Can we save a country from itself?

“How long can a country of nearly 1.4 billion people sustain itself if its people constantly keep bickering and bringing its bitter past into the present? How can a country, which is home to people from all religious and caste backgrounds, afford to have its policies and procedures drafted along caste and religious divides? How can such a country make any one community happy without attracting the displeasure of other communities?

How can a country be called a country if its people identify themselves first with their castes and religions and then with their country or the global village?

How can people cohere peacefully in such a country where they are reminded time and again who they are and that they are, or have been, the victims of oppression by other communities?

In such a country, where people are constantly preached and their bitter memories refreshed by mass influencers – politicians and celebrities – that they must keep nourishing their past wounds and never forget their pain and the manner in which a particular community had treated them, or their ancestors, in the past decades or centuries? How can such a country sustain its bitter past?

How can such a country be ever happy if communities are raised based on hatred and animosity against other fellow communities?

An answer to all above questions is: ‘No, such a country can’t remain peaceful, stable and sustainable.

Yes, we are indeed talking about such a country. This is a country where people from some, or perhaps all, communities believe, or are made to believe – through direct preaching and propaganda, published literature, undisputed and authentic published history, doctored and skewed history, religious institutions and, of course, electronic mass media and social media – that they are marginalized and oppressed, or have historically been marginalized and oppressed by the other community.

“This is a country where facts and truths have alarmingly and regressively, over time, become matters of belief. This is a country where truth is individual and community specific. This is a country where truth of one community, instead of aligning with the bigger truth, collides with truths of other communities.”

In such a country, peaceful coexistence of diverse communities – who harbour varying shades of memory (both direct or transmitted by others), varying shades of subjective truths, and varying shades of natural love and nurtured hate towards fellow communities – is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

When past seeds (memories) of oppression, pain and suffering are kept deliberately nourished and nurtured through a conscious effort by one and all, especially by mass influencers, the growth of plants and trees that bear bitter and painful fruits is undoubtedly assured. Such a country will never be peaceful. Ultimate disintegration of such a country may be deemed inevitable, nothing and no one can save it from imploding and exploding, except one thing, that is a Uniform Civil code without any reference to any religion or caste. To move forward, all policies, procedures and laws must be made uniform for all people, just like a number of countries in the first world.

As a reflection, what purpose does history, as a school subject, serve in such a country other than sowing the seeds of discord by poisoning young minds? In such a country, history is used to destroy the country’s social fabric. In such a country, history tends to easily recreate and repeat itself. Would not one wish that such a country had no history at all? However, as that is not possible, would not one wish all influencers in this country suffer from a sudden, incurable and permanent memory loss?

Just a thought!” … Bill Koul (28 Feb 2020)

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