"I have a feeling that we are going to be a generation which is going to fail this country," I remember my father saying to some friends of his in Kota, Rajasthan, where he was posted between 1970 and 1973 and where we went to school when we were really young. 'We have fallen into the trap of independence, a freedom which has ensnared us in a perpetual dependence because of the partition", he continued, "because the partition is more or less a device for us to keep fighting with each other permanently", he had said.

This was during the '71 war where one of my uncles was at the borders fighting in the army, and another was at sea on INS Vikrant, I think, with the Indian Navy. While one of my aunts was with us during the time because she couldn't bear to be in Bombay just in case there was bad news, the other I remember was in Srinagar and we would book normal, urgent and lightening, all possible calls to her, never to know which one would go through first almost every night and wait, sometimes till well past midnight, so my father could speak to her and be assured that all was well at their end.
Meanwhile on his radio we would switch between AIR and BBC 24/7.

I must have been barely 7 or 8 years old when I remember one of my fathers activist nephews who was a Marxist turned up at our doorstep one night, completely surprising us when he asked my father if he could stay with us for a few days. My father was aware at the time that there were guys being hounded by the Government and his nephew was one of those who has gone underground. My father called his cousin, his nephews father in New Delhi, to ask him what he should do, and my father was told by his cousin to throw his son out of the house immediately.
My father sat up all night talking to his nephew and before it was morning, he let him go, as there was no way he could give him refuge.

In various arguements in the drawing room my father would stick to his stand that India's non aligned position and close relationship with the USSR was more or less a status which suited the west. While his friends would shout him down, he would stand firm on his ground and tell everyone to wait and watch what will happen in the coming decades.
And what he prophecied, came true.
USSR broke up to bits and pieces, Afghanistan was occupied by allied forces, Pakistan and India turned Kashmir into a dispute of which solution could be found only after bloodshed and massacre, and post the nineteen sixtees, China began to rise far beyond it could've been ever imagined.

In the mid eighties, when the reservation issue began to catch fire in India, before he died, my father would gloat with my mother and say to her that he had told her so.
Since both my parents had left their roots in Pakistan when partition took place, discussions between them were extreme and my father being more volatile of the two abhorred the haphazard way India was inching towards modernization.
While my mother insisted that we, my siblings and myself, should move to Bombay one at a time and build our careers after we graduated from the small towns that we had grown up in, my father who had no option but to agree, would sulk and grumble as he would tell her that she was falling prey to devices of the capitalist wave which was pushing people to huddle up in concrete jungles to leave their land, rich with resources, for the very wealthy to own and exploit.

My father has been gone for much over two decades now, and everytime I remember things he would say to others, which we would often overhear, it jolts me. It is almost as if he knew what was coming, and where we were going.
The socio political framework of India is something which I have always been able to foretell and most of my friends have always asked me, how I know.
I would always quote my father and say that he had predicted this.

He had also predicted the break up of India into separate states, and said that it is inevitable that the separation of Pakistan from India is not the last partition we have seen, nor is the institution of Bangladesh as a separate nation the last which Pakistan is going to see.
He had said that the poor are going to grow in numbers, and rich are going to get richer. He had said we would be fighting the poor one day and each bit of violence is going to lead to the birth of new power centers and a day will come when every power center will want to follow its own ideology, its own vision.
He had said that in an unequally divided society, neither capitalism, nor socialism have the capacity to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, because both ideologies breed a culture of unequal distribution of opportunity as well as wealth, while they proclaim something else and ironically echo each others words.
He would often tell us not to be fooled by the capatalists as their intent to be dictatorial is hidden behind the veil of a perception of freedom that we are all so prone to fall for.
They are no different from the communists who have similar designs when it comes to giving advantage to the rich which will always disadvantage the poor.
'Because', he would say, "when in power, all ideologies lose their core vision and fall prey to the men at the top, who in that predicament are all the same".

I remember that as being my first ever realization where I understood that it is not neccesary for similar words to mean the same thing, nor is it a given that, that which is spoken differently should 'not' mean the same thing.

