When standing for what is right, I will not be daunted by those who laugh at me or desert my side. I will stick to the truth and bravely face the music. That will be my contribution today. Yours?
About a decade ago, my mother was contacted by this lady who wanted Ma to get involved in a direct-to-home marketing project; she wanted my mother to become a distributor for Amway. As the lady explained to my mother how Ma's joining would ensure untold riches to the family, the lady said, "Remember Mrs Bose, you have to learn to dream big. When you dream big, remember there will always be many Dream Stealers around you; those who will discourage you from following your dream. Don't listen to them, listen to your dream." Well, Ma was not convinced enough and happily continued teaching kindergarten kids; but what the lady said about dream stealers stuck in my head.
Remember that the next time you REALLY believe in something and are told it cannot be done or is not feasible. If you are standing up for a cause and believe it to be right; KEEP THE FAITH. Once you stop believing, your dream is lost. It might take time for your dream to become a reality, but as long as you believe in it... There's always a great possibility of it coming true.
Shitizens' welcomes new contributor, Sahasra Shatru (Hyderabad). As an introduction, let it suffice to say that SS is someone who has been working actively - though alone - in standing up for causes that perhaps most would ignore. Thank-you SS, for having the spine to speak up for what is right. And yes, thank-you, for your anger.
Here's what Sahasra Shatru has to say --->
That I am writing this piece, I thought the reader only deserves to know why - At other times, because I would have thought this is the best weapon I had, or the only one. Now, because I am reduced to exercising this as compensation, having lost a battle again in life – on the roads, with the system, with myself.
No, I am not going to tell you a sob story as to the narrative of the events that led me into dejection. I am, in fact, if anything, angrier than before.
Angry, because the advocates think it is in the nature of law to procrastinate procedures to a point of bringing the plaintiff to resignation.
Angry because the police thinks it is a waste of time to handle “petty” cases of argument or altercations over illegally cut-down trees for erecting Ganesh pandals, even as I watch the nice Gulmohar tree I had a fetish for being dismembered to allow the lofty idol exact its due… A procession grander than any wedding- unhindered by swaying branches that dance with every rain with a promise of fighting the miasma, a promise which it delivers every day, the only promise that was ever delivered.
Angry, because the municipal commissioner does not find time to take up “frivolous” cases of concrete slabs being constructed between the road and individual houses in a township, causing water stagnation and mosquito menace, “Tumhaare ghar ke saamne banaya kya?” (Is it made in front of your house?) “Tumhaare ghar ke saamne thode hai kya?” (It’s not in front of your house is it?) “Tum ne ped lagaya kya?” (Did you plant that tree?)
“Tum ko kaam-dhandha nahin hai kya?” (Don’t you have any work?)
Angry, because the 24-hour petrol bunk refused to fill petrol at an odd hour into an empty tank, and beat up the man because he insisted on leaving the bunk only with filled petrol and was later forced to compromise in the police station, for want of evidence and pressure of counter-cases.
Angry because the school students of a “Concept” school, upon completion of their last final exam would tear up their papers and books and throw them on the road, in a cinema theatre style in aplomb, and the man standing in the way of the bus, demanding that every piece of paper be picked up from the road would be pushed aside by the lecturers. And the people who have just won a ticket into the utopia that they are going to carve for themselves, were jubilantly hooting and mouthing filth, and even as he watched helplessly, another bus, this time, a public bus, passes by, and a commuter spits crimson and burnt sienna beautifully splashed on a particularly fluttering piece of paper. He picks up the paper to find a part of some question, a word, printed in nice ink on a 75 GSM paper – which read something like - “India”.
A melancholic strain from a movie made exactly 50 years before, starts repeating itself like the voice in a schizophrenic mind, “Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind par voh Kahan Hai?, Kahan Hai, Kahan Hai, Kahan Hai? (Those who are proud of this country, where are they, oh, where are they?)
Angry, because, we as Indians are fundamentally not angry enough. We are not angry at personal injustice and find it a personal liability to get so much as a prompt service in a Nationalized bank.
Angry, because we feel guilty getting good service from businesses.
Angry because ethics are a commodity to barter for convenience.
Angry because my idea of civil rights and personal justice is outrageously perceived as Idealism.
I am no champion and I do not intend to be. I just want to get things done properly and am willing to pay the price.
Are you angry enough? Are you willing to pay the price? Can we ever be an Angry nation and channel it to fruition? Do we have the spine? Do we have the balls?
PS: “We are not the heroes. We are the anti-heroes.” Sahasra Shatru, will NOT be alone. I got a call from my mother. This is how it went: “I heard what you are up to now. WHY do you have to do it? WHY cannot you simply write and be happy? And are you not supposed to write on fashion and music and parties?” My mother has categorically said she does NOT want to know what I am up to. Shrug. She never did know, you know. My father called: “So are you writing all this on the blog?” Yes, Papa. “Do you have proof?” Yes, Papa. “Don’t get into trouble, ok? Rest, your papa is here.” Yes, Papa. Sigh. He still thinks he is superman. But THIS is as much for the people as for my parents… the father who spent a lifetime dedicated to the Indian Army and when he retired, was not even offered a ride back home. The Ordinance officer who never took a penny and since he questioned seniors in his younger days, was told that he would never make it to a Major General. He retied a colonel in the Ordinance corp, also known as one of the “chor corps” (chor = thief) of the Indian army, allegedly for stealing everything from snow jackets made for soldiers in Siachen to taking bribes and giving tenders to arms companies. My mother often said, “Only if you were not Gandhiji's avatar, we would also have an air-conditioner like other families.” My parents still do not have an air-conditioner. The LEAST I can do, is ensure they have their dignity in their old-age. It saddens me that perhaps what I am doing is giving them sleepless nights. But I have to. I have to feel the anger they perhaps didn’t feel. And I hope you feel the anger too.
When reading Sahasra Shatru's line about, "can you sacrifice?"; was reminded of another old slogan: "Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe aazadi doonga." (You give me your blood, I will give you your freedom). We don't even want blood. Just give me your anger, and we'll give you what you want.