Rainbow Connection

Cause is Effect concealed, Effect is Cause revealed.

Monday, August 14, 2006

59 years of Freedom

Are we really free?

‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose’ sang Janis Joplin and rightly so says Samiyah Saud

It’s yet another day of celebration and festivities in admiration of the freedom struggle that took place 59 years ago, giving us the independence we are yet to enjoy. Yet to enjoy, because after all these years, your average Indian of today is probably thinking, ‘Are we really free?” With the recent chain of violent and ghastly tragedies the country has faced, it is only natural that we are filled with such doubts and worse, feelings of rage, distress and resentment. Let’s not forget that these tragedies aren’t very recent, because we all know that if one part of the country is peaceful, there is always some other part, that is facing inconceivable ordeals. It’s simple to lose track of how long the Kashmir issue has existed because you reach a point of saturation and then it becomes a way of life. And even if you still care, you know you are in no position to do anything about it as a mere citizen.

Today, as we celebrate Independence Day and 59 years of freedom, there’s still uncertainty of how many more battles we might have to fight before really enjoying the triumph passed down by our forefathers. And while our country vows of its “rich and varied heritage”, and claims that “all Indians are my brothers and sisters”, it barely lives up to its words. Civic apathy has transcended to a whole new level and the nation is forced to live with terrorism, natural disasters, corruption, poverty and list could go on.

While freedom can just be a state of mind, there’s still more to it when it involves an entire country. Many are still eagerly waiting for independence; from poverty, corruption, injustice, violence, et al. Over the years, it has been India giving refuge to globetrotters, but with a lack of gratitude from the same. Deliberate attempts have been made to destroy the oneness this nation offers. While we have all the possible communities living here, it is this deliberate disparity that allows differences and insecurities to creep in. There may be cultural harmony making this a united nation, but unity is highly overrated. Says Neharika Singh, a college student, (read ‘the future of the nation’), “We are not free. Freedom means to do anything and everything without imposing on another’s liberties. Going by this definition, freedom is anything but existent in its entity as today very few people stop to think of whether what they’re doing is affecting another or not.” Collin D’Cunha, a film student and an aspiring filmmaker reiterates, “We are not free from bureaucracy; till now freedom of expression is curbed, not in obvious ways, but in ways of censorship, political power or fear of political pressure. A common citizen cannot express himself or herself in any way, there is no sense of patriotism, given that we are constantly dealing with terrorism. Instead of going out there and enjoying myself, I’d rather sit safely at home.” While this is what the youth have to say about freedom, there’s more that grown ups include. David De Souza, a freelance photographer says, “While we are technically free, we are captive to fascism. That means someone thinking they are righter, more moral, more powerful, more connected and then deciding what is good and proper. But I would rather live here than in Burma or Angola!”

Mahesh Aney- popular cinematographer adds, “We are free, when you look at it on the whole. As a nation I am free; I can breathe, I can live, I can go out and get myself what I want. But then there are my evil politicians, who decide what to do, they decide my life, they decide how much money is to be spent. So we have a notional freedom we all live in although we are the biggest democracy in the world. As Janis Joplin sang, ‘Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.’ It’s just about discerning how free I am from the system, from the politics and all the evils that it brings.”

The country promises equal opportunities for all and the very fact that we are open to globalisation shows that perception is changing and global players entering the market have faith in the system. Accountability is becoming one of the key factors in our country including in the government. Women have equal opportunity, equal say and their opinions are valued and valid. However, all these changes are seen only in the urban areas of the country. There is still a massive section of the country that is tagged as ‘backward’. Even as we are working towards development in all the possible fields, it is our sense of belonging to one country, one world and one universe that will see us through it all. It’s about time we start realising that we are one, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate each other.

Friday, August 11, 2006

No mind to mind-Stage Zero.

