Tuesday, August 21, 2007

an old dream

Cleaning cupboards can be a lot of fun. Especially when you come across some of your belongings that you never knew existed. Amidst a broken voodoo doll (ahem, my idea of play as a child was quite different), a couple of rough sketches, some stones and sticks, I found this essay that I had written when I was 13 yrs old. It was for some competition held at school and I had won a cash award of Rs.1000. The copy is hand written with a Hero pen, in blue ink.

Read on . . .

India of my Dreams

India, my country, also called Bharat, has a long history – political, cultural and spiritual – of at least ten thousand years. While other parts of this known and unknown world were steeped in the misty depths of darkness, the glow of wisdom, the light of glory, was shining here, shimmering here, like a beacon.

Coming to modern times, my country was politically cut up into three pieces, the western and eastern planks forming the theocratic state of Pakistan, and the middle piece forming secular India in 1947. The demand for dividing India into two regions on religious basis sprang from religious passion, fanatical intolerance and political skullduggery. Now, India is the cradle of Hinduism, and tenets of this religion spread even in the ancient times to other countries, notably the eastern Asiatic countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, etc. Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism sprang from it. All religions were welcome here. The early Christians arrived here in 48 AD. St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ was welcome here and was allowed to settle down and spread his religion. The Jews were equally welcome. So were the Zoroastrians. Muslims alone came with the sword, but they too settled here. Finally they demanded partition of the family and had their say under a willing British mastermind. But history, that forbidden teacher, taught them a lesson. Their house was once again partitioned in 1971 and the Eastern flank, peopled by the dark Bengali Muslims, walked away with Bangladesh. Baluchistan and Sind are of dissent and further partitions cannot be ruled out. My dream of India is that all these three pieces should come together and once again form that great India, recapturing the glory that was Ind.

Moving on, even modern India lives in villages. There are 5,50,000 of them, which people 70% of the population. There are umpteen villages among these, where drinking water and primary education are still luxuries, even after 53 years of independence. In the India of my dreams, all these villages will have enough drinking water and all the boys and girls will have had at least primary education.

In the India of my dreams, all the great rivers of the country like the motherly Ganga, Yamuna, Kaveri, Krishna, Godavari, Narmada, Brahmaputra, Sone, etc will be interlinked by an intelligent system of canals and there shall be neither floods, nor famines.

In the India of my dreams, parents will be a very reasonable community of people, unlike now. They will not beget in such thoughtless fashion of passion as of now to become a teeming billion! They will not force their children to be doctors or engineers. Instead, only those who are naturally inclined will seek medical and engineering education. In that way we will have dedicated doctors and enterprising engineers who are there owing to their natural inclination.

In the India of my dreams, followers of other religions will, in their own mature reflection and thinking, come to realize that all paths lead to one goal and just as a 100 is received by adding 10 ten times, 20 five times, 50 two times, or in such endless ways, God – the Ultimate Reality - could also be reached through any number of methods and not necessarily one or two as some of the arrived faiths in this country have the cheek to believe and tell the aborigines of this country.

In the India of my dreams, Science & Technology will flourish as much as Art & Music. While we have our own thriving culture in the arts, we have to make headway in the technological front.

In the India of my dreams, every house will have a computer and an internet connection to make life more meaningful, interesting, instructive and enjoyable. In the India of my dreams, there will be no poverty, no waste of food, no spitting and littering as of now.

In the India of my dreams, dogs and stray animals will not be allowed to become the menace that they are now.

In the India of my dreams, vegetarianism and Ayurveda will flourish and the dead will continue to be cremated and those who do not cremate the dead will also realize the spiritual meaning and social good of such customs.

In the India of my dreams, the smoker will not offend the non-smoker into passive smoking as of now.

In the India of my dreams, God will still be a realizable agenda of daily existence.

And in my heart, I believe that all such dreams of every Indian will come true and that India will shine in all respects. For that matter, has anyone spread a thought as to why the Upanishads were born in India and not in Uganda; Why the Mahabharata, encompassing the Great Bhagavad-Gita, was conceived and written in India and not in ‘Maha’ Britain; Why Valmiki was born in India and wrote in Sanskrit, and not in the Virgin Islands and wrote in Arabic; Why Adi Shankaracharya was born in Kaladi in Kerala and not in Aden; Why Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was born in Bengal and not in Belgium; Why Swami Vivekananda settled in India and not in America, amidst the lust and luxury; Why a Mohandas – suited, coated and educated in England to become a Barrister-at-law – returned to India, changed his robes and become a half naked fakir; to lead this country into Freedom and Light; Why Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru should describe river Ganga in such ecstatic prosperity when writing up such a mundane thing as his will?

In spite of all the negative, disappointing, disconcerting and dehumanizing factors that are discernible in every sphere of endeavor in the country at the moment, I have a deeply held; almost spiritual conviction, that one day this country will rise again to the great levels of consciousness, both spiritual and material, that it had reached years ago.

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