Things have got to change even in this sleepy republic consisting of Tarai, Hills and the Himalayas, tranquil lakes and deep gorges
Yours truly probably has this problem that prevents him from looking beyond the immediate and into the future. Pity is, no expert can diagnose this problem of not being able to see the big picture and offer a cure. Hope powers that be will continue to forgive him for this shortsightedness and let him live on and do what he loves the most—writing tuffs like this one—with full knowledge that he is alive to this day because those powers have not yet decided that he should stop writing things that are in bad taste, once and for all.
Yours truly can only imagine what a distraction this kind of writing must have been at a time when some of the greatest minds of our times are busy making grand plans to enable this country to benefit from the prosperity of the two giant neighbors by transforming our dear nation from that proverbial ‘yam’ between two boulders into a ‘dynamite’ between two population giants into a vibrant bridge between the two economic giants. Apparently, the yam has remained a yam and then a dynamite for far too long while the world around it has changed drastically. Now, things have got to change even in this sleepy republic consisting of Tarai, Hills and the Himalayas, tranquil lakes and deep gorges, snaking rivers and fertile riverbeds, lush-green woods and mysterious caves.
A little magical touch and the dynamite will become a vibrant bridge connecting two huge economic behemoths, won’t it? Precisely at this moment, the country is awaiting that magical touch and luckily for us, we have a political leadership that can deliver—unlike a Panchayati leadership that promised us a life of Asian standards, but failed to walk the talk.
So, as this yam turned into a dynamite turned into a quaking republic starts taking the first steps toward what appears to be a great future, let him chant some Rigveda-type mantras dedicated to modern-day Indras to avoid their wrath and ensure an easy journey ahead.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! Please don’t be angry with us. Don’t breed and shelter monsters in your bosoms that can strike the very core of our being and bring us to our knees.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! Rest assured, we will not give space to any element that is inimical to your interests. And we will rein in people that oppose your grand plans aimed at transforming this country.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! Be like trade winds and help us in our onward journey. We will do your bidding by offering whatever you desire, for your wish is our command.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! You are the personification of unparalleled might. You have the magical powers to stop rivers gushing from the Himalayas and drown our plains and cause landslides on your hills. Please be kind, our sacred rivers are ready to quench your thirst and light your towns. You are so powerful—you can do things to our territories that an eraser does to pencil lines drawn on a paper.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! We have become helpless like a people, who have angered their guardian deity. You be our guardian deity and protect us from all sorts of evil forces. You be our fort against a wave of evil forces like hunger, poverty, disease and political unrest.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! Do not let loose your Shyamkarna horses on our territories, for we are ready to yield ground and do your bidding.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! We have been a little belligerent in the past and sought to chart our own destiny. What a misadventure it has been. You have punished us and rightly so. It’s like the big brother disciplining the younger one a little bit for the latter’s own good. We harbor no ill feelings toward you for this.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! We will not sing anthems that highlight our history, for they talk about our brave ancestors, who carved out a huge country, for they talk about war crimes that your lordships unleashed to bring us to our knees and cede what were our territories.
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! As always, we are ready to supply the strongest of our men for protecting your borders. We are ready to provide you intellectual lahures to further your interests. Your enemies are our enemies, your friends are our friends and your causes are dear to us.
And we are ready to provide you cheap labor to fuel your economic growth, guard your homes and sweat it out at Kala Pahaad, for your progress is our progress and your prosperity is ours too.
For all this service, your forces can enter our territories any time, encroach upon our borders, harass and drive our people. They can of course loot our people returning home with hard-earned money and goods after sweating it out at your sweatshops.
Not only that, they can even gun down our people if they resort to faintest of resistance against your lordship. After all, it is within your divine duty to civilize Barbarians like us, isn’t it?
O our overlords! O our viceroys! O the makers of our destiny! Now your lordship may ask: What do you seek in return for all this?
Give me freedom
Freedom, your lordship. Freedom to choose, freedom to differ with your teachings and preaching. Freedom to dream. Freedom to safeguard our interests and freedom to stand tall as a nation. Freedom from these strangulating, unequal and so-called historic relations that have been weakening our sovereignty for far too long. Freedom to chart our own destiny, on our own. For far too long, a country of Lahures—intellectual or otherwise—has been dreaming of freedom.
Your lordship, your civilizing influence has been too much to bear with. So, freedom in real sense is our only wish. Are you ready to loosen your stranglehold and let us breathe a little? You aren’t?
If that’s the case, we have no option but to fight, fight against all adversities to reclaim our destiny (Your lordship, we know about the Brown Man’s burden. We know, we know that you are out to civilize us, but please bear this in mind: When cornered, Barbarians fight really hard, they fight tooth and nail, not only for their lives but for higher ideals like freedom, too).
For that cherished goal, we are ready to land in our very own Ruben Islands and come out, feet first, so that future generations may be free. That freedom will be our greatest gift for generations to come.
We know we are no match for you, but we can at least try to wage a struggle—long and hard, if need be, for our cherished ideal—freedom in real sense. We have tried that in the past and lost because of your intrigues and conspiracies.
Nonetheless, this struggle is worth it because freedom—to paraphrase Margaret Mitchell—is the only thing worth fighting for, worth dying for.