When do you know that a nation’s soul is dead? When it can look at falsehood with full awareness and call it truth.
When do you know that a leader has sold his soul to the Devil himself? When he can look at the night staring him in the face and call it day.
India is at such a crossroads. The moment when it can look at itself and call things as they are.
Yatha bhootam darshanam.
To see things as they are. To state a fact. Is the first step towards freedom.
Perhaps the only one.
There was a time when India could do it. That was the secret of its civilization and magnificent achievements in culture, arts, literature, science, medicine, music, architecture, commerce, communities, philosophy. The golden bird was not made of a metal. But something else that was an aspiration and a realization.
Today the hour of reckoning is here again.
To not state a fact.
Because it is inconvenient to say so. Out of fear. Or favor. Due to considerations.
Greater than the one that has been perpetrated.
And the last religion is Truth. India has always stated That. Testified to That.
There is no other religion. At least for India.
“They carried the virulence.” Across the length and breadth of the country. Across the globe.
They defecated in wards. Ran naked in front of women who were their nurses, who were trying to heal. They filled bottles with urine. As infectant.
They carried the virulence. With pride. With insouciance. With conviction. With faith.
They prayed to God to infect the ‘other’. They invoked the Highest to hurt the ‘nonbeliever’.
The soul-keepers of the nation are silent. The aiyars. Tharoors. Roys. Mehtas.
We have found the real covid. And it is in us.
Well, as a doctor, let me state it. If for nothing else, my own repentant soul. At the risk of annoying others. While my friends are endangering their lives in the trenches. Giving their all to fight on our behalf. Dying by the dozen.
We throw stones at them. We call them names. And it is ok.
We justify it. We call it a mistake. An honest one.
We call India intolerant. Hundreds of writers and artists must have returned their awards due to this virus, I am certain. The virus that is in our hearts.
When we have made our tolerance itself a perversion. A fetish. A means to hide from our own dishonesty.
I have only one question now. What would China do? The paradox of paradoxes that I have to look up to someone else to find out who I am.
Would they have blamed the administration for the lapse? The authorities for the snafu? Equated operational failure with spiritual hypocrisy?
Would we like to be tolerant to falsehood? Would we like to state that every religion is flawed and we should spread harmony? Peace.
Our discourse has been corona-ed. Our tolerance for the virus is itself covid.
Is there any way to awaken the soul of India now? To adhere to Sat, the Truth?
To state it for all to hear. And perhaps, even listen?
Can we say this as an Indian? Free of division in our heart, yet with calm and clarity? Can we accept this as human beings with a basic sense of decency towards each other?
Otherwise, do not expect the doctors and nurses to lay their lives for you. Do not expect them to use one mask for a week exposing all their loved ones to your virulence. What standards remain for them to aspire to? To fight for?
All else is immaterial. In the battle for the soul of a nation, this is the real dharma-yuddha. If we can be together in seeing our falsehood, then our soul might still live. Then there is the thread, the ray of light which we can follow towards the End.
If not, our soul is dead. And we must accept this too. State it the way it is. Without screens. Perhaps this might be our only chance. Our path to redemption.