What is it about us? We call ourselves the educated, sophisticated future of India. Engineers, doctors, bankers and analysts working for MNC’s in India and abroad; we cheer every world cup match with unprecedented fervor. When India and Pakistan played the semi-finals in Mohali, every Indian in every part of the world wore blue and changed their facebook profiles to bleed-blue. When Anna Hazare went on a hunger strike, we participated, in significantly smaller numbers compared to the world cup, because, let’s face it, our patriotism is cricket patriotism. Most of us supported Anna Hazare by liking some post on facebook about his demands and against corruption.
Is it enough to tweet and facebook our thoughts? Should we do more than cheering India at cricket matches? Should we be involved in politics? Of course not, that’s dirty and ghati. It’s for those who are willing to sacrifice their dignity. Yet, every election we have our fun watching the nasty speeches, grinning at the old politicians who can hardly make it up on the stage by themselves; someone in the room would invariably mention that India is a Gerontocracy and the need for young Indians to hold power is manifest. Then we talk about political dynasties, grandsons of greats and parties’ poster-boys. The nexus between cricket, cinema and politics is discussed. The corrupt state of most states, the terrible media…we know it all. What should we do about it?
There are a varied number of causes to fight for in our country. Whether we live in Detroit, Chennai or London, the nationalism which has been entrenched in us is deep; coming from an ex-colonized country, we take pride in everything Indian, including our faults. Corruption, mass displacement of the underprivileged to set up capitalist fortes, wide-spread starvation, the enormous rich-poor divide; our answer: we are a developing country, and these things will change with time. Tell any Indian in any part of the world that India is a poor country, we’ll be accused of being a traitor and informed that India is on the way to becoming a super-power. And that saying such things about India will make us look bad in front of the Chinese; do we ever see our Chinese friends say anything unpatriotic about their country?
Why are we so enamored by western capitalism, why haven’t we learnt from their faults? Does it matter how many missiles we have, how many millionaires of India are the richest in the world, or how much we interfere in other countries’ internal matters. Do we want to become a bully? Do we really need to become a super-power? When millions within our borders have hardly enough to feed themselves with, will becoming a super-power do much; have we not seen the economic depression throw thousands on to the streets in the most developed countries?
Indian history is the best guide to our future. Not that it was people-friendly at anytime, being the story of empires. Ordinary people have all along been mere witnesses to the whims of their rulers, and most often than not been at the brunt of it. Indian history shows us that our people have been oppressed as far as time goes back. But, within the folds of this opulent history are the teachings of Buddha, his four noble truths, which we learnt in school but forgot after our history exam. The omnipresence of suffering, its cause: wrongly directed desire, its cure: the removal of the cause, and the Noble Eightfold path of self-development which leads to the end of suffering.
Are we, the future of India, interested in making the same mistakes as our ancestors? In a country with a billion plus population, should our goal be one that elevates the living standards of all our fellow beings, or one that revolves around making our middle-class selves richer. Any humanist would pick the former.
Sathyameva jayathe. The truth is that there is suffering all around us in India and the world. If our problem is that we cannot afford to get the latest i-pad, there’s someone who cannot afford to send his son to school. We want India to open itself up to be further exploited off her resources such that we can buy the latest products in the American markets, but we forget that our people are dying with no food.
The cause behind all this suffering is wrong desire. Our desire seems to be that of wanting to become the West. But, we shouldn’t want to become the United States, we shouldn’t want to become a world-class bully. We come from a land rich in humanist morals, unfortunately it has remained dormant, as principles, for all these centuries, maybe it’s time to practically implement them.
The cure to all our problems lies in removing the cause, the cause our elders determined for us. They wanted an independent India and their patriotism was one that contained vengeance. But, we are global Indians, our patriotism is one that is filled with love and camaraderie, and we want independence from being told what to do, what to think. We need the liberty to tailor our own lives. And through the path of self-development, we can achieve that end. Only we can give ourselves that freedom.
Only we can make a change in the lives of our people. We have all the devices necessary to make the difference, we are technologically well-equipped, intellectually able to rapidly expand our thoughts, connected with the world, all we need to do is find our own paths to salvation. And that primarily involves directing our desires to that of a better world, giving a chance to all Indians, all our people, to live a dignified life, to be able to decide on their own.
We need not concern ourselves with changing the government, the corrupt politicians and the bureaucrats. Maybe, we need to stop cribbing about our government, even discontinue expecting the government to bring about welfare measures to save the people. Perhaps, it’s time we tried to find ways to do good to our people with our own means. Possibly, we could even start seeing cricket for what it merely is, just a game. Whatever little we can do to contribute, we must. Many drops make an ocean. We can use our skills to change minds, attitudes, and lives. Liberal minded people are the only ones who can revolutionize their times. We are in that time, we are those people. We can make India an example for the world to follow, a land of peace, harmony and brotherhood.