In Kashmir, the stone pelters shout a slogan, one of their favorites… “ Bhookha Nangaa Hindustaan… Jaan se Pyara Pakistan”. Believe me, it hurts. They hit it where it hurts the most. Right on our conscience. I first came across this slogan when our very own intellectual Arundhati Roy attended a separatist meeting in Kashmir and allegedly repeated the same slogan from the stage. Later many explanations were given and apologies sought and sworn, but one thing struck my mind sure and hard…what was it that led to the creation of such a slogan. I don’t care about the second part of the slogan. It is the first part which hurts… Bhookha Nanga Hindustan. Are we really what they say? Are we really a hungry and naked country…?
If we go on the statistics, it is true. We are home to one third or the population of poor people of the earth. The UN estimates that 2.1 million Indian children die before reaching the age of 5 every year – four every minute. The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India 15th, one of the hungriest nations. The GHI between 1996 and 2011 went up from 22.9 to 23.7 and most frustrating fact is that the countries like Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan succeeded in keeping it low. We are damn hungry. Latest data from the National Crime Record Bureau suggests that a woman is raped once in 20 minutes and 10% of all crimes in India are of women abuse. According to the 2013 UNDP report on Human Development Indicators, all countries in South Asia except Afghanistan were ranked better for women than India. Do you understand what it means…they are talking about Afghanistan!!! It cant get worse. We are damn naked too..
But this is not the only problem… or the biggest problem. There is a problem which even more horrid, stark and dark. We are loosing hope. Arundhati Roy lost it years ago. And there is a growing mass of our populace which believes that nothing can be done… “ Is desh ka kuchh nahi ho sakta”. I believed that it was only the intellectual class, which knows a lot more than us lesser mortals, believes that nothing can be done. But I had a reality check recently when one of my closest friends uploaded his facebook status that ‘it was time to leave this shitty place…’ when a high court gave a verdict announcing that a man and woman who are unmarried but have gone physical will be considered married in legal manner. Then I understood that this mentality has slithered in our minds too…we are beginning to loose hope. Thank you Miss Roy and others of your league.
But I have a question to ask. When such people slam my country for being so poor and hungry and naked and what not, do they ever try to think WHAT THE HELL IS THE REASON BEHIND IT? No, they don’t think. They don’t have time. The eat whatever they are fed, through news papers, magazines and facebook. Please, if you know nothing,say nothing…because when you open your mouth, it reeks of ignorance. Have you ever bothered yourself to think why this country, your country is this poor and hungry? There are people out there who are dying every day to keep this shitty country and her people safe. Sighting the problems and faults is very easy, even easier is to condemn others for those faults, but the thing which is really tough is to analyze the cause of those problems and to find their solutions.
Whenever I say that my country is progressing, although slowly, there are people who slam me sighting the example of the developed countries like America. They compare the GDP, the growth rate the happiness index and many other things to prove that we are nothing more than ground licking vermin as compared to those countries. But today, I too have some comparisons to make…
America got her independence 230 years ago. At that time, black people from Africa used to be held as slaves by American white people. They were chained all over…their legs, hands and even necks used to be chained. They were made to work in the plantations like animals and were kept and treated even worse than animals, beaten by hunters, canes and boots for slightest of the mistakes. Then there came a man named Abraham Lincoln. it was due to his desperate efforts that the 13th Amendment was made in the American constitution and slavery was abolished. But was slavery really abolished? Naah…it turned into a form much worse than the previous one. Separate schools were set up for Negro, in buses, there were black seats and white seats, they could not walk on certain streets…and worse, they were now getting lynched by the lynch mobs. The hopes of real freedom generated only later as the great Martin Luther King Jr. gave the famous speech ‘ I have a dream’ in August, 1963 and finally, after an effort spanning two hundred years, the blacks and whites of America were given equal status. Today, the two most progressive states of India have an OBC and a Scheduled Cast man as their chief ministers, the same dalit even the touch of the shadow of whom could pollute a caste Hindu not more than 60 years ago…so what America took two hundred years to do, we did in 66 years….are we slow? I don’t think so…at least with respect to social evolution.
