Pollyanna

When you are faced with odds of insurmountable strength,
It is all right, to not see the mission through to its full length,
Will you forgo the applause, just to pull down the curtain,
Or push forward until the goal is yesterday’s burden?

When your life’s only dream is shattered and buried,
It is expected, to just give up the desire to succeed,
Will you stand, with your head staring down at the rubble,
Or pick up a shovel and continue with the struggle?

When your own people strike trust a heavy blow,
It is naturally easy, to let the pent up tears flow,
Will you languish, in your lament till the eyes run dry,
Or will you wipe the tears away before they see you cry?

When words with friends get ugly and all are flared,
It is understandable, to show each other you are scared,
Will you run, leaving everyone angry and afraid,
Or stand to show them they too can remain unswayed?

When nothing you try, is going according to plan,
It is wise, to retreat and retrace the path you just ran,
Will you try, desperately to find events you can rewind,
Or prove there is nothing about the future that you mind?

When your love decides to put up with you no more,
It is obvious, to find that every solace has a closed door,
Will you allow, the hope and faith to gracefully depart,
Or persevere until they dejectedly return to your heart?

When you are asked to give up the beliefs that make your self,
It is necessary, to put your ideology back on its shelf,
Will you distance, yourself from your life and character,
Or draw them closer until your blood is imprinted on every letter?

This one is for the Gazebo, since it looks at a world that could have been. It continues from where Godse left off. The fundamental premise is that Gandhism is no longer a term anybody recognises or understands. While Godse (the poem) contends that this is due to all of us, Pollyanna dwells upon the roots of that demise. Gandhism, was killed not by anyone born decades later, or by errant invididuals, it was killed by Gandhi himself. Now, it would seem moronic to suggest such a thing and attribute the death of a movement to its founder, and an icon no less. But just read through the rest of the stuff, and decide for yourself.

The whole foundation of the non-violent, show you the other cheek, when you slap me, movement has been built around the principle of being true to your beliefs and winning the other person over through the strength of your conviction in your beliefs, and what you are willing to endure, to see them through. This was the reason, instead of assembling a  bunch of rag-tag commandos, Gandhi chose to simply wait out the Britishers, and make them feel ashamed of being extortionate occupiers, and run away sweating with the shame of having exploited and enslaved such a noble race as the Indians. Would have been made for a fantastic movie script, if it had worked that way.

Unfortunately, what actually drove the Brits back, wasn’t a bunch of topless voluntarily-handicapped Salman Khan protestors. Instead, it was a combination of things ranging from the formation of the United Nations, growing global disdain on the enslaving of colonies, growing dissent and unrest within the colonies, necessity to rebuild their own war-torn homeland that was in a political upheaval, and so on. The Brits definitely did not run with their tails between their legs, just by seeing millions of people eagerly waiting for them to feel ashamed of themselves, and hoping they would just wake up one morning and vacate because they grew tired of doing the wrong thing, and Jesus had appeared in their Queen’s dream and told her ‘treat thy neighbour as thyself’. What a story of miraculous transformation.

But my story doesn’t quite end there. I searched and read up as much as I could, and in my limited exposure to literature, I couldn’t find a single reference to Gandhi condemning the Indian Army and calling for its disbandment. I have heard hearsay stories that Gandhi called for the abolishment of the Congress Party post-Independence, though I haven’t seen any written word to that effect. So, it would seem absurd to you, that I would expect Gandhi to get rid of the Indian army. What possible connection could the Indian army have to do with anti-Gandhism?

The answer can be understood through a simple analogy. Let us say you are Gandhi, and you have a house, one your ancestors were born and lived in. One fine day, a guy walks in, (lets call him Occupier) and at gunpoint kicks you out of your house, and stays in it. Apart from kicking you out, he also makes you do all of his household chores. Normally, you would have kicked such a person in the teeth and told him to bugger-off. But then, you are Gandhi, so what do you do. You ask Occupier to leave, and when he doesn’t and slaps you around, you cry, and refuse to do any more household chores, dare him to lock you in the closet, and wait for God to work upon Occupier. The whole idea being, that Occupier would see you in the closet, everytime he reached for his trenchcoat, and after seeing you in the closet for hundreds of times, be so overcome and wracked with guilt, that he would recognise the scorn in your eyes, the pity in your words, the sorrow in your heart, the freedom in your mind, and be overwhelmed by all these emotions, that he would run out of the house.

