An open letter to India
For the wonderful things that have happened in our lives, I'm sending this letter to you. Thank you.
I have been in your galaxy of being the colonised and the developing and then your emergence. Your russification then, and your americanisation now. I have evolved along with your transformation. I adore the tall northern Himalayas that clothe you with greens and whites. The rich fertile of your south, and your plateaus and deserts. And I love your foods as exotic as the spices were to your former masters. Sometimes I want to fly across from Kashmir to Kanyakumari on the wings of didactic, my India, you have given me:
The Indus Valley and the Mauryas and the Mughals and Natya Shastra and Taj Mahal and Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh and the economic reforms and Ratan Tata and Narayan Moorthy and Azim Premji and statistics of Sachin Tendulkar and Mallika Sherawat and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and ourselves that you haven't. (Would you call it imagined history? Jaundiced...?) But I’m shackled here by my prejudices of your chicanery.
Not long ago I saw you coming out of the shrines when countries were made, when the Britishers went back to their cold storage, though not before giving me a language I can talk to you, your banned language I had not learn from the part of the world I belong, my India, it’s your part I hope you know it. But I despise your political class, the classes of several things that you have.
We go to the election booth so that you can give us goats and monkeys. And I marvel at your tigers and peacocks and lions; your nuclear power; your million-million strong workforce; and the fine fabrics of your economy that excites, that drapes the uninspiring landscapes where naked animals pry on the dusty roads—some defeating themselves with sweat-soaked suicide notes, some killing themselves with guns made in Zedong. Though rootless and identitiless that my natives have also become, that worry you not, we worry very truly you will not save us from the Chinese; and your poverty more sordid than the popular item songs that bother me not, please do bother half of your children are whining hungrily.
And you do see there are praying people who howls for the United Nations; seemingly saying it’s your world—some who wants more of your power there to show that the pillars of Ashoka are as powerful as the Christ the Redeemer and some who wants direct mandate from there for their grievances, who complains: better the devil you know than the devil you don't; for your south and north block, there the things are too licit to be true. And I laugh secretly, as if an organisation is stronger than you, my India!
You are shining and you are incredible. I have seen your goddesses on a pedestal but the lordly people. It is better if things are left unsaid but my mortal heart can bear not When the folks suffer from high libido, low opportunity syndrome. Attacking raping killing! And population is exploding though your guardians are pulling down the cinemas with kissing scenes, no fucking scenes yet. No hard feelings but every movies are musicals, and reality shows shown all of them were popular in America ten years ago, while on your other side people are sleeping outside on the road in front of the malls.
But I still relish your history, your gardens of different cultures. And the sociological multiculturalism where we are more akin to outsiders. We were as good as buffer then, and now as an entry to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Looking east with your sharp Aryan eye.
And money makes the world go round and you have herded our land dealers in circles. And you say jobless people are fueling national feelings. And you still feed the politicos with promises as hard as glasses and money you have borrowed from the World Bank. I worry for your debts but you see me and my folks are wretched: bloods we perspire, the rattle of machine guns our lullaby and pity we are geography-challenged, we are placed near your opposition by unknown circumstances but I believe we are placed near one of the paradises. Now I will write an anti-Paki song for you as a token of appreciation. But are you really helping us with more jobless people from your heartland donning the uniform of military men to enter my neighbourhood? We already have so many of them donning the uniform of land dealers. Or are we with you to make a powerful nation? Or you are with us to build diplomacy and make defence deals? I’m not sure anymore, my India, but I do write your name on my bank account on my driving license, on university forms, on my passport, and nowhere else.
Postscript: I swear I don't have a gun.