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India

What happened in Baduria and Basirhat of West Bengal is a warning. What is happening in Darjeeling is a warning. What is happening in Jammu and Kashmir is a warning. When people are getting lynched for their food choices, it is a warning. What is happening to dalits, adivasis and other minorities in present day India is a warning. Can you read the writing on the wall?

It is alarming. India is sitting on a tinder box. Any day it can explode, inflaming the whole nation. It is time that saner people came out of their comfort zones and did something. Many people say I’m helpless. Many people blame it on the political parties. Many people say I’m not a political activist, what can I do? No, it’s not the time for forsaking India. It’s not the time for apathy. It’s time that everyone started doing whatever in their capacity to save India from a grave danger that’s lurking in the dark. When political parties, except for the right wing fascist Sangh Parivar and its political off shoot Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are in deep slumber it is time for people to step up.

During freedom struggle Gandhiji asked everyone to drop whatever they are doing and plunge into freedom struggle.  I would say it was not a smart move, but it had it’s political impact. But it left many people without good education and knowledge to earn a livelihood. Finally when freedom came it also made many people disenchanted.

Now we have come to such a stage that we have to launch a second freedom struggle. Now people don’t have to leave their jobs or their studies. They just have to donate an hour for the well being of the country . On top of whatever everyone is doing, donate just one hour for the communal harmony of India. One hour is a bench mark. You can donate more or even just five minutes of your time a day. This can be spent in any meaningful social work that anybody can do. From a five year old child to a 90 year old elder citizen should be able to take part in this endeavor. While spending this hour people will be reflecting why they are doing it, where the country is headed, is this the direction the country should go.

Some Activities that we can do in this one hour or five minutes.

  1. Blood donation camps. Sharing our bloods will make us realize that we are all brothers and sisters.
  2. Community kitchens or food packet distribution to the needy
  3. Know your neighbor. Spend some time with your neighbours to know about them more deeply and intimately. This can create communal amity.
  4. Film screening on communal harmony
  5. Poetry reading on communal harmony and social integration
  6. Cultural Programmes
  7. Seminars, workshops on communal harmony and social integration
  8. Protest gatherings, rallies
  9. Petition campaigns
  10. Literary/painting workshop for children and college students on communal harmony
  11. Spend time with disabled people, elderly people
  12. Planting of tree saplings for a better India
  13. Reviving/protecting a water body to protect our lives
  14. Inter caste/inter religious food festivals to create communal harmony

Well, this is small list I just scribbled down. There is no end to creative actions that can bring peace, justice and communal harmony to India. We can build a better India. Let’s start dreaming and working together.

Binu Mathew is the Editor of www.countercurrents.org. He can be reached at editor@countercurrents.org

8 Comments

  1. Dr. P.S. Sahni says:

    Your forewarning of what the present communal flare-up could lead to in India has come at the most appropriate time; the simple activities you have suggested in which people could involve themselves reminds one of late Baba Amte (who spent a lifetime working amongst leprosy patients) who would often remind us: ‘work unites; ideology divides.’
    Ordinary people in India would have seen through their lived experience how ruling class parties engineer social violence – communal, caste, ethnic or otherwise – to ensure consolidation of their ‘vote banks’. The revolutionary poet Gorakh Pandey’s short poem in Hindi sums it up for all times to come:
    “इस बार दंगा बोहुत बड़ा था ।
    खूब हुई थी खून की बारिश ।
    अगले साल अच्छी होगी फसल मतदान की ।“
    (This year the riot was very big
    There were heavy rains of blood
    Next year the harvest of votes will be abundant)

  2. K SHESHU BABU says:

    This is the time to instil confidence in every citizen. Even childre n should be taught the importance of living together. Almost every school spends sometime in ‘ prayer’. Less than five minutes are required to play this Mohammad Rafi number written by Jan nisar akhatar during indo-china war. Let the schools play this one everyday during prayer
    ‘ Aawaz do hum ek hai’ ..
    And a small story how Hindu helped Muslims or vice versa .

  3. Sally Dugman says:

    These are wonderful suggestions from Binu. … Three of my favorites that I’ve undertaken from time to time are these ones involving people who are “down and out.” They especially need our help in times of trials and tribulation. … I have gone to the homes of elderly people, who have been hospitalized or are in a rehabilitation clinic — i.e., after a stroke or some other grave malady. … I clean the house, stock the refrigerator with some foods, change the bed, do the laundry and keep them company. … Often they are too weak to do much for themselves until they are fully all better and they do get lonely or scared while housebound.

    Another act that I love to do is to bring goods to a shelter that has taken in families whose apartment building burned down nearly to the ground. … I call AFSC Material Aids program in Cambridge, near Boston, and put in a request for bags to be ready for me with household items, toys, clothes, curtains and so on. Then I drive around 30 miles to get the new belongings. Then I drive my car loaded to the maximum with all of the “stuff” back to where the harmed people are located. … These bags of goods will be ready for them to use when they find new homes.

    Another fun action for me has been to pick up clothes for ex-convicts in a half-way house since some of them only have left the clothes that they were wearing when imprisoned. So I find out their sizes for shoes, and all sorts of clothes, including ones suitable for job interviews.

    Then I do pretend interviews with them so that they can learn to act in an interview for a job. Now THAT is a really delightful game! It’s like having a mini-drama or a play in which oneself is an actor helping another actor, the ex-convict!

    Of course it is very useful to do, too. After all, the ex-prisoners need to learn the skills so that they get jobs and do not revert to a life of crime in selling drugs, being prostitutes or carrying out petty robberies. … At first I was a little nervous to be working with ex-convicts, but after a while, I saw the goodness in each and every one of them … really not different from anyone else in society!

    Gosh, you are really only limited by your imagination in terms of finding new ways to serve communal and social interests! … Community garden work is a great one, too!!! It can really bring people together even when they don’t speak the same language as each other! … Many people have no idea about the ways that some of these projects can be exciting! They enrich one’s life immeasurably! … I also like teaching anti-bullying lessons in schools as it is very important to teach ethics and compassion when people are young! … Yes, endless opportunities await for those who want to build up their communities, which indirectly, then, build up their own individual lives!

  4. Just the appropriate thoughts for the present times & existing circumstances. Many thanks to the writer.

  5. rosemerry says:

    Binu is right, and everyone who cares can spent the time he or she is willing to give, doing something positive. India is worth it!!

  6. Brilliant! Small is beautiful, small is powerful, as Binu points out, small is you and me coming together ‘the well being of the country’ in acts of compassion and conscience. A friend wrote yesterday ‘I believe there is a grand design that values intelligent reasoning and that there is potentially a grand destiny for any species that can master it.’ Yes, let us master and live compassion and conscience in action, it will surely bring the grand destiny of harmony.

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