I am a pampered younger son of a family that over achieved. My dad, is rustic but brilliant. My mom is an overachieving professional. I saw them work hard, toil for each penny they earned, still remain true to who they were.
There were times my dad went without sleep working shifts as demanded by his noble profession. I was proud. The hours they did not spend with me and my brother were well spend. My parents were a proud people and I was proud of them. I saw the reverence that folks had for them.
For not one time did I see a man or a woman return from our threshold without being well served by my parents without any favor expected or asked and refused if offered.
They epitomized what real men and women are.They are the hard working, folks who while being just, provided for their next generation as best as they can.
These were the simple times, where a kind deed was considered kind, a selfless act revered, a moral act considered well normal.
I was naive I guess.
I migrated to US without seeing how rapidly India was changing. I was a carefree but prudent youngster set upon a selfish and self indulgent goals.
It was not until late one night and then gradually after that, I realized how much things had devolved. You see, I was in a cocoon. I had always thought that what I left behind would remain untouched by the vagaries of changing times and decreasing morals.
That night I met a friend in NYC , whom I had known since school. He worked with a reputed MNC and was one of the brightest among us. He was winding things down in his home town, back in India, selling off his holdings and that was surprising.
On further probing he revealed, how land sharks had forcibly used a loop hole in law to forcibly grab their land.
His dad had been the most revered professional in his line of work. My friend had just returned from India and had been thoroughly disillusioned by this blatant naked subversion. My friend swore never to return home. It broke my heart.
I was stunned because I thought that these things happened to them who indulged in grey. It was not supposed to happen to upright middle class folks.
Than it happened again. One of my friends who had resisted migrating to US finally did it. When I enquired his reason was simple yet brutal. He felt that success in India now had become debatable in it’s essence.
An honest successful professional was now an oxymoron. He felt scared for according to him, beneath the veneer of normalcy was a seething anger and it had to burst. And when it did he feared that folks like him who had earned it the hard way, will be swept away by the unbelieving multitudes who perceive them as the symbol of stink.
Than I thought about my parents. I realized how easy was it for the powerful to crush folks if they so desired, given there higher ranking in the feeding chain. It did not matter how well you had lived , how high you had risen. They could as well be the next.
One other thing had happened. I had grown. I had realized that classes are malleable and class interacted on the theory of relativity. The one who was relatively superior than you, will have not qualms subjugating you, if required. In sense, the survival of the fittest or the cruelest, or the one with the most heft was the new normal, in this new unregulated, society where law is applied based on for who you were.
Yes it had been a personal affronts that had woken me.The realization had swept in, that even for me, who is selfish, the most amicable of situations would be where this relativity failed, where classes were non existence, at least in the eyes of law.
I looked around. I had friends in established ideologies and had conversations with them. It was their insistence that a compromise had to be found within established framework, that was most infuriating. These were the same guys, whose idealism I admired, my friends, seeking to influence me that compromises on ones’ core beliefs is what is credible.
There were two reactions I could have had… be a man , return to the homeland and rectify the situation by force, foolish yes but not inconceivable, I knew what a good fight was, but I would have broken my parent’s heart.
The second alternative was to look around and try to find folks for whom a common man is still a common man.
I was not looking for an elixir. I was looking for folks who talked my talk, who believed like I do, that if you do the right thing, right things will be done by you, who did not see me any more privileged than the other guy on the street, for I had realized acutely how self defeating that comfort or cocoon is. You being safe from prejudice was just not possible in a selectively fair society. I was practical enough to realize that a classless society is a fool’s paradise, yet was not willing to expect that al least at a humane level it was not achievable. The system at least could be made impervious to status, blind to class, if not the hearts of men.
But for that one needed to start from a position of uncompromising ideology.
This is not Marxism, nor capitalism, but an ideology that makes human and their dignity paramount, an ideology that has sadly become alien to our current power structure.
That is why I (and selfishly ) admire AAP. I hope they do not devolve, I hope they remain rigid, I hope they never compromise.