The fire is spreading - GulfToday

The fire is spreading

Shaadaab S. Bakht

@ShaadaabSBakht

Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.

Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.

India election11

The phto has been used for illustrative purposes.

ON PREJUDICE

Life, long or short, is a walk. And I was chosen by destiny to walk through the incredible India. And I am very happy about that. The walk kicked off on a fabulous and a splendid note. The first steps were almost like tales from a fairyland, where no tears went unattended and where no smiles went unreciprocated and where hugs were greeted with hugs and without conditions.

I went to a great school where names did not matter at all. Where we played together endlessly and where we ate together endlessly and where only the taste of the meat mattered and not its source.

…Where we ate together endlessly and where only the taste of the meat mattered and not its source


I went to a vibrant college where colour and faith were never a stumbling block for all of us. They didn’t even cross our liberated minds. My course required me to refer to the Bible on a regular basis and I saw no problem there. My grandparents and parents too were fine with that. But insisted that I studied the Holy Quran thoroughly. They used to say that they who didn’t know their own book wouldn’t be able to appreciate the books of others. Sound logic, I must admit.   

I went to a well-respected university where politics had just one face: liberty. Where social interaction had just one face: liberty. Where books weren’t merely read, but followed also. Where all debates on the campus took the free man forward and decidedly culled any form of intellectual pettiness. Where truth was never subjected to bargaining, regardless of social pressures.

But once I left the university things changed. The strides had to  continuously negotiate pitfalls, whose number kept multiplying as I grew in years.

I soon realised that it was important to be politically correct. Everything else was secondary.

Keeping that agonising premiss in mind, I have been tackling hundreds of stormy days in the shape of racism, corruption and violence during the course of my long walk.

But I am now wearing off. The strides are getting wobbly. I simply can’t anymore accept developments just because some powerful people want them.

The area through which I am now walking is burning with hatred, political oppression and an embarrassing abuse of democratic rights.

Poor people are being ruthlessly targeted and students are being beaten up for raising their voice.

I am worried because there was a time when I cried, friends walking alongside would save me from getting washed away. There was a time if my walk got into a scrappy mode, fellow walkers would cheer me up with words. Some would do it through music and some through passionate company.

And that time is not going to come back because we are surrounded by flames of prejudice, which can’t be put out by extinguishers, but only with love. And we are not left with much of that. Painful.