Who are they? My enemies ? NO! They are my friends, relatives and other near and dear ones! They are my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters, my parents, my better half and all others who actually have my own safety in their minds. They are worried about me when I speak against the government (or on any current issue that is controversial) on the electronic media! They are concerned when my article appears in the newspapers/magazines! They are scared like hell when I receive a phone call opposing my views! And they all get together and try to convince me about the futility of this all. Can you change anything single-handedly? they ask! Who will come to your defense if some comes and confronts you?
I try to convince them that Christ was alone when he challenged the bigotry; so was Guru Nanak when he challenged Babar, the Mogul invader. I try to impress upon them the fact that seekers of and advocates of truth are always lonely people. The entire human history is replete with umpteen examples! “Dont you realize that most of them had to lose their life for taking sided of truth”, they argue! “So what “, I try to look strong enough. But they are not willing to listen. They try to force their cowardice on me . “What do you gain out of it?”…Cheap popularity? Not even that ” They try to touch a raw nerve.
But they fail to see that their concern for saving me (my body) is not worth it because the body is going to perish, sooner or later! They dont want to be told that the soul is more important than the body. They also fail to imagine my miserable life with my soul killed. They all want to kill my soul and save my body and earn life long misery!
Strange title? Yes it might seem….Actually I wanted to write something but what should I write was not clear. So I decided the title this post as what. I wonder whether, in the end, I ‘ll be able to write something meaningful or it will turn out to be a blabber? Does it happen with you sometimes? Sometimes confusion seems to be ruling the roost. Should we always be rational or being irrational is OK…just for a change? In fact, we may be irrational most of the time but we don’t want to accept it ; so we go on rationalizing the irrational even at the cost of relationships. I for one would value the relationship more than my winning an argument. Doesn’t necessarily mean that I am actually doing so! But i want to ! Am I making a sense? OK…let us stop…enough is enough!
We, the authors, often boast of reflecting the society and also claim to “guide” the society through our writings. Pre-indepedence produced many writers who actually guided and motivated the youth and the society to enter the struggle for independence. They suffered a lot at the hands of the then rulers who were foreigners. But after independence this genre of writers have been diminishing. Rarely do we see an author openly challenging the injustice perpetrated by the powers that be!
India, after 2014 change in ruling group, has been witnessing strange and illogical march towards medieval era. It has witnessed hateful intolerance increasing and being propagated by those in powers. Rule of law, which was never exemplary, has dipped further. Hateful speeches by the majority community leaders go unnoticed but simple observations by the people on the other side are exaggerated and punished! Our intellectuals have chosen to be “apolitical” and remain silent! Even when rationalists and human right champions are murdered by right wing votaries of the majority. The Pm who is so vocal on foreign lands has decided to give his tacit approval to all this by remaining silent. Even then our intellectuals have decided to remain “apolitical”and silent!
And then a minority community person is lynched by the mob on the suspicion of killing a cow and eating beef! Nobody has seen anything but the person is lynched by the cow bhagats – as if the human life is worthless in front of the life of an animal, even if ‘sacred’ for some!The PM again keeps his maun vart intact. Thankfully two of the celebrated authors (Nayantara Sehgal and Ashok Vajpayee) now decide to speak up against this medieval intolerance and return their coveted awards. But I notice that the Punjabi authors have maintained their stoic silence even after this outrage! I consider such silence intellectual dishonesty. No artist worth his name can remain silent under such inhuman treatment of the fellow citizens! Will someone of them rise to salvage the reputation of Punjabis for standing upright against atrocities committed against the helpless and weak people?
In this context I cannot resist the temptation to quote Edward Said who said: Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you need the approval of a boss or an authority figure; you want to keep a reputation of being balanced, objective, moderate; you hope to be asked back, to consult…For an intellectual these habits are corrupting par excellence.