I’m typing this with blurry vision and tears in my eyes. Pardon my grammatical errors.
We’ve had ample of deliberation, contention and dissension on the merits and demerits of the laws, bills, policies, etc. I want to vent my apprehension associated with the same.
Tears gush down my cheeks as I go down memory lane. I have been brought up in a family with secular values. I’ve spent my childhood in a secular locality anticipating dhoklas during Diwali from Patel Aunty, Jacqueline Aunty’s baked fruit cakes on Christmas Eve and Jha uncle getting jaggery tilkuts during winter and litti chokha every Sunday.
I remember how proudly I used to flaunt in front of my friends and cousins residing in other countries about our country and its diverse heritage. I remember growing up being taught how imperative it is to practice my religion without being discourteous towards other faiths.
As a teenager, I started weaving dreams of how I would pursue higher education, work and contribute towards the prosperity of the nation. But, this dream seems to fade with each passing day. The idea of India that was being created while I was growing up seems to be fabricated and distorted. The present scenario has affected me tremendously to an extent that I feel like ceasing the idea of applying for university and giving up entirely.
A lot of things don’t feel right. All this gives me so much anxiety that I face difficulty sleeping at night wondering what horrifying headline the next day might bring.
It’s gut-wrenching to see some part of the nation being unstable, battle and suffer at any points of time. I don’t want a bloodbath. Just the thought of all this results in trepidation disrupting my normal routine. I have seen the same fear reflecting in text and voice messages of friends and acquaintances living across the country.
They say they are alarmed and scared to see what our nation is leading to. These are not people from one specific religion, these are people from across all religions who care about the oneness of our nation. Our India.
So many of us with a heavy heart hesitate sharing our thoughts or opening up. A girl has stopped expressing herself because of the fear of being judged or labelled as so or so. I’ve seen a group of old men stop gathering at the corner of the street because they hold different political opinions. I know two neighbours who have stopped sending out their kids to play together.
How did these feelings even surface? We need to introspect and ask ourselves.
Right now, all I want to say is there are people around us who are feeling vulnerable. Please tell them that you love and support them and you’re going to stand by them. A lot of people need support and reassurance.We have the potential of subduing problems if we stand together. Because if not us, then who? Because if not now, then when?
Let’s not limit it to calling each other’s sister didi and appi, telling our friends to get one extra box of biryani and sewain after Eid, asking them to teach us to pronounce “assalamualeikum” correctly, learning that they crave puja bhog and langar from the gurudwara as much as you do. Let’s uphold the true essence of secularism that India holds.
“आह जो दिल से निकली जाएगी
क्या समझते हो कि खाली जाएगी”
– अकबर इलाहाबादी
(The sighs that leave this heart with such pain,
Do you really think they will go unanswered?)
– Akbar Allahabadi