“वतन की जो हालत सुनाने लगेंगे

तो पत्थर भी आँसू बहाने लगेंगे

अगर भीड़ में खो गयी आदमियत

तो उसे ढूँढने में जमाने लगेंगे”

Recently I came across an American cartoon showing two men trying to pull down the pillars of ‘Federalism’ and ‘Democracy’ that support ‘Liberty’ and ‘Independence’ and from the clouds George Washington is looking down and saying: “I left you with a precious casket of choicest blessings supported by three pillars. Desist my sons from pulling at them. Should you remove one you destroy the whole.”

This political cartoon relating to the disunity of a nation, pretty much reflects the state of our country. Only the fourth pillar, which is the mainstream media, is perhaps also assisting in the process of the ‘pulling down’. When will we realise that once humanity is lost in the confusion of chaos, it will take ages to find it.

As kids, we were always taught to walk in the path of truth and justice. Remember that song?

‘Insaaf ki dagar pe bachchon dikhao chalke… Yeh desh hai tumhara… Neta tum hi ho kal ke’

But life is not so simple. Truth is not so simple. Justice is not so simple. It is hidden in many layers and its path is often very crooked.

If truth and justice can be a cure, it can be poison too; because once you begin to get a taste of some of the realities, it is difficult to digest its bitter taste. You wonder how everyone is dancing while the world burns. You wonder how they do not notice it.

But the truth is, why would they? In their cosy little world, their temperature is just right. They are all highly motivated to stay deaf, dumb and blind. But you look at the world and your vision is clouded.

The atmosphere is so heavy with fog that any way you slice, it feels like everyone is in danger. The entire environment is of fear and intimidation. And the media is dancing to a different tune.

Without knowing the entire truth, they keep waiting for a chance to turn a spark into a smoke and smoke into a fire. Little knowing that when that fire burns, it is not easy to stop it.

What I detest most in life is finding out that real hatred exists. But it does. You can literally feel it when ideologies are dead and buried. But let us not get lost in the ‘Whos’ and the ‘Whys’ and the ‘Whens’ and the ‘Whats’.

When corruption is weaponised and used to cripple elected governments in States, you begin to wonder if Democracy is indeed ‘Of the People, By the People and For the People’ OR it is ‘Of the Politicians, By the Politicians and For the Politicians’. You wonder if standing in queues to vote for your leader was right. Or it was just another lame exercise to blacken your fingers.

Those who lead the country have different rhythms. Some walk with God and some dance with the Devil. Some are classical and some are jazz. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with either of them.

It’s just that the jazzy ones show the world a spectacle and the world becomes blind to their mistakes. Even if massive scandals of biblical proportions keep staring you in the face, diversions are created so that everything can be royally ignored.

And when the ‘classical’ ones try to spread love by connecting with the soil, everyone thinks it is an agenda; that they have some proprietary selfishness about their own ethical formula; a sort of overweening pride I suppose that simply overwhelms them and clouds their judgement. But believe me, it doesn’t. Absolutely not.

The classic simply admire the ‘old’ chemistry. The decent chemistry of integrity, of morality, of scruples. And the chemistry of connections. They know that if you always go with the truth you don’t have to remember anything. You don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to fake it.

You also don’t have to worry about forcing others to think the way you do; because if you learn how to handle the ropes of righting the wrong, there’s no danger of getting entangled in it.

Dostoevsky once wrote that if a man has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be his punishment as well as his prison. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. The conscience seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth and the only one suffering happens to be the common man.

So when exactly did all this start happening? All this change, the compulsion to pervert the very things that surround us, and do not need any changing. Was it when the computer was first introduced? Was it when Artificial Intelligence arrived? Was it when we removed the human soul and put a machine in its place? I don’t know.

But it seems maddeningly outrageous. I mean, the banality of it all, the impotent feeling of just standing and watching silently while centuries of culture, ethics and compassion is just being flushed down the toilet. Is this the new normal? Is there nothing we can do about it?

Well, guess what? There is something we can do. There is something that needs to be done. We all must muster up the courage to say ‘No’! I do not consent to this, because it isn’t right.’ Perhaps that will be the voice that will echo the loudest. Perhaps that will be the cry that will reverberate through generations.

P.S. I’m sorry if I sound a bit irrational, but it’s very hard to think straight when you are swimming in a river of crazy!