Dear Mr President of the Republic of India,
Firstly, let me wish you a very happy new year. Hope 2020 brings you joy and prosperity.
This year is bound to hold a special place in the memories of many millennials in India. No kudos to guess why, we were all in school when the then President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, gave an inspiring speech about the idea of Vision 2020—a roadmap for the entire nation to accomplish by then, to grow as individuals and as a nation. (Note to self: a Telugu poet, Mr Gurujada Appa Rao once said, it’s not the soil that makes a nation, but the people.)
On the eve of 71st Republic Day, I, a citizen of India, (don’t know for how long), a private sector employee, who would turn 25 soon and would be still clueless about my life, along with my regular struggles of trying to pretend that I’m a grown adult, am currently worried if I woke up in a dystopian world where a country, which known for peace and harmony and a nation that built on the concept of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ would still be standing tall in the course of this year and in the decades to follow.
I’m writing this letter to you in the hopes that you would do something. I remember being taught at school that it is the task of the President of India and the Supreme Court to ensure that the foundations on which the Republic of India was formed stay strong. No Government or a Bill or Act can be passed that would go against the most important principle: ‘all living beings must be treated equally’.
Of late, I have observed that cows have more value than humans, the destruction of a bus is being compensated by the seizure of the property of ‘identified rioters’. I also understand that there were many cases of mob lynching, where the perpetrators weren’t identified. I could only infer that a bus being set on fire would get justice before the family of the victim of a lynch mob.
I wonder, how do logical, well-educated people occasionally miss the obvious change in the thought process. Say, ten years ago, when the Uttar Pradesh High Court gave the Ayodhya judgement, there were very few people who cared about it. The country was on high alert to ensure that riots did not break out, but the atmosphere remained peaceful. This year, we saw aggression and fear escalating among people. Certain groups that are trying too hard to hide, but failing miserably while celebrating the verdict.
Back then, people had more important things to worry about like inflation, poverty, education, economic growth, infrastructural development. Now, we worry about who might possibly be a threat to our existence, our freedom, our safety and security. Back then, anyone could write a thoughtful piece and not live in fear of death or rape threats. I can confidently say that before setting out to write this particular piece, I have pondered for a good 30 minutes whether I should go through with it or not for fear of trolls.
We belong to a country that chants ‘Athidi Devo Bhava’, we are now sending students from overseas back to their homes for holding a placard with a message that was against the current government. We are taught that the one who has the power to rule the country should consider all the citizens as one’s own children and has to confirm to ‘Rajdharm‘. The wave of Hindutva is getting stronger, but it isn’t abiding by its own principles.
The most common greeting of the country, ‘Namaste’, the God in me respects the God in you, has become void of meaning for many people. People don’t think that God in a person belonging to another religion or even sex is equal to the God in them. When you assume that God exists in every cell of this Universe, doesn’t an organism made of cells like yourself deserve the same respect, possess the same rights as you do? The number of people who truly believe and practice this concept has gravely reduced.
Sir, we millennials, are always taunted as lazy and privileged by the generations preceding us; the generations that took to the roads to protest against policies and governments, standing up for what they thought was right, a few of these critics are currently our lawmakers and are allowing us—lazy, lethargic, privileged, entitled, convent educated brats—to get thrashed, sit in the freezing cold, lose property to the government and the country that gives us the right to ownership, even succumb to the injuries caused by the thrashing and still we hear ‘sab changa si’.
This atmosphere is toxic for a privileged bunch like us. We are currently dreading the coming decade. Help us out. We are barely figuring out the way of the world; we would prefer not to fight a powerful establishment.
Hopefully, you have time to go through this letter.
A citizen of India.
P.S: I really hope the next decade would not be out of a dystopian novel, and I sincerely wish you have a great year ahead.