Today, 2010, the left, the right, socialism and capitalism are the various ideologies amongst other extremes, which apply in different parts in India, and there is no escape from that because it is the nature of our politics, the result of the divisions over time.
Bringing everyone together across one table to talk and discuss issues, is the greatest challenge for any political party in power.
It's not as though when the Congress Party is in power, for instance now, it can ignore the right wing and left wing thought. It has to take along and apease every section while hauling the nation forward and it is probably impossible in times like this.
Thus, the threat, the terror, the insurgency and the blood.
And in desperate attempts to tackle all the forces of varied opinion, politicals parties are now getting divided within, and forging allainces with extremely differing points of view externally.
This is not coalition politics anymore because this is a co-confused politics.
The whole concept of who we are, and what we stand for, is lost somewhere.

Post 26/11, India has changed completely.
The Indian State has weakened and our Governement is more or less a gang of school children whose moves are being orchestrated by some unknown external force. We hardly seem to have any say in internal as well as external matters. We seem to be a government held at ransome and a country living at the edge so much so that if we are to disobey the deciplines dictated by the west, we have had it. The situation is so out of the control of the Government of India and its administration, that it is next to impossible for us to ever know where the arms used by terrorists and ammunition in the poccession of insurgents is coming from.
Our media is so struck with horror as every situation unfolds that its space is mostly occupied with petty issues like controversies created by sports stars from India and across the borders, and Bollywood.

I'll be called a conspiracy theorist by all, but I can't help but analyse why we are so silent about the mafia wars going on within our nation where the rich and the powerful are doomed if they do not act in the manner which is expected of them, and that is to crush the poorest of the poor of their own nation.
Each one of the huge conglomerates chasing land and bidding unbelievable wealth to acquire the right to the resources of the land are in a position to address the state of the poor.
Then why aren't they doing it? What are they afraid of?
What is this trap which our politicians, political parties and corporates have gone and got caught in?

I am forced to believe that the blast at the German Bakery in Pune was the result of close proximity of some of our politicians with the mafia. It is their friendship with the underworld and their control over the police which disables the administration from taking strong action against all those suspects who enable the existence of unwanted elements in India.

I cannot help but believe that the cause of the massacre of 76 jawans at Dantewada was the result of PC's visit to Lalgarh, where he pronounced that the buck regarding the Maoist and Naxal attrocities, stops with the Government of West Bengal. On the one hand he had taken a hard stand with the Left Government of Bengal and ruffled feathers of his allaince partners, the Trinamool Congress, and on the other, his popularity with the media, the elite and the intellectuals, was not going down too well with his detractors within his own party as well as his rivals.

Are we to believe, that if the State ever takes a strong stand and acts according to the constitution and enforces law and order, incidents like these are going to be the result?

Should we not internalise and believe that external elements here, to harm and separate us are being fuelled and being given refuge by the very leaders elected by us, who have gone and prostrated before their greed while indulging and getting embroiled in the politics of power?

The BJP, the only opposition worthy of mention here, which had disintegrated and become too outdated with its vision and ideology to be able to show strength in the last elections, has consolidated itself recently by elevating its young to the top and inducting every celebrity it could lay hands on to make its presence felt. It still has no agenda, because its only purpose seems to be to overthrow the Congress or at the least weaken it enough so that it can hope to come back to power at the center after the next general elections in 2013.
And there is every possibility that they will achieve their goal, particularly when the likes of Lalit Modi, known for his relationship with the BJP unleashes an attack on Tharoor publicly, with an ace, a woman, Sunanda Pushkar, glamorous and attractive to top it, up his sleeve, but BJP will still not have an agenda for the nation which they expect should give them the mandate.
It is so disgusting to see Sunanda being raped by our media for her liason with Tharoor, especially when we know who the people our politicians and scribes are addressing, and what they must be thinking.

Is politics and power all that matters to these guys? Are they so hungry for wealth or what?

