[ This pertains to my article: Mahatma Gandhi on Sacrifice. ]
When I was a youth, I distinctly remember buying Rice for Rs. 1.20 a kilo, (today, rice of the same quality is sold at about Rs. 50-75 per kilo), and Wheat for 90 pice, (Re: 0.90), – today, wheat powder costs Rs. 40 a kilo. Mutton, selling for Rs. 400 a kilo was bought at Rs. 6.
My Parents used to recount how in their youth, One Seer (c 900 grams) of Rice had cost One Anna, that is, 1/16th of a rupee. The rupee had 192 pice, and even these brought in goodies, according to them. And that was the time of the british raj!
Today, even modern India’s 50 pice (Half rupee) coin is Out of Circulation, because practically Nothing can be bought with that; Bus Conductors would refuse to accept 2 of those instead of a rupee.
Though Incomes have gone up, I do believe the ‘Buying Power’ is perhaps gone down. That is, when We remember that 70% of Indians are Poor.
So what were We lacking when the british ruled Us?
Nothing but Freedom.
But That Freedom is Such a Precious thing that People, including Mahatma Gandhi, took Lathi’s on their head. [ The Lathi is the Indian police baton, quite 4 feet long, used with a Swing… Just like Dhoni’s Helicopter Shot… I can’t refrain from Jesting even when on terrible subjects like these. ]
Here is a picture of some Brave policemen wielding the Lathi on Dreaded, AK-47 laden terrorists.
Photo from the Internet
These policemen and those command them, AND those who Instigate them, giving the Real Commands from the Background, ie, the politicians, are people Without Honour. For me, there is Nothing Worse I can say of Anybody. …So many of them are attacking a Woman who has fallen on the ground. …They cover their faces, knowing that they are doing a shameful thing. …YET not resisting it. Are they not Scum?
In Indian History, We are taught that the britishers had shot upon and killed a Large number of People at, to use the use Phonetic spelling: Jaalian-vala Baag in Punjab. Baag means Park. And that was the site of a Massacre. But why blame the british? They had come from abroad, and were here merely to make money. The Welfare of Indians was the Last and Least of their concerns. …As such, Indian police beating Un-Armed, Indian Citizens, as in the picture above, is More Shameful.
In the Heart of Hearts, We too know that Freedom has a High Cost. Like Broken Heads, (and Limbs). Not to speak of Useless and Un-Warranted, False Cases dumped on You. And, If We have Courage, and Honesty, We shall admit that We are Afraid!
Actually, there is Nothing Wrong with Fear. Nothing Wrong in being Afraid. The Wise and the Brave Man is Afraid. Only, We Should Not Allow that fear to paralyse Us into Inaction.
And Action means, like Gandhi and S P Udayakumar, Being Ready to Pay the Cost for Freedom. Yes, We Are on the Topic of Freedom.
And I beg to state that We are Free Only for the name’s sake. When Our politicos Dare to Raise their Fingers at Us like this,
Images from the Internet
It is Not just that Arrogant Finger. But the Set of the Face, the Eyes, and the Mouth, All give the same message: i am queen, and you had better behave, Or Else. ****.
- When the media is Afraid to report as it should, fearing for its licence and existence even,
- When the Citizen is Harassed by the government through False Cases; Getting Bank Accounts, Passports and Visas Blocked, Just for Protesting against a Nuclear world or government-run Liquor shops,
Please do Not tell me We are Free.
To Acquire Freedom AND to Keep Freedom is the Work of Lions.
Great Souls become the First to Lay down their Lives. (That Gandhi was not killed by the British Lathi’s is of No consequence here).
It is Only when the Ripple Effect starts to take hold that Things Happen. Gandhiji had taken Years to prepare his campaign. Today, the Average Indian, (and the World Citizen), with Danger no longer on the Perceptible Horizon, Chooses to Ignore it. Since Paying attention to the Situation would mean Danger to Life, Limb And Family, this Does Involve Courage. …And Definitely Sacrifice.
Speaking of Family, Our Immediate families might remain Safe, for the Nonce. But We are NOT thinking of Our Own Coming generations. Our Fault.
So. The Brave and the Inspired Soul comes forward, and either Outright Lays down his life, or Is Ready for that. ONLY WHEN His Sacrifice is Supported by A Flurry of Other Citizens Ready for Sacrifice, Becoming Part of the Oceanic Ripple(s), Is Freedom Achieved, or Maintained.
And That is the Ripple Effect. Regards.