THE NOTION OF MY PEACE LOVING NATION- A piece of my mind.
India is the land of Hinduism, Budhism, Jaininsm, Sikhism, Islam and a myriad of other religions and cultures that have evolved symbiotically in this nation of cultural and religious diversity.
Modern Indian history imbibes these peace loving values in the most amazing and large-scale freedom struggle ever on this planet- ‘The ‘Non-violent’ Indian freedom movement’. We practically requested and begged for our sovereignty and independence. But keeping ourselves sovereign and independent hasn’t been the same story. We have a history of five wars recorded post independence. The independence celebrations were marked by rioting and killing of the non-violent people by the non-violent people sparked by the policies of the violent British. Our hands were forced to kill our brothers. Such serenely scintillating situations, I must say.
Today, India is a peace loving country with no wars in this century. A possible explanation could be that we have become one of the largest importers of arms and have state of the art nuclear weapons or because our defence budget has steadily increased to a $40 billion for 2015-16, which is more than the education and health budgets put together. Clearly, we are digging deep into our treasures to maintain peace. The defence budget has been steadily increasing at around 10% for the past few years even as the education & healthcare situation in the country faces constraints and budget cuts on top of their already pitiable conditions. Such is the sacrifice that peace-loving Indian citizens (or government?) are making to demonstrate their love for peace.
Thinking of love, India is the land of the Kamasutra- the book of love. As comprehensive as it might be on the subject of love making, it fails to encapsulate love-making from social and political vantage points. Many ‘patriots’ or a fan-club member of the Indian cultural heritage would attribute the problem of love-jihads and honour killings by khap panchayats to this missing link in our peaceful history of love.
Everyone would agree that marriages are the most peaceful celebrations in most parts of the world (may be out of compassion and pity for the couple, nevertheless). But Indians like to go that extra mile and mark the occasion by firing bullets and dancing in a violently inebriated state. So much for mere yaar ki shaadi.
Frugal innovation has always been the forte of developing nations- especially India- as Navi Radjou and other world experts on the topic have asserted. And necessity is the mother of all inventions. So much so that when the common Indian man learnt that the defence expenditure was for the armies and security forces, he invented a mass weapon of ordinary destruction- ‘Desi Katta’. Who needs a licence anyway? For the sake of compendious expression of my thoughts, I would refrain from talking about hate crimes and road rage incidents that embellish the headlines on any normal date in the calendar. It might be debatable to say that it is a coincidence that a majority of our Olympics medals are won in contact sports like boxing and wrestling.
At a time when India is set to play one of the biggest roles in international trade and political scenarios, it is plainly ironic that when it comes to assessing ourselves on peaceful living conditions, we compare ourselves to Pakistan and middle eastern countries which are crisis stricken as an excuse and ignore real peaceful democracies like Canada, New Zealand and Luxembourg.
No wonder, our best argument to depict ourselves as white doves in a world of vultures and eagles is that ‘With so much private expenditure on private security, Osama isn’t safe in Pakistan, while in India, the government keeps Kasab and Guru safe so that their deaths could be peaceful’.
Kanika Kashyap | PGDM 2015-17