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Confused Patriotic fervour
At times I do feel that the entire exercise one is attempting is an
exercise in futility, and that one should simply close down shop, given
the very substantial damage done to our youth in the past 50 years. Some
are busy taking arms against anyone in general (North East), others are
violently displaying the worst form of jingoism.
Trying to figure out "best" strategies, spending a decade in gaining first
hand experience of the problems and their causes, spending years in
research to find out the "best" methods to bring wealth to our poor, is a
EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE, AHMEDABAD, May 27: ... a Baskin Robbins ice-cream
parlour in Navrangpura was completely burned down by some unidentified
youths shouting anti-MNC slogans.... Some youths accosted the proprietor
Baldev Nagjibhai Desai, questioning his patriotism and asking him why he
was selling foreign ice-cream. Meanwhile, five others entered the shop and
poured a chemical all over the shop and set it ablaze.
What are our youth scared of now? Not just foreign airlines (Singapore
Airlines), not just foreign computers (IBM), not foreign cold drinks
(Coke), but foreign ice-cream! What! Was the milk that went into the
icecream imported, too? And the people who got those jobs in the ice-cream
parlor? Who was it that incited them so? Was there no one to tell them
that the way to solve this problem is to go out and produce better
ice-cream themselves. Why were they not found competing like healthy
youth elsewhere in the world?
I do not see the time too far away when people will question one's
patriotism in attempting to promote competition with the rest of the
world, since that includes having to interact with a "foreigner."
The psychosis has set in firmly, as a psychiatrist would say.
And these are really dangerous signs. Of at least some people clubbing
anything foreign as "anti-patriotic." And the funny thing is that at least
a majority of our elite are themselves quite confused about these things.
They seek "foreign" recognitions for themselves, foreign jobs, foreign
goods, foreign jaunts, but write as if the foreigner is an enemy, and that
they are upholding the great principles of "Swadeshi" which were
established for short-term political reasons in a different era, in
different times. Mir Jafar is nowhere being blamed, religious fanatics who
caused our partition are nowhere being blamed, but we are finding
scapegoats in ice-cream vendors.
Maybe I am generalizing. But I see that the voice of reason has been
virtually stilled. And therefore the task that we are attempting is at
once both urgently essential, and perhaps futile. We are operating in the
most grotesque and contorted Kafkaesque national environment.
In such times, it is easy to blame the Police for not protecting the
rights of property, to blame the officials for not doing their jobs, but
the truth is that people, collectively, have allowed such thoughts of
weakness and cowardliness to vitiate the atmosphere. That has led to the
"misguided" youth causing immense damage to whatever little we had. In the
districts of Assam where I worked, terrorists from one group destroyed ALL
public health centers facilities, almost all school buildings, and almost
I have participated in battles against terrorism in Assam, carrying a
loaded revolver in my hands at 3 am in the night, walking across rice
fields in pitch darkness, helping the Police organize ambushes against
terrorists. But how did these terrorists come into being in the first
place? Where was the leadership, where was the voice of reason? Why do our
people react so violently to the slightest perceived 'injustice?' Why
don't we debate the issues more openly? Find out the truth?
Well, this was not part of either the manifesto, or agenda. Just a bit of
disturbed re-consideration of the task we are doing.