Its four am tuesday morning. I am supposed to submit the #RegionalFlair column by early morning and it is the third time I have tried to scribble something around Regional Communication. I just can not wrap my head around anything but CAB/CAA and the chaos it has created in the country I feel so proud of.
We do not have a company-owned office in Assam and have been working with the same associate for more than a decade now. A zealous lady who runs the show impeccably with just three employees, manages PR and research work for us across Guwahati and upper Assam. She is a mother of two young kids. These thoughts were triggered by a simple message from her on Internet services being suspended for 24 hours. The suspension got extended to two more days. I got a chance to have two long conversations over call (a perk of not having access to whatsapp) with her during these three days. Though in the first conversation we laughed things off and thanked CAA for letting her have much needed three non-internet days but in the second conversation, I could sense the helplessness in her voice. She was not able to step out of her house to buy groceries, had to reach her kids’ school within a 15 minute notice to pick them up, had seen cars being burnt right outside her house and a young kid being brutally murdered not far from where her office is.
During this second half-an-hour conversation, I realised how people with no knowledge about the real scenario are being persuaded to indulge in such brutal acts. The pain in her voice and worry for the well being of her family made me wonder if I would really want to be a citizen anymore. Is it better to be a Muslim in this country right now? Atleast I can make myself believe I am not being respected and immigrate to a foreign land. It just pains me to see what we have come to. From seeking freedom to raise our voice, to making our presence felt, to teaching them a lesson but how? By harassing residents of these states who probably have the best interest of every citizen in their mind? Who probably would always lend a helping hand without judging what feathers our cap is made of? Who probably would seek nothing but a safe and secure environment for everyone including their family?
It is further disheartening to see learned and highly-educated professionals even from our business writing things that have no relevance but to instigate one or the other side of the story. Yes, we need to raise voice and ensure India remains India. Its social fabric is not compromised and every citizen living on this pious land feels valued but if we are so sensitive how can we forget the brutality our own citizens are going through? I never felt so strongly about this political chaos, may be because I am fortunate to live in a state that has not seen such brutality post 1984. When you see a person you deeply care about, going through something like this and feel so helpless at not being able to do anything at all, everything feels meaningless. Everything from trying to make a mark in the society, to creating a neutral voice that resonates with only the identity of India, to feeling connected with this land we are burning everyday with one reason or another.
I am not in favor of or against CAA or NRC and I don’t want to be at this junction. I hear voices that say current leadership is dictatorial. I hear voices that term them decisive. I hear the hindutva agenda. I hear the minorities’ plea. All this does is create a divide in the land we all claim to love, we all claim our right on, we all claim to fight for. I see things being done across quarters to prove a point but what loses the battle invariably is humanity. Always.
I just pray for a day when we do all this but come out of twitter battles and offer refuge to the ones in need without having to think about their religion, citizenship or our safety. A day when I can turn off the religion agenda and call myself ‘blank’. I don’t want to be categorised in any color today and want the blank heart to feel for a human like a human. I will end this plea with a few lines I wrote a couple of years back on the occasion of Holi. May be something similar happened then also and it makes me wonder if anything has changed at all and will it ever?
Lets play it ‘blank’ this year
No Black of hatred, no Grey of cunningness
No Red of anger, no Orange of rage
Soulful peace, a color of happiness
Inner faith, a color of innocence
Color of love, free of all fear
Please play it ‘blank’ this year…