Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sue kar...Mere Mann Ko..Kiya Tune Kya Ishaara...

So after 1 month in my new place, I had contact with my family…when business brought my chachu and appa to Delhi. Then they came down to Ludhiana on Friday night. We had a good reunion of sorts, the likes of which one can understand when their family elders are more of friends and less of ‘Elders’.

The next day, the three of us hired a cab and started to Amritsar. Was I really looking forward to this trip? Well, I wanted to spend time with appa and sithappa and they wanted to go there. So it was a win-win. In between, we stopped at Beas. There was some satsang thingie called Radha Soami Satsang. It was a large expanse of land, very nicely maintained by Sevadars and used for satsang activites which I guess is supposed to be some sort of mass congregation and prayer which doesn’t have any religion bias. It probably uses the strength of collective prayer as against individual prayer. I would relate this thing to the SHG analogy, where each member by themselves have little money, but when they pool in everyone’s…it turns out to be a tidy sum. Same with prayers. We had 2 good guides who took us around – Kartar singh and Amritpal Singh. They loved speaking and we loved listening.

As we were about to leave the place, heavens poured down. It rained like hell. Was nice. Onwards we drove to Amritsar, reaching the Golden temple by around 2pm. As we stepped in, tying the hanky to our head like a bandana and scrubbing/washing our feet at the entrance of the Gurdwara, I was wondering how is it that I am able to mend myself to suit the customs of Sikhs, while I hate to think that I should be following the localized customs when I enter the temple of Guruvayur, Kanchipuram and other such places down south. More of it..later.

Anyways, as we were washing our feet, I was reminded of the scene in RDB as the gang and Kiron Kher enter the gurdwara with Ik Onkar in the BG. Alas, there was no Sue…only chachu and appa J It was a majestic sight, this Golden temple. And a serene on too with the gurbaani (that’s what I think it was) being sung in the background. This was also the first time in…I guess 2-3 years that I had set foot in a temple out of my own volition. So it was all the more special. A little thank you for all the blessing that have been showered, few clicks of camera to preserve the moment for posterity and then we were coming out of this place.

Besides the Golden Temple is the Jallianwala Bagh. That was where we went next. The entrance to that place was more of a narrow passage. It led us to a huge garden like memorial maintained in memory of those brethren of ours who were massacred. The walls are still the same blackened red brick. One could almost look into the past as to what could have happened there. Around 2000 people were reported to have been shot here…ruthlessly. There was this ‘Shaheed ka Kuan’ – the well where as a last resort a deluge of people jumped into. It was roughly 2.5mts X 1.5mts well. It seems almost 120 bodies (if not more) were retrieved from here. Was it the general dampness or something else, but you could feel the stench like odour there – a wailing dog in a nearby neighbourhood mad the moment even more poignant, almost like listening to the wailing and drowning people inside the well amidst firing of bullets. It was an emotionally draining experience. For once I could in some faint way relate to the fury and anguish Jews have remembering the Holocaust, the Lankan refugees have in thinking about what IPKF did in their land, what the Iraqis must be feeling on seeing the US force in their land, what our NE brethrens must be feeling on the highhandedness of our force, ….a sense of helplessness amongst those who witness such atrocities and a fierce minded resoluteness amongst those who survive…to show their finger to the perpetrators and show that theirs is a soul that cannot be tamed, that will not be tamed – no matter what the consequences. For a second I thought I could have murdered any bloody perpetrators of crime. Probably this is how they indoctrinate all youth into terrorism. Show them the gory part of part had happened, appeal to their emotions and be biased heavily towards action and retaliation rather than look at the issues logically and try nderstanding both point of views. No clicking of pics here. Just trying to connect with those people; who had laid down their lives here.

Hmm…so post Jallianwala Bagh we went to the Wagah border. Initially I was thinking, if I could convince appa into giving it a miss. But then thought ki..chalo..lets have a look..it is not often you get to come here. The place was good, wouldn’t say it was imposing..but there was a feel to it that I am unable to explain. You had both the Indian and Pakistani flags waving proudly one besides the other. A 5 min walk, and you would be into Pakistan; the often maligned, often vilified land where most of the population is just like us trying to live a normal life and dealing with their day to day problems. It is only the fundamentalists, politicians and other scums who make an issue out of anything and everything and try fomenting hatred. Farook, Usman, Qureishi….my ex colleagues were no different to me than Srikant, Vidhya and Balaji. They too had their family, their parents worrying over their education, they themselves trying to find meaning to their lives much as we do it here.. We hit along quite well, respected each other and enjoyed each other’s presence. And yet the one thing which disturbed me at the Wagah border was the huge congregation of Indians on one side and Pakistanis on the other for the flag lowering ceremony. What should have ideally been a good entertainment and get2gether for people across the lakeer..it became a show of nationalism. Shouts of ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’ was renting the air on this side. While this momentarily sent a shiver down my spine and made me feel euphoric, I soon felt what a fragile situation it was. One inadvertent shout from our side about the Pakistanis or from the Pakistanis about the Indians and the whole place had the capacity to explode with emotions which even the well meaning soldiers wouldn’t be able to prevent. I would prefer either no shouting of national feelings…or much like you see in football matches; while one team’s anthem is being sung, the other team should respect it and then the 1st team would reciprocate the same gesture as the 2nd anthem was on. Well, anyway my views are mine..others may feel different. Giving out such views will also earn you the tag of a pseudo-secularist. What the heck. I believe in humanity. I have my own baser instincts, but I do realize that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is never an ever lasting solution.


We believe education is supposed to get us rid of all biases and prejudices. But my empirical experience has been that such prejudices tend to get stronger among the educated class. Yes they may not wear it on their sleeves like the mass does. But it takes the more sinister form; talk all nice goody-goody things when the peer is there (be him a Pakistani, a Muslim, a SC/ST, a Brahmin…neone) and show your true colors when they are not there….or when you enjoy the security of the mass (or the mob).

1 comment:

  1. Anirudh Kumar SatsangiMarch 12, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Surat Shabd Yoga- a type of meditation - prescribed for the followers of Radha Soami Faith is in fact 3-in-One Yoga System.

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