Since there's too little time and so many things to do, I guess the speed of our thoughts does prove to be an "unfair challenge" in relation to our ability of speaking or writing. Although there is a stage where one doesnt need words anymore. Having said that, what is most intriguing is the fact that we still think, at times, so hard that our mind begins to stop making sense. And the nonsense that it starts to throw up then becomes a reality - our own reality. To live in and live by.
So we have people dying across nations because they are being bombed. In some corner of the earth, there is a war going on, in another there is a celebration and in yet another place, there is apathy towards it all. These are just three insatnces, where we all know alot more exists. The point is that no matter what, we are using our mind to a state where it no more has any positive outcomes. It's all negative. Politicians, terrorists (same thing!), diplomats, cops, media, and of course, people. They are in a negative state of mind for their own reasons.
Now we all know what collective consciousness can do. Some say miracles can happen only because of the collective forces. And in this collective negative state of mind, we are all focusing on a negative outcome. What's worse is that we don't even know it, there is no awareness whatsoever. Not knowing where we are headed is alright, as is being lost, for it comes with the hope of being found but knowing you're on the wrong track and still going on with the journey is plain lack of concern. Lack of concern for those who are travelling with you, and from them, those who are merely following your footsteps for lack of their own intelligence and sense of direction. And since you are responsible for their journey, a responsiblity you are unwilling to acknowledge, let alone accept, they are in for a very wicked ride. A ride that might just leave them jaded, confused, angry and hurt. Please don't forget that these are all quintessentially negative outcomes. And because it is all taking place at a collective level , so will its consequences. Don't even get me started on what can follow. Some of it is already showing, with Tsunamis and cyclones and earthquakes and floods. That's nature's way of taking things into her hands and setting things straight.
Human beings seek revenge, they feel a compelling need to even the score, and they do that in places like battlefields, politics and hostilities of all kinds. And amidst this man made chaos, it is the innocent that suffer the most. Infants and the elderly are the prime victims. And somehow, they manage to go unnoticed for they don't matter in the scheme of things. How can an infant vote for a politician? Or how does an aged citizen add to the national income? So they have no one to score brownie points with just to stay alive. The rest of us, who form a considerable part of this system are covered and confined so long as we continue to crave, create and consume and of course, play by its rules. If you don't, you're anti-social, a threat to upcoming economies and corrupt politicians or worse, dead!
And all this, thanks to the human mind. It's a massive space in there, in your mind, in every mind. We have just made most of it "off-limits" thus controlling a very small portion of this vast milieu and in an attempt to control (being the control-freaks that we are!), we have forsaken the avenues that it has to bequeath. This has ony led to restricting what we can do, what we can see and how much there is to feel.
At the end of the day, what matters to me may be irrelevant to you, but please remember to dredge up all the lives you have touched and are around before you set out into oblivion. To enter the alien void, you need to leave your mind behind. You need to reach Stage Zero.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bliss is Convenience.

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone;
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in our own.

As I fail to recall who wrote these words, what doesn't leave my memory is that it speaks volumes of what is true. However, this true only for those who are true, to themselves and to those around. Courage in our own is taken for granted as is kindness for others. It's so easy to assume that an indivdiual who doesn't complain or is always smiling, has no battles to fight. Plato rightly said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." But being kind is misunderstood as a motive to gain something, or foolish, because let's face it, why would anyone care to have time and energy and be kind enough when there's so many things to do, places to be and people to meet? Being content with yourself, your life is looked at with envy in this age. How is it that you are content when I am not? As much as such questions are considered childish, they come from a negative place; a place no child comes from. Today, where ignorance is bliss, bliss is not necessarily ignorance. Bliss is Convenience. Convenience is the new-age mantra, and nothing works if it is not convenient. Whether it is the oh-so-important meeting at office or a chat to lighten up a heavy heart, it won't work if it is not convenient both ways. We have no time, no energy, no understanding, NOthing. Amidst a system that spews only grey, where can any one see light or dark? It's all such a blur, for colour is no more a part of anyone's life. It is restricted only to walls, violence and flags. Walls built in houses, not homes. Violence, preferring only red, blood red. And flags to differentiate where you belong. And all this is done, of course, with convenience being the top criterion.