You May Be Feeling Alone Siddarth, But You are Not
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I’ve been sitting on this letter for weeks now but have decided not to worry about grammar and sentence formation. I’ll write from my heart.
I don’t know about you but I’ve been in a state of anguish since Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on Sept 5. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her.
The frustration, helplessness and seething anger had been building up for over three years now (it took 6 months to understand we’d all been conned by Modi) and Gauri’s killing was the final straw.
A few times I’ve come close to giving up on the idea of India recovering from the devastation wrecked on it by this festering pustule of a government, especially if it wins in 2019.
Making yourself a temple made does NOT make you god but the fact that someone believes it is possible is astonishing in itself.
Have been feeling deeply resentful that we (the anti-“hindutva” camp) seem to be fighting those who don’t realise we are fighting on their behalf too—the almost brain dead trolls.
For days I was incandescent with rage at the sight of the poorest, elderly, ailing weeping in queues during Demonitisation—even more so because Modi complained about the “zulm” being done on him! When you claim to be a victim, you cannot be seen as a persecutor. And I still feel bitter that this Narcissist feels NO guilt or shame at what he’s done and is still doing.
I’ve been frustrated at the stress caused to millions of businesses because of the GST mess, feeling frightened at the growing joblessness—it can ONLY lead to increase in crime no? And invariably the weaker ones in society, the women and minorities will be victimised by what I foresee as roving bands of hungry thugs.
Has anyone ever felt this kind of toxic poison in the air before the Modi/Shah brigade, the RSS launched their hate diatribe—this attempt to divide Hindus and Muslims, extreme right wing and liberal, I’d say normal, Hindus?
Even within families we’ve grown to despise and break up relations based on whether we are pro or anti Modi, RSS brand of Hindutva.
I grew up in a family where Ma did an hour-long puja every day and my father was an atheist! We were free to believe in god or not. The emphasis was on reading, learning—from The Statesman to Urdu Sahitya, Sharatchandra, Vedas, Upanishad, GB Shaw to Agatha Christie, Shama Sushma, Maya and dozens of other books, magazines and writers.
So I feel severely anxious when I hear the medieval, regressive, bigoted statements from BJP legislators, even MPs about everything from science to women’s roles and more.
How can the BJP be re-writing and filling school books with lies; I take Ayurvedic remedies, completely believe it has a place in healing but am horrified when an Ayurvedic doctor describes the exact procedure for producing superior babies and miss the connotation about Hitlers’s men too trying to create the Master race in the 1930s.
Anyhow so as I was on the verge of despair, a few events occurred which in themselves are unrelated but held great meaning for me. In psychology it’s called synchronicity—a word coined by Carl Jung which describes “meaningful coincidences”.
I also see synchronicities as the way god speaks with you!
A few days ago, I’d sent a message to an AAP leader saying,
…I have been in deep depression since Gauri..something in me seems to be giving up.”
“These are difficult times” he wrote back.
Immediately I felt a sense of deep relief and only because I know psychology did I understand why.
This leader had not ignored me, he didn’t try to reassure or console me, did not tell me to keep speaking up, to find a project etc etc (although that too is extremely necessary at times)—what he had done very simply was acknowledged my feelings.
In psychology this reflecting or echoing of a person’s feeling is called Mirroring and it helps the one who’s suffering to feel validated, reassures them that their feelings are important and understood and therefore brings a sense of relief.
Within that week another friend sent me this image of Dinkar’s poem
Loosely translated it means:
War is not over,
It’s not just the killer who’s culpable;
Time will also note the guilt,
of those who remain neutral.
I keep reading and re-reading it—as if Dinkar is directly speaking with me. As if this friend read my thoughts.
Also this reminded me of a quotation by Gandhiji I’ve used as my email signature for years.
As if this wasn’t enough—and no I’m not making it up within the same week I get this reply to my tweet about the girls being beaten up in BHU.
I realised this man I don’t know, Yashpal, too was echoing me, he too was feeling the same as me—helpless, useless, distressed.
With this my plans to quit on India, came to a dragging halt. But to be honest I was and am still terribly conflicted.
For most days no matter what I do, how much noise I make on social media, it gets lost, seems inadequate and to make not the slightest difference to anyone.
I tell myself I should be on a march, doing a vigil at Jantar Mantar, adopting a Kanhaiya, being a ‘ground volunteer’—all of which seems more valuable than countering disinformation, or asking questions, or pointing out that a KVS Singh of DRI may have favoured Adani! In other words, raising awareness on SM doesn’t seem enough.
And as I felt the resonance in my own heart of Yashpal’s touching tweet and the messages from AAP friends, I had a most profound insight.
