Hoping and coping…

My anger and contempt have now transmuted into pity.

I pity those without an imagination, unable to see through the default narrative; unable to realise that there are alternatives. I feel sorry for the social conditioning that has led to a place where we feel we must justify a violent, repressive, and unjust state — one that favours not merit but loyalty and affiliation; one that favours a sugarcoated narrative of positive vibes over the grim, objective truth of reality.

The government’s haphazard response to the current crisis — denial, lies, and utter absence — is nothing but a reflection of a broken society — one that is so fixated on the superficiality of optics and prestige that it fails to see the torment lying underneath: arrogance, hatred, and greed.

Like many have pointed out before me, the problems with healthcare have always existed, the only difference is that now they’re affecting the rich as well as the poor. Last year, the media blamed migrants and Muslims for spreading Covid. Consistent in their glaring prejudice, today, the right blames farmers; the left — pilgrims. But these problems are rooted far deeper. Denial starts at the very bottom of the rung.

I feel sorry for those that have either given in to the constant fear-mongering; the scapegoating; the lies. How foolish to prop up mythology as an antidote to cultural insecurity. How naive to believe you are at the center of the universe, that it is your cultural destiny to attain glory by rewriting your past, deluding yourself into thinking you’re something you’re not. Only three months ago, the leaders so bankrupt in their options today, harangued endlessly on how they had defeated Covid — that they had proved to the world how India deserved every bit of global attention. True to their word, we find ourselves on centerstage today, illuminated by a sea of endless crematoriums burning their pyres into the minds of those paying attention.

It’s not your fault and I don’t blame you. The ones looking down on journalists for showing them the truth can only be ignorant for so long. Perhaps, deep inside, they harbour the same feelings of those who they look up to. Perhaps they’ve sought refuge in a virulent sense of superiority and self-righteousness that is characteristic of the ideology that now engulfs us. But these feelings are only a facade. They seek to hide the torment that lies underneath — the rage of being subject to inequality; to violence; to humiliation.

This is only natural for a populace born into the trauma of centuries of pointless wars and exploitative colonisation, and it is also natural to take on the mentality of our historical oppressors. But I pity you for not seeing an alternative to this endless cycle of misery. I pity you for being unable to step outside the societal spittoon of tradition and to see your leaders as no different than you — fallible, corruptible, human.

My only hope for the future is to see a generation that disregards the bondages of the past, which can shed the trauma of their ancestors, and come to terms with imperfections in their ideology. My hope for future Indians is that they learn to love their fellow human beings for who they are over an idea of what their country should be.

That’s the only way I can assuage my own sense of helplessness; of being unable to bring about significant change; of being unable to escape the human condition. I’m trapped in here with all of you and all I can do is hope our collective ignorance, apathy, and grief can someday be overcome by wisdom and compassion.

Because otherwise, what is even the point?

Hindutva? What a garbage piece of saffron-supremacist ideology. I’d rather be ruled by Kenan and Kel because at least their brand of orange soda had some real fizz.

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