Indian Flag

Ah India! My birthplace, my country, my people, my identity. In the turmoil that it faced for the last 66 years ever since the British decided to finally let us be free, India grew as a nation. The colonial powers’ “Divide and Rule” strategy worked wonders and split the glorious sub-continent into fragments, leading to bloodshed and violence, the shrieks of which echo even today in our day to day lives, and the blood from which still stains many a memory that people from the era of partition still have.

1947 Independence, 1971 Bangladesh independence, 1999 Kargil, 2002 Godhra…just a few reminders to the denizens of the motherland that even though we were free from outside hatred and oppression, we weren’t free from our own internal prejudices and biases of magnitudes such that even today people are seldom empathetic about the loss of lives in communal violence if they are promised “economic reforms.” As someone rightfully pointed out, in ways the Hindu majority of India secretly thinks Muslims “deserve” being killed off; no one in their right mind can know about the carnage of 2002 and yet think our dearest Prime Ministerial candidate is “the future of the nation”

As I sit here, in the United States, a citizen of India who can’t vote while he is abroad, I feel sad, guilt ridden, and angry that voices like mine and of thousands of others are not getting included in the decision making in the country. I’ve already given up on anyone, irrespective of political views, ever listening to the youth of the nation, but still I believe that every vote counts. While scrolling through Facebook, I came across this image on a friend’s profile. This is from a street play against communal violence that this group did –

India street play

 

What’s funny here is that in 24 years of existing on this earth, and living in India as a citizen, I never realised how powerful the colors of the Indian flag were. We were always taught that Saffron stood for Sacrifice, White for Peace, and Green for Prosperity. Completely wrong

The Saffron stands for the Hindus, and the Green for the Muslims. It’s my interpretation, but I’m sure many others see it too. The flag was supposed to signify the harmony of cultures coming together in peace. Little did we know that this very tricolor, which stands proudly on every “special cavalcade” of motorcars designated for the rulers politicians of this country would serve little purpose in the wrongdoings that they do, every single day. Under the aegis of Hindutva, Muslims are getting killed off. Under the cloak of Green, radical Muslims are killing off Hindus too. The violence is on both sides, but when a Prime Ministerial candidate is condoned for his actions in allowing riots to happen (his exact statement, unofficially to a room of people, was “let people take out their anger, it has to go somewhere”), it serves little purpose even if he promises economic reforms.

Let’s not get to the economic reforms. In a gist, it’s all a sham. That’ll be a longer discussion for some other time.

The future of my country lies in the upcoming elections. The world’s largest democracy votes during a month-long process from mid-April to mid-May this year. I’m afraid for free speech, for rights, for equality. I’m afraid for everyone who believed in a good society. Because if people like Narendra Modi (the Prime Ministerial candidate) are elected, it’ll be another era of suppressed speech, of ganging-up on people who criticize, on minorities. It’ll be a Nazi era for India, all in the name of “economic reform.”

 

And there will be bloodshed.

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