So far, so good, mission accomplished. Only there is a small hitch. Now that the house is yours again, you then assign a few of your family members to stand outside and prevent any more relatives of Occupier from ever getting in again, and you instruct them to do so by any means necessary, event if that means at gunpoint, or by bullet wound. Here is where the anachronism comes in. You seem to be willing to abhor violence for the purpose of getting your house back, but will not hesitate to resort to violence to ensure the house stays under your control. Now, I don’t know what that makes you, but I would generally term it as hypocrisy. The fact that Gandhi did not talk about the existence of, his like/dislike for, the Indian army, itself speaks volumes about the kind of freedom we purport to have ‘won’.

Please bear in mind, I am not questioning the necessity/purpose of the Indian armed force. Why would I? I am not a Gandhian. All I am saying is that all those followers of Gandhi, or should I say, pseudo-Gandhians like Nehru who were supposedly Gandhian, but gave orders to the Indian armed forces and instead appreciated the role played by the army post-Independence (while pretending to be non-violent people) are the ones who killed Gandhism. So that would make Gandhi the first pseudo-Gandhian, who began the events that killed Gandhism. Godse only shot at Gandhi’s body. Gandhi killed himself when he didn’t live up to his own beliefs.

Of course, let me sum up by saying, I am a nobody to be raking up mud on historical figures of national importance, and I guess there is some statute that prevents anyone from maligning the gloried name of the Father of our Nation. But then, enforcing people’s thoughts, through a statute, is the same Fascist crap that Hitler and Mussolini dished out, and the same crap that allows contempt-of-court to be (ab)used whenever someone questions a court verdict, or that boorish partymen tactics, when they forcibly destroy property of businessmen who dare to do business on a day when their party has proclaimed a strike, and expect people to show solidarity for their movement, by beating them into it, like those Telangana Fascists. So enough said already.

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Tunnel

There are those that trust light, because it has a beginning,
And others still who fear it not, because it has an ending,
But darkness is another matter, for, it begins nowhere,
And even in the midst of light, is always forever there.

It is difficult to understand something, that’s made up of nothing,
And yet, is pervasive enough, to be within everything,
Darkness is the envelope, that helps define every beam of light,
And still can be seen by everyone, specially those without sight.

It is the womb from which all light is born,
And is the grave for all visions that are stillborn,
It is the medium that connects one light to another,
And is the canvas on which one colour differs from the other.

Darkness is not a journey, since it cannot ever begin,
It is the path on which all light created travels within,
It is the black imprint that every footstep of light leaves,
It is the web that captures every illusion that light weaves.

It appears to expand and contract with every change in a shadow,
But what really changes, is the light, from broad to narrow,
Darkness has no size, no speed, because it doesn’t need to move,
It is the encompassive stage, on which light has a point to prove.

In many ways, the only truth there is, is the darkness,
Because it stays the same in both shade and brightness,
It has no colours, no shades, for, those are the offspring of light,
The only progeny of darkness, is the transient permanence of night.

While everyone views a tunnel as the conduit for darkness,
Few realise, that it is the last harbour for nothingness,
Black does not flow, like light through a funnel,
Because there is always darkness, at either end of a tunnel.

This one is for the Beacons, dedicated as it is, to Sirivennela Seetharama Shastry. It is based on his line from one of the greatest Telugu film songs of all time. http://manoharamu.blogspot.in/2007/09/sindooram-ardha-satabdapu.html The line goes like this: 

అన్యాయాన్ని సహించని శౌర్యం దౌర్జన్యాన్ని దహించే ధైర్యం

కారడవుల్లో క్రూరమృగంలా దాక్కుని ఉండాలా వెలుగుని తప్పుకు తిరగాలా

This one is about an all-pervasive omnipresent phenomenon called darkness. It carries on from what began as a dialogue with brother Satyajit (in Into Your Life and Shadows). The beautiful thing about darkness, is that people refuse to give it the credit it deserves. It is perfectly human, that people who wage battles since the beginning of civilization over land, while water covers over 75% of the planet, would try to portray their God as being limited to the light.

