How easy it is to be a patriot

Independence day India national flag

How easy it is to be a patriot
All I need is a pic of a flag
and a frame given free
on FB
and when I go out to wear white or ethnic
and pin on a flag
put it in front of my house for all to see
and on my car or scooter/bike
Say Bharat Mata ki jai and sing Vande Mataram or shout Jai Hind with the mobs

Oh, yes, how easy to be an India-lover
while under the bridge of the metro the woman of unstable mind
is gang raped
and the Muslim girl I saw carries her flag out of fear home
fear of being thought related to Rushdie’s stabber
while the child comes up to me and begs silently that I buy her toy
at the traffic signal, beseeching it won’t turn green to some God she does not feel exists but all the same just in case
her silent lips moving quivering
or maybe it is just one more fear, of rejection and hunger or thirst making them tremble
while the jobless wonder where they should go to find one
whose legs to hold and whose feet to touch
while every minute life stops its nose at the overflowing drains filled with sewage-black water and fecal matter due to rains flash floods waterlogging
the stink of garbage
the bald tar-peeled-back muddy pot-holed roads
and the sloughs of water in which are hidden pits to which people suddenly fall in in two-wheelers and sometimes even die
while no one else stops as the traffic is too much and at home a wife or a child or a maid waits
while eunuchs clap to get a few coins
and women cast anxious glances only to be picked up by men who will violate them for money
ignoring the news feed flash of a child who died beaten to death by his upper caste teacher for drinking from a pot of water in Rajasthan
no white for purity
no blue for compassion
no saffron for unity
and no green for peace
only the orange that makes you wait
the red for danger and then ‘the mad rush’
and the fear that if you are called anti-national
you will be killed or beaten to a pulp and left fore’er, e’en more behind than before

Dr. Koshy AV
Assistant Professor
Mount Carmel College
Autonomous
Bangalore

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