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The apple has fallen far from the tree. The young man who carries the name of a great leader who always fought for minority equality, even in the face of the nations’ partition, has resorted to vilifying and spreading hate against the same minority. Mr. Varun Gandhi, who got his last name from Mahatma Gandhi, destroyed everything that the Mahatma lived and died for in his desperate and hate fueled attempt at political success. And while, he has been (lightly) reprimanded, what’s scarier than his stupid vow on the Geeta that he will “cut the hands of Muslims”, is the support he’s getting from certain political sections as well as the common man in an SMS campaign. These are the leaders and the voters of the country. And now the underworld has threatened to kill Varun Gandhi. This is being seen as a ‘Muslim retaliation’, and the stage is set for another major communal riot. And I bet Varun Gandhi and others like him will get their political mileage out of all this. Way to go, India!
I want to make one thing clear. If you are of the opinion that I’m in favor of any community or anti another community, you’re missing the point. I’m against the very concept of defining any community based on religion, state, race, caste, language, or even sex. But even this is besides the point. I’m writing this blog to collect like-minded youngsters who believe that things need to change and they will not change on their own. There’s a reason I said ‘youngsters’. It’s because I’m not interested in grown-ups. I blame our previous generation of getting us into this shit in the first place. They’ve had their chance, and they BLEW IT!!! Bigtime!
In our childhood, all of us are taught in school - ‘All religions are equal”. “There is only 1 god” and “Indian values are based on tolerance towards others”. When we come out into the world, our behavior and attitude is exactly the opposite. It reeks of the same prejudices and bigotry that our previous generation stinks of. Why’s that? It’s because the basis of our value systems are our homes. And even though our textbooks say different, our young minds are conditioned at home to reflect the same crap that our previous generation inherited from the generation above them. Let’s face it... We do NOT believe that all religions are equal. We are NOT tolerant towards other communities. We live in an atmosphere filled with hatred, fear and violence. Who is responsible for this? How is this going to change? This blog might not be the answer, but at least it asks some pertinent questions. It’s a beginning. Nothing will change if we do not question what exists. And in this blog, I’m questioning another ‘value’ that has been taught to us from childhood - “Respect your elders”.
I know this sounds a bit radical, but think about it. What have they done to earn our respect? Should we respect them for the 1984 riots against the Sikhs? Or the demolition of the Babri Mazjid, which lead to the serial blasts in Mumbai? Should we respect them for the Hindu Muslim riots in Mumbai? Or in Godhra? Should we follow their example of protecting our culture by beating women on camera and arresting young couples for ‘Obscenity’, when all they’re doing is sit together on the side of a road? If you step away from the filth of urban India and into the rural, or ‘real’ India, grown-ups burn, rape and kill youngsters for marrying a person from another caste, community or religion. Women are paraded naked as a punishment for breaking the ‘rules of society’. Dowry is still taken. Dowry deaths are common. Female infanticide is a reality. These and other even more heinous crimes are committed and witnessed silently by elders in the name of Indian Culture and family honor.
I’ll make one more clarification. I’m not preaching hatred against the elderly. Neither am I absolving the youth of their part in the way this country is turning out. This is what I’m saying - it’s time we started questioning whatever is fed to us by the older generation. It’s time to discard societal conditioning and start thinking for ourselves. It’s time to realize that the older generation has made the changes that they wanted. And to let them know that they screwed up. It is time to stop looking at them to change, and start making the change ourselves. We are the worlds’ youngest country and the biggest democracy. This means that the Indian youth is the most empowered community in the world. But without a questioning attitude and a proactive approach, all this means nothing.
Pick up any cause that you believe in. Be it women’s issues, govt. policies, taxes, education, crime, corruption... Whatever! Pick a side. Don’t straddle the fence. And then step out and make a difference. Protest. Debate. Discuss. Demonstrate. Be heard. Be counted.
One more thing. Send one message across loud and clear. We will reject anyone who creates an atmosphere of hate and provokes one section of our country against any other. Be it against Muslims, women, North Indians, or any other part of society. We’re all Indians. We reject your hate and prejudice. We want our next generation to grow in a safe environment, where the focus is on progress through excellence and not on the intimidation of the common man. And so, any Varun Gandhi who chooses the politics of hate and division will never ever come into power. Vote as one for the politician who talks about his plan for development. Vote as one for the politician who has fulfilled his promises. Hold the politicians who have not fulfilled their promises accountable.
It is time to question. Time to send a clear message to the older generation. It is time to make the change. It is time for the apple to fall far from the tree.
Regards, Venturous Bikers Team Drive safe and always wear a helmet !