Ram and Ali...

Who r v?

Who's Hindu?

Who's Muslim?

Wen there's "Ali" in Diw-ali and "Ram: in Ram-zan

Help India in being United

Spread this SMS as far as u can, Vandemataram

This is one of the usual SMSes that you get during Independence/Republic Day...or during any sporting achievement...that's when the whole patriotic zeal is at its peak. Oh, I forgot to mention, this also happens during terrorist attacks when everyone is fuming mad at "FOREIGN ELEMENTS" and "ANTI-NATIONAL ELEMENTS". Anyways, so the above mentioned was the SMS that Divya sent me a few mins ago... I'm sure plenty of such messages will start reachin my inbox by midnight tonight. All Hail the Patriotic ferver.

What happens after such days go by?? We start lampooning the system, blasting everyone and everything and blaming anyone that we can find. Rang De Basanti had a good message..If you have a problem with the system, be a part of the system and change it...the movie's a history, the message is soon becoming a history. Every country has their share of problems, everyone deals with them in their own way. Why do we keep complaining?

I will tell you what disgusts me the most. When a person asks me "What caste are you? Are you a north Indian or a Southie? Northies are so and so and southies are so and so..." I mean, enough already. I'm a human being...digest that. Most of us, as kids, have been taught about our respective religions-- Many of us, at least a few of them that I know, have been taught "You're a Hindu, You're different from a Muslim"... Many were encouraged to make friends in their own religion. Many girls I knew were adviced that they get a groom in their own caste and religion. I don't know about my friends on the blogosphere, but it certainly holds true for many I knew personally.

Unfortunately I have elder brothers at home who lambast muslims... the hypocrites that they are, they have their best friends who practise Islam. I am not saying that my brother's are bad...they aren't good either. My maternal grandmother has something against muslims and Pakistanis too. I have tried to talk to her many a times, telling her about the amazing friends I have, who are muslims, but we never went out to be friends with them asking their religion. She always has this "You have not seen what we saw during the days of Independence...it would be difficult for you to understand". I am sure ..it is already very difficult to understand their psyche.

I have told my mom, I would have no problem marrying a muslim...if he's a good person, someone I am compatible with, I could care less about religion. Mom is not religiously inclined, but dad is. Mom says this fact out to a few family friends, just to see their reaction. I am also interested in those reactions which range from utter disbelief to "are you nuts", "are you joking", "you're just saying for the heck of saying it". I've never recieved a single positive response to the whole deal. What I do get is comparisons to the recent Rizwanur Rehman-Priyanka Todi case....and I am not even close to thinking of marrying ANYONE right now. Late last year, a Pakistani chat friend was visiting India, my hometown at that...and he asked me for my number...which I gave without hesitation (I think I trusted very easily...some would call me stupid, but I think I had chatted enough with the guy to understand that he wasn't a "TERRORIST").

He called me up when he was here. We spoke often and he told me how he loved the city and it felt like home...except that it was a bit modern here. He loved the malls, he said and he loved the food. He wanted to go to Agra to see Taj Mahal but they need to get permission to travel to other cities too (I didnt know about this fact). One of his remarks -"The Police treat us like Terrorists..we have to report to the station every few days... and we are asked questions that sort of unsettle us". I found that was really bad on our part. He asked me if I would meet him and take him sight seeing. I said I would. When I told about it to my parents, mom told me dad was skeptical. I couldnt bear to tell him that my parents thought that meeting him would land me in trouble. I kept avoiding him.

I had a chat with him after a few days, and he was in a bad mood. He had finally begun to miss home. He said in the beginning, everyone was good to him. Then they started to compare India and Pakistan, he was deeply hurt that people have a very low opinion about Pakistan. He said "People think all the people there hate India and all of us are terrorists....it is not like that.. we are not primitive cavemen... why cant normal people here think of us as normal human beings and not as Pakistanis or Terrorists or Muslims or whatever". It was the first time I had felt ashamed at my fellow human beings. Even Gujarat Riots didnt rattle me as much as this chat.

He went back, and we never spoke again.

Bottom line is, we keep talking about Uniting a divided India. Its not impossible. Initially I had thought about changing the past and present generation's views on religion. Its a sad reality that past cannot be changed. The present and future is in our hands. And we can do a lot to make it a bright one. Lets not teach our children differentiation...let them be free in their choice.. lets just teach them about the innate goodness that is present in every human being. Lets just warn them about the bad things in the world, and not put a label to it as "So and So did it for So and So reasons and they are so and so". Lets not give anyone or any religion a bad name. Peace to the world...and HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY...to India and Pakistan.

2 Observations:

  1. Nikhil said...:

    Share ur feelings on this post... Good one. BTW, this is the album of my sis's marriage, look at it when ur free.


  1. Alok said...:

    You say it all at the bottom line as “Peace to the world...”. However, I think you were lil carried away with your own example that only shows one side of the life and the other side is still untouched. But again I have nothing to go and prove against whatever you have written. I am just making sure there can not be onside of the coin.

    Not sure, whether you have ever thought that as human beings the first thing we need to understand is that everyone out here is separated by their thoughts, by their minds, by their eyes and also separated by thyself. We are just so different and it’s difficult to distinguish between the good, bad and ugly parts of the life. It keeps on refraining to see there is something beyond what we can imagine or believe and pushes us to define our own boundaries, limits and condition to satisfy the way we want to live and at the same time we want others around us to follow it exactly the same way. And all of a sudden we see two separate worlds trying to retain their identity or so called existence.

    In the end, It needs a great deal of effort to acknowledge the indifference that revolve around us and the same time without which we will hardly try to find out what the other void side of life has stored for us.

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