religion, caste, society and law. We can't marry the girl we like, we can't do what we want to do, we have to just follow a given set of rules or we'll be called as a rebel and we'll be typecast. I've written about this earlier and you can read it here. To further talk about our lack of independence, I have to quote Tyler Durden here,
Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.
That's true. Mahatma Gandhi means nothing to us. So does Anna Hazare. What do they have to do with our day to day problems. Is India corrupt? Yes. And is it effecting me in any way? Yes. But then if there is a total eradication of corruption from our country, will we be happy? No. Why? It is because corruption is not exactly the cause of our problems. When I look around, I see people who've become engineers because their parents wanted them to become one, I see people who've broken apart with their lovers just because they know that their parents would not approve of their love as they're from different castes, I see people who are grossly dissatisfied with the way they live. India is not their concern, India is not my concern too, A country is something which cannot love, we can't love land can we? We love people and people exist in 193 different countries in the world. The point of loving a country doesn't exist at all. And if you believe that it does, then you're just being irrational and selfish. Independence of a person holds more value than anything else. We have reached to a point where our priorities have become something totally different from what they should be. We remember our country for three days in a year, we remind ourselves of our friends on Friendship day, we make resolutions on the new year's eve, valentines, parents, all of them have become mere illusions of what they should be. And the rest of the days? We're least bothered. We're distant. When there's an emergency it's your neighbor who can rush to help than a friend miles away. But still, if a person dies in the house next door, you'd be innocently celebrating your birthday party. That's not ignorance, that's passiveness. We're cut off, we'll know our neighbor only if there's a "World neighbors day". But somewhere deep down the line, we're dependent on them. We just don't know how we'll get to know about it, or in what form. Emergencies are like lightning, when they come, they come in a flash.
The truth is, we don't love anybody. We don't love our country, when there's a war, we'll ask, "Who won". But we won't ask why it's being fought. Governments do not fight wars, people do. If everyone loved their peers then trillions of dollars would've been saved till today. We fight wars because we think we're independent. We think that we have a moral right to infiltrate another person's freedom. The other day I was reading an article in the newspaper which talked about technology in modern warfare which reduced the number of civilian causalities. I thought, what about those millions of soldiers? Aren't they men made of flesh and blood like us? Now, all that doesn't matter to us. Because we don't love anyone. We don't know the value of another persons life. We've alienated ourselves from the reality, there are no brushes with death and pain. What can free us from these maladies of modern living? It's war. Plain, pure war. One with human suffering, where you and I suffer. You'll know what loving a person truly means, love will have a sense of purpose then. The beauty of sacrifice, the heroics, we'll all be shot back to reality. There has to be a pure face of evil, someone like Hitler, he wiped out a major portion of the world's Jews, but look now, Jews form one of the most closely knit communities in the world.
Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.- Gandhi.