All of us battling Hindutva trolls on SM everyday are in effect mirroring each other
Our common cause has created a huge community of liberals, aaptards, khangressis, pseudo-sickulars, commies, anti nationals, muslims, dalits, journalists, rationalists, activists and so forth.
This battle has also helped each of us clearly see who we really are.
We’ve discovered that on the whole we are on the same side—we are tied by ideology. We don’t know each other, will likely never meet, may even quarrel and bicker over party lines but KNOW that we are on the same side of the dividing line drawn by BJP & RSS epitomised by Modi and others.
So instead of feeling helpless or inadequate maybe we can do what we can?
Can we just mirror each other who are on the same side of the divide and not worry if it is a Congressi or SP or CPM and or snipe at each other about who’s fighting which election.
It’s NOT about political parties anymore—at the risk of sounding melodramatic I think it’s about the survival of India. If Modi, BJP, RSS win again in 2019, there won’t be an India as we know it.
In one of her last messages Gauri wrote “why do i feel some of ‘us’ are fighting between ourselves? we all know our “biggest enemy”. can we all please concentrate on that?
As if they heard her, as if in a final case of synchronicity, the three “adversaries not enemies” Yashwant Sinha, Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Tewari got together at the latter’s book launch. And as if reading the winds of future, AK said something very interesting: “Ab agala chunav BJP aur janta ke beech hoga.”
So if you feel angry and frustrated, make a plan about what you want to do until the 2019 general election. Find a project, an issue, a person to support. A general cause like a party and something specific, like a specialisation which may alleviate some of the helplessness and anxiety.
While ground volunteerism is excellent, SM is not irrelevant anymore, not at all!
It’s an increasingly powerful arena of battle, it has been weaponised by Modi and BJP (as by Trump) but it’s how we get the truth which the main stream media is Not giving us about the current government.
There are still a few dozen journalists, activists speaking out against the Modi regime.
The biggest example of the internet’s power is, of course, the story broken last weekend by The Wire on Jay Amit Shah and his astonishing vikas within one year.
But there are others. The man we all can’t help but admire, Ravish Kumar and yes, whose life is in danger as is Ashish Khaitan’s.
There’s Sidharth Varadarajan and Rifat Javed, who could be back in the USA and UK, leading a peaceful life but who choose to stay in India and go through the grinder every single day—risk life and limb.
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is being hounded by the Adani group against whom he’s been writing and exposing for years.
Pratik Sinha and a handle called @SMHoaxSlayer are whom we believe over any main stream media.
Even ex BJPian Arun Shourie is now giving regular sound bites—don’t be so scared he said a few days ago.
Although assuming 90% of journalists are now “godi media” category, there are many, we can’t list all here, who are still fighting the good fight, who need our help!
And I’ve come to understand that my feelings of helplessness could be alleviated if I focus on doing something specific or go for a goal which will have a clear outcome.
So I’ve decided to help out and support people like these journalists fighting for free speech, the right to question, the right to expose shonky financial dealings.
I am going to ask you to do the same. Without free speech there’s No democracy.
Also you need to recognise something important—If you tell yourself that these people standing tall and speaking up are extraordinary, or have special skills that You don’t, you will give yourself the excuse of not doing the most or best you could.
Many of these people are indeed extraordinary men and women—maybe they can write and analyse better or know about finance or politics far better than us.
I don’t have there intellect, fortitude, focus or commitment. But I may have skills or qualities they don’t—we are not competing here, we are complementing each other.
And at the very least and importantly, we are mirroring and emotionally, mentally supporting each other.
We can contribute by doing whatever we are capable of doing— support on SM, donate, do some free work for them, offer to raise funds—just find a way.
Don’t use their skills and calibre or status to sell yourself short or as an excuse to Not do what You can. Until 2019!
So this first drive here is going to be to ask for donations for The Wire.
I don’t have to tell you why they need it. The Wire lives on donations—it’s not owned by a corporate although I am sure the two Sidharths-Varadarajan and Bhatia have received plenty of hugely lucrative offers.
Let’s donate as much as we can. Your Zakat, some part of Diwali expenses, Christmas, new years, birthday celebrations—at least some portion of it.
You do it not just to help out Wire—You do it to help out YOU, to fight for India, for your rights to live as you want, eat and dress, pray or marry whom you want.
You do it to fight for an India where people don’t get beaten up for being dalit, raped, tortured, stolen from day after day because there’s No accountability—because you cannot question, leave alone criticise the government.
Let’s make a commitment to fight this until next elections—until 2019. Send these BJPians so far back into the wilderness that they can never come back again.
So Please Go Now and Donate.
I will donate to the Wire.
“Sir, I earn 10,983 every month. Whatever you spend on the case with Amit Shah’s son, I am willing to give you my entire salary. But please don’t bend and don’t give up.”
My warmest, always