Born Again

August 15, 2008

Has anybody ever tried to find out how it feels to be born? Everyone knows how a mother feels when she gives birth to a child – joy, love, relief, pleasure with pain, the feeling of creation… but how does a baby feel? Does anyone know how it feels to be born? Does anyone know how the Earth must have felt when God created it? The Bible says that God was pleased with what he had created. So we know God’s feelings. But there come moments in life, when you may not exactly feel like being born, but it may come close to that. A feeling of gaining a new life, reliving the moment, the feeling of being born.

It comes in varied forms – when one scrapes through a fatal accident, or is saved from the clutches of a debilitating illness. A change in job, a change in project, marriage, a change in religion, a change in place, all of these moments come close to be being born. Because just like a child is displaced from it’s mother’s womb, so also we get placed in an unknown, and new situation. But then, why do we, unlike little children, not learn to adapt to the new and the unknown? Why do we fear what we fearlessly strode into as little children?

On the 61st year of Indian Independence, we need to be born again. Because unless we do that, we are stagnating in our daily existence of slavery and injustice. Freedom in India has taken the meaning of impunity. By free, we mean to be able to do anything, the way we want to do it. But true freedom is freedom of the mind from prejudice, freedom of the soul from hatred, and freedom of the body, from illness. A free mind is what we need, which does not seek its own good alone, but for the betterment of all. We need to celebrate our birthday everyday, so that we uplift ourselves and others, to fulfill the vision that we only speak about.

We’ve had The Green Revolution, The Economic Revolution; now it’s time for the Education Revolution. Because it is the only thing that has the power to heal our wounds, to propel us into the future, and to build us into the superpower that we dream of becoming. There is no greater shame to a nation, than when its children are left to beg, forlorn and uneducated, and can’t stand up for their own good. When little children roam the streets naked in want of food, shelter and education, it is a shame on the few fortunate, because they have not shared and spread the freedom that they had gotten 61 years back.

Maybe this is not the right time to cite a Bollywood reference, but maybe the only selfless commercial movie I ever saw was Swades. It bombed badly, in spite of having the King, Shah Rukh Khan himself as its star. But it is a must-watch for every Indian worth his salt. No jingoistic cries of Zindabad and Murdabad, no songs in the rain, no heart-pumping cricket and hockey matches to bring out the Indian in you. Simple, plain, vanilla story of rural empowerment and education. How one man, with the support of many, can change the fortune of a small village. By only one medium. Education. And maybe that’s why the movie bombed. Because for us, the pride of India is not in educating our children, but in seeing India win a cricket match, or wage a war on our spiteful neighbor. We, the People, are a shameful generation.

I switch on the radio, I switch on the TV, I connect to the Internet – everywhere I go, people are celebrating a shining India, an India that is a rising nuclear power, that is a growing economic power. Hell, we now even have an individual Olympic Gold Medal to our name! There’s no need to be ashamed, the newspapers tell me. India can lift its head high, they say. We have arrived. And I am more ashamed than ever. A nation of one billion could amass just one gold medal in so many years. And yet, it is proud. And I am ashamed. At our apathy. At our false patriotism. At our jingoistic madness. At our gutless, spineless, neutered existence. I am ashamed.

Let’s be born again. And again. To make us curious. To make us adaptable. Because only a new-born looks forward to life in all its fullness. So that we may explore, share and renew our lives. And that of others around us. Until then, there can be no Jai Hind.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up
into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

-Rabindranath Tagore

Happy Birthday, dear friends.


3 Responses to “Born Again”

  1. Rashi Says:

    Feelings… Deep and unadulterated… Beautifully put into words…
    Really nice one Ivi..
    feeling sorry that I didnt hit ur blog for so long… This one should have been read the day it was written…

    N in the LnT style… I appreciate….

  2. Gauri Says:

    Hi Ivan!!

    Never knew you blogged! But you have the penchant for expressing yourself effectively and with the flow necessary, if you are planning to become an author.

    My sincere suggestion,start writing to publish those fantastic smelling pages of a new book, if you have already not!!

    Your writing flows, don’t let it stagnate.

    When you do get that book published, please do not forget to sign a copy to me.


  3. Harpreet Nanda Says:

    What was really notable in this blog was the way you maintained the same flow from beginning to end, till the last line ….

    Very well expressed and it certainly gave some food for thought to me to see the same mundane issue from a different perspective altogether (Lets be Born Again 🙂 )…
    Keep up the good work …

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