It was in 2016 that I had left you to pursue my higher studies in a faraway country in Europe. For a middle-class family this was a dream, and I was simply living it. You had made it happen. Your welfare schemes and subsidized public education made it possible.
Sociology has taught me to understand the reasons behind an event. The learnings of politics had taught me to contextualise events. My college in Kolkata, Presidency, has taught me to oppose what is wrong and demand what is right. My Communist father has taught me to be aware of the plights of my fellow beings, those who are the lesser fortunate. My teachers have taught me the value of opinions and freedom to speak.
But little did I know that, after gaining so much from you, I would never want to go back. Not because I am mesmerized by the glitz and blitz of a foreign land. Not because I am fascinated by the quality of life that I could afford. Not because I have fallen in love with this handsome foreign land. But because somewhere along the way I cannot recognize my country. I simply cannot relate to you. I have realized that I have lost you.
Everything seems to be getting confused. Everything is blurred. My country, whom I had considered to be my best friend, philosopher, and guide, has left me in the lurch while I am still trying to make sense of my surroundings in the prime of my life. The path where we both could have achieved greatness while walking side by side tightly holding our hands together, not just in terms of wealth but in terms of prospect and respect, has been diverted and divulged.
You are sad. You are bleeding. You are being forced to renegotiate your past to win over the future. You are being forced to abandon some of your own people so that others can live happily ever after. Or so is being promised. A particular food. A particular dress. A particular festival. One kind of marriage. But… but you know, you always loved varieties. You had always preferred differences. You had always valued others.
You have become brash. You enjoy luxury. You thrive on lies. You no longer respect the weak, the poor and the marginalized. You have created your own cocoon. All those around you simply nod. No one opposes. They join in their master’s voice. They laugh when the master laughs. There is only one master. The one and only.
I heard that you have recently received your new home. Temple has become bigger than the God, some are saying. Does it make those who have allowed you to go there any happier? Bigger houses do not make the best of host. It is values, respect and love that do. Pompous occasion can never hide the gaping wounds. Publicity alone can never make you famous or earn respect. Folded hands are not enough to conceal the sinister smile.
There is a façade, though. The world thinks that nothing has changed except the guardian. The world chooses to sleep. The world chooses to ignore the calls. It is because too much is at stake, apparently – geopolitics, capitalism, money, bilateral, multilateral, global relations, and your burgeoning middle class, of course!
My sadness is tied to my country’s. I feel sad. I feel disgusted. I am shattered. Is this the most cherished path of our ancestors upon which we had walked so many miles? My happiness is wanting to welcome all with open arms. My respect is to listen patiently to the most radical opinion. My love is to share the sorrows of others.
India’s is a story where tragedy could have been averted. But now it is only a matter of time before we witness the enormity of it. The unfolding of this tragedy is painful because it is slow. It is cunning. It is mysterious. Many a soul has been bought. Many sold at a very meagre price. Many will be cut into pieces. Others will simply be ignored. The rest will mind their own business. Apparently now, that IS the clever thing to do.
My country, it seems we have decided to draw our own trajectory. We have chosen our destiny. I shall wait for you. A tryst with destiny that was well said at the beginning of your birth. “When the world sleep, India will awake to life and freedom.” All is not lost, though. I am still hopeful. I shall wait for the day when I can once again join your hands without hesitation. There are many like me. All of us shall eagerly wait for the stroke of that midnight hour, my country to start from where we had left. For now, it is the saddest goodbye that I have ever bid!!
Your hopeless lover,
Dr. Suparna Banerjee is a Frankfurt based political scientist and author. Her book Maoists and Government Welfare has been published by Routledge Taylor & Francis. She is the founder of a sustainability website, Green Zeit.