At The End Of The Day

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So here’s the thing –

The degree of disconnect between the urbane and the non-sophisticate, visible and audible on television, is seriously disturbing. Talk-shows and news commentary appear not to take very seriously the plight of those who “matter little except at election time”. Hosts smirk and brush aside mentions of concern and make light of people’s views. They “out-talk” their guests, they refuse to stop refuse. Their facts and figures are hoplelessly devoid of illustration and in general the importance and space accorded to those in distress, especially if they are nameless and anonymous, is trifling. In short, it is outrageous, and quite simply the single most important reason why other countries do not respect ours. Many millions of visitors actually love India. But they will never understand (as indeed several of us ourselves) why there is such easy dismissal of plight on the one hand and unashamed admiration for the successful on the other.

While there is barely enough cash for survival, (though the deposit queues have ended), the absurdity of shuttered ATMs are a daily reminder of a nation gone horribly wrong in the hands of those of manic avarice and hideous ambition. In lesser known places the labour have left. Borrowing has slowed because those who could lend are short themselves. Those of daily wage or meagre wage have little or nothing to fall back upon and yet our government and their paid services continue to orchestrate a mindless bravado.

These people are the Weavers of magic raiment; spin-doctors beyond all decent description. There’s a fast talking person who is so glib as to actually almost be heard; a wealthy minister by default whose platitudinous present is a disgrace when off-set against his moral corruption when in the opposition; a pair of women, thankfully distracted for a while – one by the award of a ministry and the other by a reallocation – and of course the main henchmen.

As long as the Weavers remain, barely disguised ethnic bias will continue to divide India in greater and greater ways. As long as the Weavers remain and plot our future and their bloody strategies, we would be left to play with the great distractions…demonetization, screwed education, gender bias, poverty & political salvage. While their paid militia (chest thumping class VIII pass/ fail; Inter pass/ fail; first year BA  pass/ fail mercenary senapatis roaring allegiance, swearing to liberate the Mother from those whose very presence keep them from their sleep) are let slip. To continue to try and build and swell the rampage – against girls in non-traditional clothes, in non-traditional relationships; pubs and hotels of western value; churches and mosques and private colleges; forward thinking professionals; critics; cricket matches against Pakistan; and anything that they believe is unworthy of their country. Distorting and disregarding the past. Wishing history away. Unmindful of their own historicity and the upswings and down-swings of power or of the sweetness of liberty. To stand back with their mashaals, in unseeing incomprehension. Watching the country burn.

They believe they are Hindutva’s deliverers. And therein lies the snake. Our weavers are clever yet dangerously ignorant. They cannot help but lie – lies are their fabric, their genetic signature and, like everyone else (accountants believe everyone cooks books; thieves believe all others are also thieves etc) they believe everyone lies. And those in the forefront always think of themselves as great. Unmatchable. And hence the abusive contemptuous stridency.

In actual fact, they haven’t a clue as to what a country needs for its people to survive, not from hand to mouth but in humane dignity. That is why all speeches invariably turn ominously dark, full of threats and vicious intolerance barely disguised. But the fetters of their bonding, Faustus like, are nearly come to completion (time to pay the bill), from Washington to Syria to India to the South East and the Pacific. It is how Good wishes for Evil to be perceived, to stand up and be counted. It is the overture to the unleashing of Pralay. And they will gnash their teeth and howl in their bitter success, unable to stop the burning.

Kabir Kumar Mukherjee-Mustafi has been a passionate school teacher since 1974. He was the Head Master of Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, till 2004, and continues his work in the education sector (along with his wife Kamini, also a dedicated school teacher) as an institutional Director.

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