Why would Gopinath Munde start a demand for reservation for OBC's in the Womens Reservation Bill, and go against the will of his own party, the BJP, otherwise?
Do they really think that people are so stupid as to believe them and think that while the party speaks one language, Munde can speak another and get away with it?
Do they really think that we do not see that they are appeasing the Lalu Prasad Yadav's and Mulayam Singh's in such an underhand way?
How silly they must think we are when they believe that we do not realize that while the party is speaking to one constituency, some of its own leaders are addressing another?

We have to admit, that all the double standards, the triple speak and hypocracies of our political parties are revealing themselves and the politicians are stripped naked now. They have brought India to a place where today, it is the intellectuals who are slanting towards extremists like the Maoists and Naxals because in supporting them against state attrocities and the greed of the powerful, is the only hope left for the poor of the country who are constantly under threat of their women being mauled and their homes being vandalized.

And now, when Digvijay Singh and Mani Shankar Iyer go into a frenzy against PC, it is so obvious that the Congress, instead of taking responsibility for the failure of its policy to tackle the Maoist/Naxal problem, is making Chidambaram the fall guy. And suddenly Diggy and Mani are spouting words we heard from Arundhati Roy, who until yesterday was being blamed for leading a band of intellectuals to obstruct States intention.

Why is the state not coming clean on its agenda with the tribals?
What are all the politicians hiding that they cannot demand that corporates who want the lands, present to the nation what plans they have for the poor whom they will displace in the name of growth and empowerment of the nation?
Why do both BJP and Congress stand together, when otherwise they are poles apart, at the time it comes to  the Maoist and Naxal issue?

Indira Gandhi was left with no choice but to announce a state of emergency at one time because it was the intellectuals and the learned who had turned against the State. There was no other way left but to muzzle the media and control communication and to even shut down coffee shops where intellectuals met everyday to discuss politics and went back to their offices to write about the lack of logic in the policies of the government.
Those who were educated and thought deep could not fall for the insanity with which India was being governed and the poor were being marginalized.
They had to protest, and therefore they had to be made to shut up.
I can see such a state arising again now, when we as the educated, the liberated, the thinking people start to disagree with the manner in which our politics is being conducted.

The fear that makes me write this piece is the fear of my fathers words coming true.
His alluding to the fact the India - Pakistan partition in 1947 was not the last separation that we will seen.
The fact that once upon a time, it was the Marxists who were gone underground and showing their presence through violence, and today, they are a constituency and hold enough seats in parliament to make or break the Government of India.
The truth that today it is the Maoists and Naxals on the run, and tomorrow they would be taking seat in our parliament.
The question I ask is, do we need the bloodshed everytime before we give up our resistence to inclusion?
Can't we, as a State focus on the problems of the poorest without giving it a vote bank purpose?
How long will it be before we hear the cry of the poor and react to it, so that external forces don't get the freedom to create their own presence, own state, own constituency, by exploiting their needs?
I hope not after we have seen another bloody separation?


Lalitha said…
Fantastic article Vinata. We are heading towards anarchy and the civil society that should rise up in arms against the divisive forces are hand in glove with the mafia that permeates our society under and above! Separate we must between policies to elevate our poor, and enforcing all the laws that are mere paper tigers at this time.
Yogesh Kamat said…
A mind blowing article. I will try to publish this wherever possible. Everyone should read this. thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Vikram Chawla said…
hey awesome article..
i have an upcoming website named ..we would love to publish your articles on our let me know if you would be interested...! tc
Recusant said…
I agree with most of what you said. Brilliantly writte, AND my father has said and still says the very same things..but anyways, no one can offer up a good solution to this. Why can't good intentions succeed? Papa's generation has a lot of good sense of grasping issues, but when one looks back at their times and before, no one seems to have acted all that wisely by and large. Maybe at the heart we people don't believe in equality for all. Coz most of the the times, it seems to me our sense of self worth is established by perceiving to have a status in society..and for someone to have a good status..someone should have a bad one. There has to be a comparison. Maybe it's the EGO. Individual, collective whatever.