Remember hearing a story of the two greedy cats, who asked a clever monkey to help them equally share food they had found? The hungry monkey, kept taking a bite of each of their portions to show that he was fair. Ultimately, he had taken away everything the cats had, leaving them feeling dazed and confused. Can you relate that to the experience of the British (Raj) colonies, a world-inspiring independence struggle, freedom, and subsequent healing over the last few generations?
Lets put that into perspective, shall we?
Britisher explorers, reach India with their dreams of a sun-never-setting empire, and begin to teach with drastic civilizing efforts. They engage in setting up systems and a network of transportation to communication highways and dominate over hospitable people. Only much later, their situation changed dramatically when the locals revolted on realizing that they had lost all rights in their own land and deserved to keep what they own. The rulers had to cope with declining victories over local uprisings as a response to pro-longed suppression. The Redcoats wibble-wobbled through a tricky path in an effort to keeping some semblance of their sanity, in the face of wide-spread opposition. Congratulations simple people, you survived our rule through a couple centuries!
Zooming in, lets take a closer look and listen carefully to several voices that were heard.
“What happened here?”
“You united to fight and then split within twenty four hours?”
“What did you do with your independence?”
“Well done, you made a Pakistan!”
“THEY suggested that we cannot manage together under one roof?”
“It was their Divide and Rule policy!”
“ Nehru! What of all that?”
“You didn’t want to listen to the Rulers anymore. You rebelled and fought them.”
“But as a farewell gift, you listened to the departing Redcoats? Strange!”
Free Indians were caught in a decision making spree, in the rigmarole of how to manage newfound freedom. Much like a tired teenager who won a rebellious interaction, and speeded out of his house to a celebrate, but crashes into a tree. Heady, worn out, and soon divorced with a Pakistan, their politicians ruling two new democracy-hoping Nations, tried their best. Both had more questions than answers. Both, struggling to make peace with their identity crises.
Meanwhile the Britishers honor the pact. They leave with tons of documentation, treasures, and tea-bags; belongings, memories of acquired tastes, and recipes; leaving behind whispering villas, silent or published stories, and buried loved ones. Some left with a semblance of relief or maybe even inevitable joy as they saw turmoil building up towards looming crises.
Indians had taken the bait of separating a Muslim Nation! And Kashmir plebescite … see how they handle that.
Could you imagine how the monkey felt after having the treat and eating it too in front of the two cats?! Will the cats ever recover enough to realize that there is strength in sticking together? On the sidelines, Cat One and Cat Two, keep sharpening their claws and hissing, because someone told them they cannot live with each other. My question to both the cats is: Hasn’t that been common knowledge for centuries, that there is a testy friendship between religious groups, anywhere in the world? Inspite of the norm, hadnt you two admirably figured out a fairly decent way to make space for each other, since Shahenshah Akbar set an example, and Gandhiji worked hard to clean up the social ills, left magnified by the terrorific reign of dictatorship?
To make it worse, the cats started emulating the monkeys, while both sides were healing; exploring own perspectives, learning foreign viewpoints, along with introspective individual experiences. Thus, imperialism infected anyone who learned the english language. Interestingly, humans will always be humans, and take time to overcome their ‘roles on the stage of life’. Gradually, few cats moved west to be with the monkeys, while some monkeys migrated back by choice, to live in harmony with the cats. Normal migratory patterns take over, commercially and emotionally tainted.
An anthem, a flag, and few awards later, India and Pakistan, do as predicted. To continue the tired teenager analogy, they kept arguing and fighting, one trying to plan for a future, cashing on the loophole in the Kashmir issue, the other defending rights till a formal solution is reached, complicated by China taking a bite of the same apple, and generally proving supremacies. East Pakistan gives up coping with governance on the west side of India and becomes a Bengal country, Bangladesh. Thankful for the convenience of running their own, the wonderful people, still love India and sometimes cross-over to share their lives and loves. They also invite Heroes of the 1971 war to honor them for their military support to free their own country from a distant, west Pakistan. For decades, Indo-Pak relations have gone through a roller coaster, vying-dying for prizes in the games of cricket, politics, conventional and unconventional war, and recently, even among artists from Bolly-Lolly Woods.
Is it possible to break the cycle of imperialistic abuse and violence?
In the background are heard cat-n-monkey whispers, of who made made whom better, who did more for helping or changing the other, who is missing ‘their’ seeds of plants, thoughts, or systems; and what the birds and the bees did unofficially, to initiate trends in a Global-Browning.
Well done Orange and Green. Red, the Winner!
What if the amazing orange and green people on ‘both sides’, known for their big hearts and beautiful minds, can show by 2047, that it is possible to join their hearts and minds again? Especially after coping with generations of suppression, a back-breaking separation three ways, a war, making peace with the British colonisers themselves, and decades of unconventional war supported solely by commercial interests. It is time to review the old decision made in 1946, in a weak moment of a Nation’s health, and spread the word that it does not have to be the ruling sentence for the lives of a familial people, who are genuinely known for their peace and spirituality. Especially, because they already had dealt with centuries of invasion with success, learned to survive as a brotherhood, and come together to face off a dictatorship? The masses seem to wish it possible. The rest depends on the leadership.
As a bonus for the effort it will take to rehabilitate the hate vendors or the violence-addicted, both days Aug 14th-15th, can be Independence Days!
Ho Jai Dil-walon ki ek Century?!*
- This poses a question in reference to cricket, a much loved sport in both countries, like football or soccer in other countries. A century is a hundred runs, so the blogger asks, “How about the (usually) loving people celebrate a century?” in 2047, when both countries complete a hundred years of freedom.
- Dedicated to the Mann family. For their life-long joining of hands tells me re-uniting people of both, or even three, countries is possible.
- The images are free and downloadable from the internet.