“Only those species survived which collaborated and improvised.”
- Charles Darwin
The Ayodhya Verdict came as a birthday gift to Gandhi. For a man who witnessed the partition on the soil of India and souls of Indians, a tri-partite dissection of a piece of land in the name of religion must have been an unsavoury gift. Gandhi used to say that Muslims and Hindus were blood-brothers as they were born of the same mother. He asked the Hindus to cultivate eternal bonds of friendship with Muslims and perish with them in order to vindicate the honour of Islam. Ironically, in the 63 years of Independence, we have spent 61 years trying to determine ownership of a piece of land on communal lines. The Pyrrhic victory of the statesmanship like verdict may have acted as a balustrade preventing emotions from running high, but the cinder of chauvinism that communal elements thrive on is still alive. That a brazen defilement and razing of a Holy shrine took place in a democratic and secular India would always remain the blackest memory in our past. But we cannot alter the past to justify politics of the present. Now is the time to re-visit the platitudes and truisms about us and find a better dream for a brighter future.
The Idea of India
Nations have been founded on varying impulses and assumptions. What united one group of people invariably made them distinct from others. But as Ernest Renan remarked ‘historical amnesia is an essential part of Nation building’. But Indians lack a well developed sense of historicism as their past often lives in their present. We find solace in the vast catacombs of our history. But to move forward, we need to forgive and forget; we have to make new footprints in the sands of time. We are a nation of mind-boggling diversity. We are the homeland of 4 major religions of the world, 35 languages and 22000 dialects. In India, language changes every 400 miles and with them the customs and culture too. We are an incredible fantasy and a colourful pageant to the rest of the world. We are one Nation that has defied the norms of nationhood. As Shashi Tharoor rightly remarked the idea of India was created by shared history and sustained by a pluralist democracy. We are a land of belonging rather than blood. Sanatana Dharma was a value that was intrinsic to us. Ours was a shore that welcomed all races and cultures; for the Indian soul the whole world was one family. It was a poor epilogue to our great history that our independence was won by dividing the land.
We are now a secular democratic republic. Our Flag binds both saffron and green together with the white of peaceful co-existence. The faintest manifestation of the raucous self-glorification on communal identities and division is not acceptable in our country. Mosques have been demolished but not faith; temples have been raided but not trust. The Ram in our hearts and the Rahim in our souls reveal the same truths. We are not a country of incompatible Gods and impossible dreams. Indians make India. To modify Eugene Debs, while there is a lower class we are in it, while there is a criminal element we are of it. We are part of the meanest and the greatest. It is by accepting and sometimes forgiving history that we move forward. To create a better India for a better world is our tryst with destiny.
Posted by Francis Kuriakose
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