When I ask myself what it means to be an Indian – I am stumped. Everything that flows from this thought is more at an individual level than national. I see how we are all shaped by values and practices that emanate from our religion, community, family, education, region, economic background. Our identity is defined by everything that differentiates us from one other rather than by uniting us. I look around and I am deeply pained to see how fragmented we are. We are divided by ideas which are a result of our conditioning that stems from mistrust and fear. How can a nation divided by thoughts and beliefs ever progress?
Divide and rule is a tried and tested tool used by interest groups to propagate their own agendas – whether in the name of religion, caste, political belief – the ultimate objective being to further insatiable greed of money, control and power. When we think a little deeper, it isn’t hard to see that our country, with its resources both natural and human, should ever have to suffer poverty. We as a country are inflicted by the disease of poverty, not of means, but of spirit. We lack self-respect, national pride and discipline. Our spiritual bankruptcy is the sole reason why we are in the state we find ourselves in. We are selfish and succumb to the temptation of covetousness at all costs. Some of us are driven like herds by diverse interest groups who feed on us by perpetuating fear and greed to further their objectives.
What makes us so blind with arrogance, greed and selfishness that we are oblivious of our duties to our Motherland and our fellow citizens? Why do our crimes against our Motherland go unaddressed, unpunished? Why are we silent to witness our mothers being raped, defiled, disrespected, uncared for and unprotected. Why do we plunder and defile Her honour, beauty, wealth, heritage, legacy without as much as a thought? Why do we not care, if we keep Her dirty, serve her poorly, forever take, not give, forever ask, not thank? Why are we so disconnected with our Motherland and are only self-serving? To me the answer is simple – there is no Belonging.
As Indians, we have no belonging to our Motherland. We do not care what happens to Her. Hence we as citizens, business houses, professionals, public servants, politicians, interest groups whether religious or political, do whatever we want to, without accountability or sense of pride or duty. The fragmentation in our identity is so deep rooted that to see ourselves and each other as the children of this great country is virtually impossible. It ironic but what we do not realize is that our selfish ways feed fear, hatred, insecurity, jealousy, greed, which corrupts our soul and character – thereby making us the weak and corrupt people we are today.
Does a child ever need to be told to love it’s mother? The child worships and adores it’s mother and is willing to do anything to serve, protect, bring joy and pride to Her. It is only when individuality sets in and is fueled by selfish, egocentric tendencies that the natural state of unity with one’s mother, parents, family, community, society, organization, country erodes and snaps. Then, I think only of myself and anything else is of little consequence.
Even when my actions are in pursuance of self-growth, as long they do not violate my duty to my country and my fellow citizens, the culmination of such pursuit will result in growth all around. We do not know better, so we accept everything as it is. We feel helpless and despondent and reconcile to our fate of being puppets in the hands of self-serving interest groups. Our selfishness, makes us content in being mediocre. If however, we look at our country for what it is – our Motherland, our Home and all of us its children, could we still be so unabashed as to plunder, rape, ill treat, disrespect, hate or abuse our fellow citizens? It is not about who does what, it is about each one of us being accountable for what we do and who we are.
If we respect ourselves, we will not let anyone soil us with spite, ill, will, hate, fear, greed. No matter what religion, caste or belief we hold, if it teaches us to hate, disrespect, hurt or abuse one another and our Mother, of what use is such religion, caste, belief? There is no greater power in this world than Love, no greater virtue than Selflessness, no greater dharma than Humanity and no greater strength that Truth. Let the power of Love, Selflessness, Humanity and Truth set us free from the shackles of our poverty – stricken, corrupt, selfish, egoistical existence.
Before undertaking any action, if we ask ourselves – is my thought, speech and action in the honour and interest of my Motherland there will be no need for any teaching. We will all know what we have to do. We have to remember, anything that fragments, divides, makes us small is a LIE. If we use our intellect, we will see it is in furtherance of someone’s selfish interest.
India is our Motherland and all of us, irrespective, of our religion, form, colour, caste and beliefs, are Family. All families have differences, but what matters is the essence of our existence. Each of us can have our own personal values, beliefs but irrespective of the differences, we are all children of the same Motherland. Unless, we respect, care and look after each other, there can never be a cohesive existence. Our differences should be our strength and not our weakness. Once we realize we are Family, we are united in our heart. Then to respect and care comes naturally. It is for us to protect, love, respect, support, and serve our Motherland and our Family. Our Motherland and our Family are ours – that is the essence of our existence. Ours is a great inheritance and legacy. Let us live a life of glory and divinity filled with national pride and togetherness and leave a rich legacy for the generations to come. When we realise how blessed we are to be born to our Motherland, we will naturally live a life of gratitude. We will then realise how ungrateful, uncaring, disrespectful, abusive we have been to our Motherland and our Family. A life of gratitude is a life of service for the good of all. It is a life larger and beyond our ordinary existence of I, Me and Mine. Each moment lived like this is eternal and will be filled with the fragrance of the infinite.
Come, let us joyously live the blessing to be born to this truly magnificent country – India, our Motherland – whose bosom has ever welcomed and nurturing Her children and all those who come to Her. I pray we can live a life worthy of being Her children, living a life of belonging to our Motherland and our diverse Family. I bow to our Motherland and pray Her glory lives forever. Let us never forget who we are, where we come from and from which soil we have been nurtured. Our Motherland and Her interest, are above everything. Her glory, safety, prosperity and wellbeing will shape our destinies. Unto Her we are born, nurtured, thrive and unto Her shall we return.