I have no problems with the light, except that it is a minority in the grand scheme of things. In the universe, as well as in galaxies, stars (sources of light), are tiny specks of white against an infinite black. So to call their God as the light (“I am the light”, “Dispeller of darkness”, etc.) is absurd because it excludes the fact that God is also darkness. In effect, they end up calling their God as ‘Dispeller of God’. All I am saying is that Darkness is God. So to associate darkness as being the freehold property/playground of some Satan, is to say that God is the property of Satan. Fundamentally, if God is everything, then God is Satan. That brings us to this zero-sum game of “God is the light” and “God is the darkness”. So white=black.

But that is merely, the premise upon which the poem is built. Being an abstraction, the core idea, is more around minorities, and how they are glorified at the expense of the majority (think land vs sea, light vs darkness). So in a society, that globally and locally portends to have a constitution that says all citizens are equal, except that the minorities are more equal, there is something seriously flawed with the checks and balances by which we govern ourselves. I fail to understand how punishing the son for the sins of the father qualifies as social justice, unless an eye-for-a sons-eye-by-my-son is the accepted norm of social justice. The constitution allows discrimination on the basis of caste/creed/religion/gender as long as it is for-the-benefit of some minority. Now unless I have my understanding all soaked in hogwash, nothing can be of benefit to one party without being unbeneficial/harmful to another. You cannot discriminate for-the-benefit of a minority without it being to-the-detriment of a majority in a mixed population organization, be it an educational institution, or a workplace. You cannot be pro-women without being anti-men. You cannot be pro-SC/ST without being anti-FC/OC in an organization that caters to both sections. The only for-the-benefit discrimination that is partially  neutral, is a minority-exclusive organization. In any other context, it is tantamount to punishing the descendant of one community, for-benefit-of the descendants of another community, whose ancestors bore the exploitation of the ancestors of the other community. We live in weird times, when a document that allows this is our constitution.

As long as charters of such inequality are the founding papers of a country, there is a bleak future for social justice. The cycle never ends and has been proven to be a law of nature that is self-correcting. A few lions terrorize a few hundred deer. So to restore order, man decides to shoot the lions. Now the over-shot lions, become an endangered species, while the population of deer grows out of control. So man launches a “Save the lion campaign”, and shoots off the excess deer, to restore balance. By which time, the lions grow too many, and the deer becomes an endangered species, due to too many lions, and too few deer. The same is the case with the minority/majority equation with the constitution/law playing the role of the gamekeeper, shooting each side as it grows out of control.

Unbelong

You created the sun, to enlighten me, enable me to see,
And I created a candle, to bring light toward thee,
To live on, and spread your message, you gave me the earth,
I marked a portion on it, and said this was all you were worth.

I tried convincing everyone, that you can help them overcome fear,
And all you asked, is that I be there to wipe a friend’s tear,
I persisted with telling people you are the only source of happiness,
And you instead asked me to help people get over their weakness.

To shout your message I had travelled, the world around,
And you wanted me to rather help those not gifted with sound,
I spent all my efforts getting everybody to chant your name,
You instead asked me to pardon those whose heads hung with shame.

I was busy selling idols of you, in stone, metal and wood,
While all you wanted, was that my neighbour have some food,
I was busy praising the way you look, in many dozen a book,
And all you wanted, was that I help those who cannot look.

To pray to you, I reverently folded my hands together,
You asked  me to stretch them towards a needy brother,
To glorify you, I offered to build a temple with a golden dome,
You asked me to instead shelter those without a home.

Everything that I offered, you put back into my hand,
To teach me, that true prayer begins with a giving hand,
What can I offer the one, who has the stars, earth and the sun,
When the only offering you want, is to let me help a needy one.

I try  to praise you through the paeans and hymns I have heard,
But what can I call the one, who speaks through every word,
Of all the words describing the resplendence of the lord,
None is more simpler and straight from the heart, than God.

This is another one for my religion, Godism. No further lines, since it is self-explanatory. :). And, oh, it goes into Mirror.

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