The dastardly attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama on February 14 has caused the entire country to go into robotic mode. The response from media, politicians and civilians is mechanical and repetitive rhetoric. As I sat glued to the television and watched the gory story from Kashmir, a shiver ran down my spine. The entire event seemed copy-pasted! As if a printer has been set by default to print endless copies of the same blood-soaked sheet!
The condemnation, outrage, outbursts and defence evoked a sense of deja vu. Had I not been conscious of date and time, I would have taken it for a replay of a past misdeed on the screen. I failed miserably once again — failed to comprehend that ‘something’ which must have been amiss in the life of the young culprit, the face of this latest perpetrator of terror.
All terrorists look the same to me! Behind their different facades is one universal persona. I wish I could peek into his childhood and recognise the strain of destructive rebellion and save the rest of the country’s youth from being lured into the trap. It is strange that while the country’s heart bleeds for the brave soldiers meeting such a devastating, untimely death, I also mourn the ruination of thousands of young hearts for a vague cause.
Feeling hopeless and distressed at the sight of the blood-bathed bodies of our soldiers, I decided to switch off the television and go for a walk. My fifty-five inch television screen had became a nuisance today. The gigantic videos of the incident suffused my entire room and my being, and out of sheer suffocation, I decided to go out for a breather.
Again the same monotonous comments, condemnation and frenzy. “Wait and see. This time action will be taken. This time the government has to act.” “But what about previous acts?” I ask, “We will just talk for a few days and offer shraddhanjali and finish!” Friends retort, “This time it is different. More casualties! Action will be taken!” Indians are good mathematicians after all. The greater the casualty, the higher the impact.
And action. Little storms do not bother us, we are accustomed to tsunamis. While we kept our own little intellectual talk on, I was reminded of the onscreen debate that I had switched off and felt like a bonsai version of the newsreaders and debators. Was there a way to escape? Amidst the cacophony in my mind, I realised that the families of the dead warriors must have gone mute. Their pain, my words fail to measure.
Those who have lost their sleep tonight and for an eternity of nights to follow. The rest all will go to sleep on a full stomach today. The shattering cries of the martyrs’ children will not be our wake-up call tomorrow; we have our own caller tunes. But for them, no music can ever sound the same. Should we tell the martyrs’ families to face the disaster with equanimity? Which religion in the world has the power to heal their gaping wounds? It is deplorable that ancient philosophies have become modern-day religions.
I wish we had let them be just that – philosophies — our guides and guardians. Philosophy, the mantra of life has disappeared and that is why we do not bother about the living beings. A secular country thrives on a philosophy that gives it a working ideology. A philosophy that undertakes to find meaning in life, not make it meaningless. A philosophy that tries to understand the fundamentals of human existence and experience.
But here we stand, threatening human existence as never before. Man versus man. No one is concerned about the country’s philosophy. All that matters is statistics, majorities, minorities, and so on. Religion, a personal habit or choice of worship, has become the battleground of the world. Sadly, we just have political schools of thought, instead of ideological seats of learning.
Religion has become so big and humanism so insignificant. It has become a deadly tool to rationalise every sort of violence. And even rationalisation has become a variable, with a new value for every new calculation. Without the philosophy of humanism grounded and intricately etched in every single individual of the world, existence will be nothing but a nightmare. What shall I dream about today? Goodnight, dear country.
Alka Jainis Teaching Associate, Rani Laxmibai Central Agricultural University, Jhansi. Views are personal.