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The Identity Of An Indian

June 28, 2013

How would you prove yourself to be an Indian? You should be convinced of your identity in a crowd pulled by a celebrity, mostly a mercurial politician or an actor from the world of glamour or a star player from the field of cricket. You would be lost in a sense of your Indianness, mesmerized by the influence of any of these people and then revert to a life of dreariness, cursing everything with honest belligerence. You are proud of the legacy of the illustrious forefathers and quote them frequently to prove your points until you find yourself dragged into the limpid flow of your own life as a citizen on the fringes. But even then you are as much an Indian in the wholesomeness of the day, plodding on the way to life with your honest labour, putting in long hours to sustain yourself and your family.

If you are not happy with your identity at the end of the day on the strength of your experiences, you have failed to take stock of how you have added to the wealth of your being what you are. Your wife has not yet given you the bill you will have to pay for the function in the locality that is a ruse to host the fast emerging leader of the ruling party to send a message to the people who have invested in their enterprises in the area. He is going to charge for the way he has been around for quite for some time as the darling of the local people including you and you have to accept it as the price for your being a quiet and docile Indian. You may rue the fact quietly or in the privacy of your house in front of the people who care for you but you need not be dwarfed by the reality of domination looming large before you as millions of bovine Indians, whom you consider your countrymen, have to find it the same way.

The rickshaw puller, another common Indian you meet daily, talks to you as his breath whistles under the stain of the labour of pulling the rickshaw. He talks easily of how he does not think about the raw deal he has got from life and the way he has become used to living with the harshness of life. You nearly feel jealous of the man when he says that he downs his anguish with cheap country liquor at the dead of the night at the solitary house deserted by his wife who chose to be out on the lookout for greener pastures. Left to yourself on your chair on the balcony around midnight, you visualize the images of deception on the wall of darkness. When you come back to yourself, you know that you will have to grow out of it to lend credence to the man who is malleable and wants to be driven down the labyrinth of life because he does not have the guts to conform to anything contrary to it with a rebellious spirit.

In the morning there is a hangover of distraction and you feel like taking years to come to terms with yourself. You are branded as the most inefficient of men at the office though there is no mention of the fact that you are sensitive. Nor can you bring yourself to accept the fact that you have a strange feeling of nausea because of the way you find a smell of indignity sticking to your being. You cannot be on your own as you seem to see a parade of glamorous and powerful people who are grinning at the millions of your extended family in a condescending manner, deriding the mechanisms of chastisement. The medical officer from your organization scolds you for the medical bills incurred by them on your account but then he looks down at the ground saying with a pat on your back that you are probably right thinking the way you do. But you do not feel comforted in the pain of his confession as you find yet another Indian as much wounded as you are.

On your way back home you dedicate the pain of the day to the smoke of your cigarette and remain stranded in a traffic knot because of the procession taken out by a political party to demonstrate its strength. You recognize yourself as a weakling and a pawn until you find yourself emerging from the car and enacting a dream. You jump on to the roof a car and address the people around, giving them everything with a magical formula. You then dance in the street like a famous actor and then taking out the belt of your trouser play like a cricketer to the sheer amusement and clapping of the people around including many of those in the procession. They take you to be insane but they look on with a feeling of admiration. By the time the police intervene, you seem to be foaming at the corner of your mouth, looking forward to an opportunity to shed tears quietly.

Leaving you confined to a solitary cell, they explore ways to let you go as they seem to notice a streak of goodness in you. But you are now busy reciting the lines of the poem that your grandfather read out to you from your bedside, ‘Where The Mind IS Without Fear.’ The poem fills you with the sense of dignity you often find missing coupled with the tenderness of love. As you finally stagger out of the police station you meet the rickshaw puller, still smelling of liquor.  He exclaims with surprise to see you at the place and tells the police officer on duty they have made a mistake. Then without caring to listen to what they have to say, he whispers to you that he has come to return a bag from an unknown passenger in a hurry. The bag, he says with a mischievous smile, contains a lot of cash to wash away the sins of many. You look into the eyes of the common and ordinary man, every inch an Indian, and rediscover your sense of indianness warm and vibrant.


From → Politics

  1. There are hundreds of Indians like the rickshaw puller. Unfortunately, we can’t identify them.

    • The greatness of our country is sustained by the day to day life of these honest people and we are happy and proud to be in their midst, unable to recognize them with our attention focused on our so called heroes.

  2. indrani permalink

    One can only sympathize… the rickshaw puller is just one face of the many.

    • You are absolutely right! It is people like the rickshaw puller who strengthen our conviction of being a great nation.

  3. that was one great journey !! amazing should I say .. Indianness is versatile I believe and versatile .. is so very Indian

    • Thanks for the way you express your solidarity. Though there is a plethora of troubles plaguing us, it is not difficult for us to extract our sense of belonging to the mainstream of the country with a sense of goodness.

  4. My first time visiting your blog, and here I found a lot of interesting content .. thanks for sharing .

  5. You write some serious stuff man. Looking forward to more of your updates. Why don’t you start writing professionally?

    • Sincere thanks for your encouraging comments. I also look forward to your posts with beautiful pictures of nature and fitting text. Please keep visiting to nourish the spirit of interaction.

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