Saturday, October 29, 2011

Starting with the man in the mirror

I love India but no longer like much of what I see.

A billion people have swung on destiny's pendulum. From scarcity of means to scarcity of class. As if trying to compensate by escaping what we used to be. Bad and good.

The past is a place we don't want to be. So we're systematically erasing it all away.

Indians are becoming refugees in our own mind.

The 80s and the 00s can't be any more different in Indian consciousness.

80s was when fate switched off the light. We were riven by identity, suffocated by air, vulnerable to theft. Bluestar, Bhopal, Bofors. And most of us were poor.

00s was when fate shone on us. The earth became flat, India became young, the world accepted our bomb. Davos, Demography, Deal. And some of us became prosperous.

On the surface, this is a great narrative. And, yet, something seems amiss.

We used to be humble. Now we are brazen.

We valued achievement. Now we value accumulation.

We thought our birth made us Indians. Now we insolently ask for loyalty oaths.

The angry young man on a bicycle could still serenade with song. Now the angry young man shoots models in the face and rapes schoolgirls in cars.

The pendulum will swing back again some day. From a surplus of means to a surplus of class. But this will take a generation or two and a lot of effort.

The refugee in the mind may yet come back home. But he'll have to start with the man in the mirror. This is the hardest thing of all, alas.

1 comment:

KayEm said...

What a very wise post. To be brazen and ostentatious, insensitive and indifferent makes for very unclassy individuals. But take heart, primary red. There are so many of the other kind too. For example, members of millions of NGOs.