A Small Prayer

I have always had the luxury of being able to write down my thoughts on subjects close to my heart to share what is running amidst the chaos of my mind. It silences the noises, clears the mayhem and offers me a sort of peace that I bank on during such times. That momentary stillness, that silence that follows after being spent is a true blessing. For the last week, I have been battling trying to write down my feelings of loss at swami’s passing. But I am quite unable to express any form of grief. My mind closes and refuses to deal with the truth. And in those gaps where the truth seeps in, I am overwhelmed by my human feelings; angry, selfish, sad, confused. I am not even going into the spiritual aspects of Baba. That is for every person to decide for themselves. I have always maintained that god is no table-top discussion and one’s relationship with a higher power is one’s personal business. It isn’t anything that someone else can have an opinion on and deem right or wrong. I miss the person I have been shown to turn to as a child, the person I came to accept after my adult judgments on him, the person I had trouble turning to for a phase of my life, the person whom I whole heartedly accepted after my turmoil settled. I am not ritualistic; I don’t care for institutionalized religion that passes judgments on a ‘one-way moralistic road to salvation’. But I cannot deny anything that offers me peace, hope and strength. And Baba did all that. Many people have asked me if god could walk on earth. Ofcourse god can. Every one of us walking is carrying god within us. After all god is just the supreme universal power that we all tap into. An energy that rests in every visible object and being. The many forms, avatars, acts of god are just ways adopted in this human world by the supreme force to make our selective eyes forced to see what is maybe too hard for us to comprehend. So today I don’t think of swami as gone. I know he is still around, I feel his presence; I can continue to talk, fight, ask him questions and look for all my strength, hope and support from him. But I miss that comfort of knowing I can go to Puttaparthi and see him. I am human, so I am selfish. I feel bad for me. For my personal loss. And I think I am entitled to. So I close my eyes and thank him for all that he has shown and given me. For all the blessings. For making his last year amongst us my best year. I pray that he will give the strength to be less selfish and celebrate his life and not focus on his passing. I love you Baba. And hope you will always keep my eyes open to what I might miss otherwise. Sairam.

Advertisements

The Story of Genocide in India

Genocide Ignored

We all know the facts and figures; 6 million Jews killed at the Holocaust, 800,000 people during the Rwanda genocide, 8000 people at the Srebrenica massacre, the ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaign in Bosnia that killed more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims…The list can go on and on for violence is a trait amongst human beings that rears its ugly head from time to time. Coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, the definition of Genocide can be stated as “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group”. Everyone flinches, cringes, retorts with unbridled anger at the mention of any of these issues. So what happens to a genocide that has claimed the lives of 50 MILLION people? How has it been not addressed, dealt with and has silently been ignored and passed over for all these years? I am talking about the 50 million women who have disappeared from the population count of India since Independence.

India fought long and hard for her independence. Nowhere can it be claimed that women took a back seat. We fought alongside the men. Fought long and hard for independence, for liberty, for the right to live our lives with freedom, justice and peace. But the story unfolded very differently for us as the world silently watched on.

Since Independence, the census count has proved the ugly stories of female feticide, female infanticide, bride burning and many other horror stories. This year in 2011, India shows the disturbingly shameful figures of a sex ratio that is the lowest for women since Independence. Not a pretty picture that so-called ‘progress and development’ of India has been slapped with.

So let’s take a few moments to analyze this. Why have we not been able to help the conditions of women? We are so proud to claim that women are now found in all professions, have some of the highest marks in schools and universities, are versatile and can balance perfectly her position as a homemaker and a career person, are actively participating in politics; in short are found in all walks of life taking leading roles in our economy and society. So we are counted as a ‘progressing nation’. How can we then have not a few million, but 50 million missing people since 1947? Is it because of religious influences? The patriarchal society that is in dominance that deems family status according to the number of male children a family has? Ignorance and lack of education? Having beaten down the system of sati where widows were burnt on the pyre with their husbands, women still have to face abuse from their husbands and in-laws regarding dowry, marital rape and sometimes abuse simply because they are expected to endure it. Can you really blame these women for not wanting to bring in a girl child and subject them to this suffering? Female babies are poisoned, suffocated, made to swallow husk so that it cuts their throat and intestines, abandoned, drowned; the list of brutalities form a collection of the most terrifying forms of cruelties. Women are considered a burden and ill omen from the moment they are conceived. India seems to have no place for this special section of human beings.

The only state where we seem to be favored is in Kerala. The dominant matriarchal society has always protected, cherished and looked after its women. Education, health, position, power of women in Kerala has always been higher than men and the sex ratio proves how this works in the benefit of the society. Families function better and prosper well with a woman heading the household. We are not considered ‘Another household’s girl’ since our birth in this society.

Is asking for the basics of life; the right to have one meal given to us, the right to develop our minds through education, the right to have a voice, the right to be seen, so much so the right to live and breathe asking for too much? When will this genocide finally end? When will we have a savior? When will we have our tryst with destiny?