"Snake or saint make no difference
fire of forest reduce them to ashes alike
Our habitat also engulfed in the same fire."
The country is akin to the forest that has been engulfed by fire. Fire and pyre have most elements in common except the element of life. We examine multiples of fortune or misfortunes of this fire but all these equations would end in ashes. Now, dear editors, writers, readers, and citizens at large, it is for you to decide and opt accordingly – whether you need 'ash' or 'fire'. I have my own opinion and if you agree, support me.
If words are capable to ignite a fire, then together they will make a furnace. But such words in fire would also create a fragrance – a fragrance that can be perceived by anyone. The remaining words, which failed to ignite a fire, would not be perceived by anyone, and they will deceive you, so they deserve rejection. See across the smoke coming out of the forest and the fog and you will find the truth. We are writers, editors, conveyer and merchants of this truth. We are the fire not the ash. Our burning eyes are frisking the fog and smoke. We have our eyes on those who are scripting the obituary of the Nation. It would always be better to talk of resolution rather than desolation or of conviction instead of connivance. Connivance is a sort of compulsion that will lead us to a holocaust.
Marie Antoinette was the Queen of France. She was extremely beautiful but ignorant of ground realities. When the starving citizens gathered around the fort demanding food and shouted slogans Marie peeped down from the window and anxiously asked her hostess why were the people shouting. The hostess replied that the people were crying out as they are not getting bread. Marie, the queen, quipped "…if they are not getting bread they should eat cake instead." This innocent statement with a touch of imbecility added fuel to fire that led to what we today call the French Revolution. In our country, there are several Antoinettes in almost all the political parties but there is a dearth of writers and journalists like Russo and Voltaire who can make our society more sensitive.
For we, the indians Melbourne and Mumbai are all alike. We are being driven out of every place everywhere. Have a look at the kind of treatment we are being subjected to. Nobody is bothered about Kashmiri Pandits who were driven out from their own state and living in refugee camps for the last two decade. Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit suggests that girls should return home before night and if they want to move after dusk then they should not blame the law and order but their conduct. Prime Minister shrugs his responsibilities to check the price rise and shifts it to Agriculture Minister. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar says "…what should I do to check price rise? I am not a palmist." Railway Minister reiterates that if you feel that now-a-days travelling by train has become dangerous and risky then stop travelling by train. Another minister Shashi Tharoor some time ago made a remark on 'general class' of aircraft by calling it a 'cattle class.'
On this Republic Day the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir could not muster the guts to unfurl the National Flag at Srinagar. Why? Look at the answer given by this minister Omar Abdullah: "By this friendly gesture we could pacify the separatists. We don't want to provoke them as they have started loving peace". Unfurling of our National Flag within our national territory lies on the mercy of terrorists and separatists. The same day the scene in the National Capital was not much different as there one dreaded terrorist of J & K namely, Gulam Muhammad Mir was decorated with Padmashri. Where the competence and capabilities do not count but the sycophants successfully sail the system. Where the charlatans rule the roost everywhere in the country be it President or Prime minister. Where there is a hue and cry for 'reservation' to eat the cake of corruption, not to die for nation. Where the judicial anarchy is busy in conflict with legislative degeneration; where evil is enjoying the fruits and genuine citizens are being condemned in every walk of life, obviously there would be decline in democratic dignity. In this increasing darkness, people's hopes are pinned on the Press. But the journalist fraternity has also put their arms in same gloves. By and large the Press has become a party to all these malpractices. We are the designer, distributor, editor and writer of fire to keep your furnace of inner soul alive otherwise this system is making pyre ready for us. We are conscious that our words are providing fuel to the fire of discontent as we want to keep it burning. We know the determining difference between fire and pyre.
(Published in By-Line National Weekly News Magazine (Hindi & English) - in February 27, 2010 Issue)