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Archive for December, 2014

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Photo Credit:Flickr Creative Commons/ginable

As a child, I would proudly proclaim to anybody who would listen that I would grow up to be an IAS Officer. My parents were of the firm belief that every child of theirs should be an active contributor to the well-being of others on a personal, National, Global level. They taught me to love, embrace and respect my identity as an Indian whose roots went back to intricately woven stories of grit and survival. I loved imagining my stands on various issues of public interest as an officer-in-charge, relentless in delivering morally upright, compassionate solutions to everyday problems.

My educational pursuits were matters steered by the heart. Writing spoke to my soul and psychology awakened the lore-seeker in me of my very humanity. I did try in between to give the IAS exams but as my parents are wont to say, I wasn’t really persistent. My heart rebelled at the idea of a civil officer who would still have to pander to nefarious politics despite her fight to maintain integrity.

This threw me in pursuit of so many whys and hows that psychology just happened to be the answer to all my prayers. I might not have found all the answers and may never do but I’ve come to recognize some home truths that are the core of compassionate existence.

Harking back to the matter at hand, ‘Ghar Vapsi’- ‘Returning Home’ is such a misnomer when you consider what is happening under this banner. Reconversion of Christians and Muslims of India to Hinduism as a mass National agenda in our times, citing historical stories that dated hundreds of years ago as their arsenal is a rupture in reality, fractured thinking, really.

During my pursuit of the short-lived IAS dream, I had to plough through a lot of GK books on History, Geography, Civics and what have you to prepare for the exams. I had to live on a staple of newspapers and news magazines. To say that bureaucracy cheered me would be a blatant lie.

I had the Fundamental Rights and Duties of a citizen of India memorized as kid but now I examined them, questioned them, explored their veracity. If these were the core of our Constitution, then why do they reek of abuse and ill-use. The iridescent truth in these principles did not shine through in our politics nor in our everyday carriage as the citizens who upheld their constitution.

The pulse of the nation seemed to have been muffled or drowned, rather, by the agendas of various political parties, ideologies and naysayers. We carry on not as people who are secure in their identity as citizens protected by the uncorrupt but as splintered, dissociated multiples of one person, ranging from the confused, to the scared, to the biased, to the victimized, to the usurper, to the entitled.’Ghar Vapsi’ movement does nothing to unite this splintered whole but creates further chasms in the psyche of the citizen.

My constitution clearly states under the Right To Freedom Of Religion, Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. The RSS agenda based on history that was before we proclaimed our independence, questions our progress as a people of this nation.

Are we to be thrown back to the colonial, warring dark ages of our history or are we to move forward as a Nation who truly embraces our citizenship in its wholeness, with its rights, amendments and progress?

If this is to become the current state of the psyche of politics in India, then it would rightly be called regression.If we are to truly ‘return home’, then let us return to a plural, tolerant, harmonious, co-existing society of mature individuals respecting each others lives to be an unfolding, evolving, story guided by free will.

We should not have to leave our well-being in the hands of our politicians but teach our young and old to own their identities as respectful citizens who shall unclasp themselves from the traps of divisive politics and walk towards the freedom of respectful, tolerant thinking.

Teach ourselves, our children, our elderly that we make the fabric of our society, we don’t live in the rifts of our history but we live now. Tell each other, ‘I am not the composite parts of my story, I am the whole, expansive, transcending story.’

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