We talk of woman empowerment. Lets see. French Revolution is considered the gem of all the revolutions of the world and is remembered for the ideas which it gave to the world..the idea of a nation state, equality and the right to choose. But this right to choose was not for women despite all those talks of equality. And when we talk of countries like France and England, we are talking about countries which have never been ruled by others. They did not consider women intelligent enough to choose. It was only in 1918 that the Eligibility of Women act was passed after a long struggle of women and it gave adult suffrage to all women above an age of 21. We gave our women the right to vote, the right to choose the very day we were able to take our own decisions. Only 21 years later, a woman named Indira Gandhi robbed Nixon of his sleeps…it was 1971. Can you forget?
These were only two examples. There are countless others. Friends, don’t compare our country with the countries which have either never been dependent or have gained their independence centuries ago. They have never known what it is like to live for a thousand years under foreign rule. We became in dependent only 60 years ago. Today, we have a recognition of ourselves in world. Do you know from which level we have risen? Have you even once thought about it? In 1947, we were not even zero…we were in minus. The average life expectancy of a common Indian was only 37 years. In the decade of 1920-30, our death rate was ahead of our birth rate. In the Bengal Famine of 1943, four million people died. 22 lakh people were killed in the riots following the partition and crores were displaced. We were handling the greatest migration of the history of mankind. There were people who were homeless, wounded, sick, dying of hunger. The English left us ravaged and drained of all our wealth. We had nothing but debts…we were starting our journey ahead and our capital was in the wrong side of zero.
But we rose. We may be weak…but our spirit is not weak. We may be poor, but our spirit is not poor. We showed to the world the power of non violence. We proved that despite having this much diversity, religions, languages, we can survive and rise together as a nation. We lost the battle of 1962 to China but not without the comment of Time Magazine..
‘ In this battle, Indians need every thing except courage’
Our soilders fought in – 40 degrees temperature with jute bags tied to their legs, because they had no snow boots to wear. But they fought. And the nation stood behind them together as one entity. Lakhs of women donated their gold, prepared food and sent Rakhis to the the men fighting and dying on the border. And for writing this, I don’t need any wikipedia…this all have been in my granny’s bedtime stories. We lost, we mourned, we moved ahead. We had green revolution…jobs were generated. We won three wars, we tested nuclear weapons and when the US issued sanctions on us banning the export of wheat to us, by God’s grace, we had surplus wheat for 3 years in our granaries. Give us time yaar…it has been only 60 years…and you expect us to become America? Ridiculous.
Friends, take pride in what we are, because whatever we are, it has never been easy to achieve. People have died in their efforts to achieve. At least respect the scrifices. The next time you open your mouth to criticise this country, ask yourself a question.. “ What I have done for this country?” And if the answer is in negative, better shut up. Yes, I do live in a bhookha, nanga Hindustan, but I am proud of this fact. I live in the country of a people who have a sprit to fight all the odds, to rise, to curb their hunger. When a farmer toils hard in his fields in hot sun, he is growing grain to feed an engineer who for 8 hours a day toils to make sure that there is enough capital to help that farmer in case of a failed monsoon. This is how we survive. We have survived, and we will. A day will come, and come it shall, when my Bhookha, Nanga Hindustan would rise and then, it would not be hungry…or naked. Maybe in our lifetime, may be not in our life time. But someday it will happen. Till then, I am extremely proud of My Bhookha Nanga Hindustan…no matter what Kashmiris say, or The Roys or the Leftists or anyone in this world.
Maithili Sharan Gupt Said..
विचार लो की मर्त्य हो न मृत्यु से डरो कभी
मरो परन्तु यूँ मरो के याद जो करें सभी
हुई न यूं सो मृत्यु तो वृथा मरे वृथा जिए
मरा वही नहीं जो की जिया ना आपके लिए
यही पशु प्रवृत्ति है की आप आप ही चरे
वही मनुष्य है की जो मनुष्य के लिए मरे..
Don’t loose hope…we have been great, we will continue to be so… do something, for the country, for the people.
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