Thursday, July 8, 2010

insignificance of another life

This article is in no way aimed at a certain religion or caste. Religion as we all know is vast topic and its impact on our lives even bigger. This is just a small attempt at trying to capture some of the elements in our society influenced by it. And I am in no way declaring that what i say is right and should be accepted.

Once there lived a girl. Incredibly pretty, enviably smart and born to the richest family in the region. Got married at the age of 18 in the biggest wedding the land had ever seen. Two years later she came back home. The guy had married someone else. The parents split up. Weakened by the pressure from society and unable to handle more than what a 20 year old is designed to, she ends her life with a five metre cloth.And with her went a life that never opened his eyes to see his wonderful mom and the World that killed her. Mother had to be taken to a mental hospital. Her brother today drives the car of a wealthy entrepreneur. Relatives? None that mattered.

The insignificance of another life.

"I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy-tale world."

Ever wondered why Red's quote stays in our mind all the time? As much as we would like to believe that life would turn out to be what our " Dil chahta hei " the bitter truth is, it seldom happens. And that is life. If it didn't have bumps in it, we wouldn't have found the difference between the good and the bad.

We live in a democratic nation. A country which stands for unity in diversity. One where strict laws dictate the common man. A land where the Netas skip meals to draft a bill for the goodness of its citizen. Where swamis with private jets protest against black money. But also a place, where politics and government plays second fiddle to religion and cultural beliefs. Where a man is never free to exercise the rights the constitution gives him.

Last day I met an old friend on the road and casually inquired about how things where going with his girl friend . " Things did not work out. She being a christian. That too from a lower caste. You know how it is with my people! "

Yes I know what it is with 'your' people! What I fail to understand is 'what was with you two'? Some strong relationship that might have been, if all they needed to break up, was the mere reference of 'religion' and 'caste'! Its life in India isn't it? We live for somebody else. A 'somebody else' that ultimately wont be there when you need them the most. And what do we give up for the ' somebody else' ? Everything that we need in our life.

Funny thing this religion is! A slight mistake by the nurse in the labour room could've resulted in you or I being swapped for another baby and being brought up as a Buddhist. The truth is, we follow what our parents do. I was born into a religion and so I will always be , unless I'm an A.R Rahman or a Kamala Das . And its fine. We are after all what our parents are. But to scornfully look down on a person simply because his/her great grandfather's dad was a fisherman does seem ridiculous, if nothing else, in this modern era. Yet it happens. And sadly it will keep happening.

"Men created religions. Regions created Gods. And they shared the land and the mind until the world became a mad place to live in. And the real God up there weeps on seeing the condition of the earth while the Satan laughs." So goes a rough translation of KJ Yesudas's song from the movie 'Achanum Baapayum'. Religion is something men created. Maybe with noble intentions in the beginning .But the fact that it is this very religion that allows a guy to marry a girl while still legally married to another, in a country with strict laws against such acts, shows how powerful and dominant religion has become in our society. And its not the first time such an incident has taken place. We've all mastered the act of putting out a blind eye to such inhumane situations, not because we aren't bothered about it, but we are all helpless about it.

An year ago the Rajya sabha passed a Women's reservation bill which was greatly appreciated by all the political parties, the intelligentsia etc. as a sign of true change. I will vote to power a lady CM,PM and president but can you in turn ensure me that the life of the widow who runs the college canteen will benefit from that? In a land where politics has always portrayed itself as a subset of 'religion' there is little wonder cases like the one mentioned in the beginning goes unnoticed.

If one really wants to untangle the problems pinned to a commoner's life be ready to dig deep , into the cultural and social prejudices that surrounds them, which is often obfuscated by the immense focus on the 'economic' development. Whatever may be the governing party,in certain parts of India if a widow is seen wearing coloured clothes and talking to another man its a sin. A man marrying from another tribe is a felony. When Slumdog Millionaire hit the screens I happened to read many of the country's elite criticizing the director for portraying a 'false' India. I would certainly like to believe that is the case. But a month ago i spent 30 minutes crawling through New Delhi as my train looked for a place to park itself in the Nizamudin railway station. What I saw beneath the metro rail was life like I had never seen before. A life that wouldn't care about inflation and GNPs. Prove to me that there exists no life beyond the rule book of the nation and I'll take back everything I've said so far.

The truth is, there are a million women out there who work their socks off all day, looks after the whole family, and then get beaten up a husband simply because of the existing social norms. To them that is life and no law can better their lives until there is an attempt by the society to welcome change. Its one thing to find these incidents in poor villages and an entirely different scenario if find it in an educated, urbanized society. Yet it happens. I used to know these 3 girls from my Hindi tuition classes. While two of them are now struggling with their Btech degrees, one is a mother. If seven years ago they were the same, why should they be any different now? Just because one was born to a different religion?

To expect a sudden change in practices that has been prevalent since the medieval times would be foolish. What we can do though, is try to build a world where life is valued more than any religion it is a part of, with hope that someday the world will realize what its been doing all this while. Blame me,frown at me, eat me alive but I will not believe that the God up there wanted the 'Spanish inquisition' or the riots at Gujarat to happen. Yes I believe in God. And I believe he gave me this life to be happy. Not tear down buildings and take innocent lives. Let Goodness show us the way forward.


Dream said...

do i know the girl who died? seems familiar

Nevin said...

its just a story simon chetta! wudn't wanna relate to any real life incident.

Kavitha said...

Hats off!!
This one's 'wow'!!

Nevin said...

thanks kavitha :)

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