We Too Belong
Most of us are only hoping for a nation that is tolerant of the differences, if not appreciative or understanding.
Long ago, all the continents were believed to be a part of one huge mass called the Pangea. With time the mass broke apart due to various geographical factors and the severed land masses drifted away from each other. In the course of this separation, each of these masses became an individual entity with its own history, geography, culture, heritage and language. Today it is unimaginable to think of the world as one. This is not because of the irrationality of the proposition but the intolerance of mankind. ‘Love thy neighbour’ seems to be the worst anachronism in today’s world. Difference is the essence of nature and humanity. But our predecessors and history has taught us to hate the divergence, if possible wipe it out.
Our own country is no exception. No fault with that, if at least one has the wisdom and the courage to say that the country has more pressing needs than that. With tremendous growth and development on one side and the mutilation by communalism on the other, the future looks bleak for our generation. Each of us has been affected, but differently, because of the community we belong to.
Imran is a Kashmiri Muslim. For no sin of his, he is ashamed each time he meets a Pundit family. “I am ashamed of what happened, though I am not a party to it,” says this introvert Kashmiri. The Muslims who are involved are not committed to any cause, he says. The youth are largely lured into militancy for money and security. But my generation is a lot better, says Imran hopefully. Assured of peace in the valley, Imran feels that the understanding between the communities is improving, as both of them are quite sick of the blood and gore.
Shivani, a Kashmiri Pundit is not so hopeful of the situation. Her family was one of the many that was uprooted from their homeland. “We were driven away from our homes,” she says, adding, “We don’t know when we will ever go back there.” But she harbours no ill feelings towards any community or religion. “My grandmother, who is over eighty, is still running a hospital all by herself in Kashmir and it is the Muslims who take care of her,” she discloses. There is still ‘Kashmiriyat’ (togetherness) in the valley but the politicians will not let us live peacefully, she says. “It is terrible that I cannot go home when I want to and that my land of happiness has become a distant dream.”
Kashmir is not the only place that has ceased to exist in reality. Anand Singh, a Manipuri recollects his hometown with the horrors of riots and death. The prejudice and discrimination that exists between the Manipuris and the Nagas has made normal life impossible in his town. He believes that the NorthEast is moving away from the nation because of the degeneration of people and system. “Something that started as a geographic fight has been politicised beyond proportion,” he says. “My generation will hopefully move out of this prejudice,” says Anand. “An understanding of each other’s community is too much to ask but a basic tolerance of the ‘other’ is quite achievable,” he says optimistically.
Like Anand, most of us are only hoping for a nation that is tolerant of the differences, if not appreciative or understanding. We hope our generation of leaders will not repeat the mistakes. But for now, we too belong to this nation and we too have a right to our dreams.
Muss Communications student from Pune