Breathe and Push

A message of hope so eloquently delivered.

“…what if this darkness is not the darkness of the Tomb, but the darkness of the Womb…”

As a former varsity debater and public speaker, I took delight in the display of mastery over those 6 minutes – not a second wasted. The way she connected with the audience and the right touch of emotion. Have I seen better speeches? Yes of course. But I admit this almost gave me goosebumps.

Why do we care, those of us half-way around the world about what happens in America? Because the American experiment was and is unique in scale and bold in its reach (read Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville for context) and we root for the rights of the commoner to determine their own destiny and periodically choose a peer to represent their interests in governance.

Because a government of the people, by the people and FOR the people is the best choice we have to guide us to a better future. Believe me, there are forces at work that wish to undermine this, to circumvent democracy as an inconvenience, that wish a return to some variation of Aristocracy.

So I root for America, a country half-way around the world, and cheer for its victories, in the battles they fight within, to make it a stronger union and today I celebrate this eloquent defense of what has always made America Great.

Raising a Brown Boy in Today's America

Breathe and push: Sikh-American civil rights advocate Valarie Kaur's plea to her country in the times of Donald J. Trump.

Posted by Scroll on Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ask not what you can do for your Government but what your Government can do for you

Saw a Facebook post shared by a friend of a friend:

Fist 500x500The author makes some interesting points and some of them very much resonate with me.  He then makes a logical leap from, I am such a saint and yet I do not protest the government and therefore I am holier-than-thou and therefore more nationalistic and patriotic than people who protest or ask for more.

His basic sentiments are laudatory — yes Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. BUT and this is a big BUT. It is your MORAL duty as a citizen to ensure that the GOVERNMENT of the day is held accountable for its performance.

We need to see the difference between the elected party in power and the nation state and know that supporting the government blindly is not supporting the nation. India doesn’t demand enough of its elected leaders and it is laziness and apathy at the heart of it – not patriotism and pride.

By all means don’t expect a water or electricity subsidy. But is it too much to ask that the government in power at least provide 24/7 basic utilities as such even if it is charged? Yes I know, what I ask is difficult. Easier to pay the water mafia for a 700 rupee tanker or get a inverter isn’t it?

Yes by all means don’t demand a larger quota for college education – after all you can go to a private school. But is it not the duty of the government to work towards creating a better infrastructure so that our primary and secondary schools are worth going to and has the resources to properly educate the next generation of thinkers, doers, educators, engineers, poets and scientists. That is a worthwhile national goal. One that will forever uplift the Nation and take it a giant leap forward. Hold whoever is in power accountable to such laudable goals.

Look at the pathetic state of public healthcare. But wait, it is easier to go to private hospitals. After all our hardworking parents have earned and we can afford it. IT IS EASIER. Let’s not kid ourselves. We don’t take on all these laudable issues because it is hard and we couldn’t care enough. Not because of some misguided patriotism.

So ask not what you can do for your Government but what your Government can do for you. It is your moral and patriotic duty to do so.

Footnote: As a side-note, let me just put it out there that while I am not a devotee or fan, I have a tremendous respect for Modi the person.  I believe (and it’s my opinion) his heart is in the right place and he is that rare unicorn in politics – untouched by corruption. That is what makes him potentially so effective and dangerous to the rest of this less than stellar breed. It also presents a unique opportunity for India.

It is early days and we do need to give this government more time to do its work before judging, but between congress trying to throw mud and anything that can stick at them, and their own party cadres hijacking the development agenda for their own vested interests and petty goals, they do have their work cut out.

Do let us give them the support they need but also let us ever be vigilant and vocal on the issues that matter so that the people in power, and the politicians, who’s daily support he needs, to deliver on that promise to the Indian people, are crystal clear that – we the people are watching.

Ergo Mi Amor

And there she was
Across the ocean
Standing proudly
With that serene smile
Which won my heart, time and again

She is my Angel, My Shining Star,
An ephemeral epiphany in my life
That grew as we both nurtured it,
Into an everlasting paradise

She is the rock, the steadfast
The blissful anchor that gave me light
Yet it is her very being, that inspires me,
To soar to greater heights
And touch the velvety sky

For she resides in that rarified realm,
A star in her own rights,
My darling angle, tell me that
You shine for me tonight, and the nights to come
Until the day, we bid this earth goodbye

My guardian, my very best friend,
The love of my life, and the essential good,
That permeates my being

Let me be the one to walk besides you
To hold you and carry you
In the hour of your need
To smile and laugh with you
When you are happy and pleased
What I would give, to be with you
Oh my Darling, Save that last dance for me

© Rishikesh Chhabra [20th July 2002]