Friday, March 23, 2012

Life and Death - An ode to the Shahadat Diwas

I always believed there were two kinds of men in this world – men who go to their deaths screaming, and men who go to their deaths in silence. And then, I met the third kind. – Excerpt from the film Rang De Basanti (2006).

I am sure every hot blooded Indian who watched this film was moved by it. The feeling of patriotism got rejuvenated inside everyone. Even I felt the same way. But today, I don’t want to discuss that. Because that illusion of false patriotism soon withers off in most of us as soon as 15th August or 26th January is over, so there is no point talking about something which comes and goes so often.

I want to talk about fear of death. Everyone has it. I too have it. But, it is said that the three men who died on 23rd March, 1931 didn’t have that fear. It is believed that the pride in dying for the cause of Indian independence was so humungous that it wiped away the fear of death from the minds of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru. They, among others had a single point agenda throughout their life – Freedom of India from the shackles of British Raj, which made them who they were – fearless youth who could do anything to achieve what they wanted.

I wish I could think like they did – not in the exact sense though, as we live in different times. I want to live a life which is free from any kind of inhibitions caused by fear of death. We all know that eventually everyone has to die. But what we often forget is that we have a sufficient amount of living to do before the moment of death arrives. We live under a constant threat of the unknown, and never let us unleash in the way we always wanted to. If somehow that sense of fear is suppressed, I believe living would be a whole different experience altogether.

Fear is a great driving force which could lead people to do stuff contrary to their will. I mean, insurance companies are booming these days just because they could tap this inherent human tendency. The more fear they can inflict upon their customers, the better it is for their business. But ever gave a thought about one small thing – is life so dull that it requires the fear of death to live?

I think I myself am confused about what I want to convey. Nevertheless, the following she’r is written by a fellow comrade of those three fearless men.

तुझ को ज़िंदगी बाद--फ़ना मिलेगी अश्फ़ाक, तेरा मरना तेरे जीने की बदौलत होगा... - अश्फ़ाकुल्लाह खान

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A letter to the CM-elect, Uttar Pradesh

Dear Mr. Yadav (Junior),

I would like to congratulate you for securing a clear majority in the recently concluded Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh and on the verge of becoming the youngest Chief Minister of the state. I am sure, not even you would have thought that your party will secure 224 out of 403 seats. Nevertheless, your hard work and the social engineering which you undertook more than three years ago finally paid off well. It was an empathic win indeed.

But now back to business. I want to highlight my concern and seek your attention towards the needs and wants of the people of UP. I, a software engineer working 2000 kilometers away from my hometown, feel that there is a need to overhaul the existing system which was rampant during the tenure of your predecessor and even before that when your father Mr. Yadav (Senior) was the CM. I did my engineering in order to serve my people, and to have a better lifestyle for myself. But after four years, when I looked towards my options I found that if I wanted a job which was synonymous with my qualification, I would have to leave my hometown and would have to come to a place where nothing suits me right. I would not be able to eat what I am used to, I would not be able to celebrate my festivals which I had been celebrating since childhood, and moreover I would have to listen to the rants and taunts of the native people of that place, and would be the subject of their whimsical attitude towards me. Here I would like to mention that perhaps it’s not their fault altogether. If I were at their place, perhaps I would have done the same thing because then my subject of whimsical attitude would have been ‘odd man out’.

I am neither complaining about them, nor I am trying to gain sympathy for my miseries. This was what I chose for myself because it was the best option available in front of me. Had there been a job in my state, which suited my academic qualification, I would never have chosen to move out of my comfort zone, even if that paid me lesser than what I am getting right now (not that I am getting millions, anyway). I want you to understand that you are about to become the Chief Minister of that state which boasts of its highest population in the country. It has ample resources to fulfill its needs, but the problem lies in the fact that those resources are not being used properly to fulfill the need of all. I can assure you that if you strive towards making UP a better place for young educated budding professionals like myself, no one would be tempted to leave his/her state in order to seek jobs in other states.

My dear Bhaiyya Ji, no one wants to live away from their families and friends. We all want to be there, to help each other out in times of need, to celebrate festivals in which we believe in, to enjoy the delicacies which we like since childhood. But we can’t. Because people like you, who have the power to change things and make UP a better place, don’t do anything. People like you just want to enjoy your tenure doing nothing, and time and again just want to gain political advantage so that you can extend your tenure.

But now, the face of UP politics has changed, since you are the CM-elect and not your father. People like me are hopeful that people like you would do something different in order to make life easier for people like me. I am not a very optimistic person and I seriously don’t expect that you would somehow just wave a magic wand and the face of the state would be changed in one night. That doesn’t happen. Even your father’s comrade from past took five years to change few things in the neighboring Bihar. What I expect is for you to try and work towards development. I can guarantee that if you are willing to move one foot in the positive direction, there will be a million other feet which will help you reach there. Think about it!


A homesick Software Engineer