Nothing happens in India

Published: March 1, 2011 - 12:39 Updated: March 1, 2011 - 12:42

Even the American empire, which has compulsively backed most of the retrograde, repressive, ruthless monarchies and dictatorships in the Middle East, are surprised. Americans are forever surprised. Ah, they are so apolitical, outside history, beyond bitter realism, so eternally innocent, untouched and naïve! Most of them don't even know what they did to the Red Indians in their own indigenous land. Or, to the Africans, and Afro-Americans, in the sub-human history of slavery. Or, to the Latin Americans in the oligarchies and banana republics of the past. Or, in Vietnam and Iraq. 

Remember Salvador Allende's elected democracy, his murder, and the CIA putsch? Remember how they once backed Saddam, Shah of Iran, Baby Doc, all South American banana republics with their drug cartels and killing machines, the apartheid regime in South Africa, even Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan, and dear pal Osama? Their infinite embargo in Cuba? Aren't they their chums - the Wahabi Islamic oil-monarchy in the pro-Taliban, anti-women, anti-democracy regime in Saudi Arabia? 

A fruit-seller commits suicide in Tunis in Tunisia, and a banana republic dictator is ousted, another dictator in the neighbourhood runs for his life, and another megalomaniac and mad tyrant, despite killing thousands, trying to burn Libya down and turn its earth red with the blood of innocents, finds himself cornered, perhaps on the verge of suicide. Perhaps a bullet will end the misery of this mass murderer, perhaps his own bullet, since the 'voluptuous blonde' has written the final script of betrayal. Perhaps his billionaire blood-thirsty sons, who have sucked the country dry, who till recently hosted multi-billion parties with 'paid' Hollywood superstars, will shoot each other dead. 

A fruit-seller's symbolic martyrdom, in eternal helplessness and anger and protest, turns the dialectic of history upside down as Marx turned the Hegelian dialectic upside down. It moves the multitudes, day after day, through the nights of hunger, resistance and turmoil, children, young girls, mothers, women with, without purdah, an army of non-violent, jobless, educated, working class, middle class, the poor and bourgeoisie, tribes, townsfolk, city-people. They overturn loyalties, destroy vested interests, defy the armed repressive apparatus, push the army and the armed police to the threshold, make sacrifices. They return yet again to make sacrifices, create moonlight tides, soap bubbles in sunshine, hold each other's hands, sing songs, eyes full of tears. They join massive funeral processions and prayers, become a collective mountain of strength, fearless, ready to live and ready to die. 

They are direct witnesses of this huge shift in history, against history, against the established dialectic, participants, comrades and catalysts, cathartically unfolding massive tides of human emotions, dismantling decades of exile and kingdom, the oppressive patriarchies and dogmatic religious terror, the slow suffocation of inner spaces, private and public spaces; pauperised, marginalised, brutalised. Look at them, how they keep coming back in waves across the West-centric profit empires of oil and blood, ready to spill their own innocent, unarmed, human blood. 

They are suddenly empowered, celebrating the collective instincts of shared rebellion, proving that rebellion is a priori in the human condition, that all it needs is a fruit-seller's sacrifice to break all the clichés of the past, Marxist and non-Marxist; that it is possible to unleash a revolution outside any unilinear, predictable, inevitable cliché of absolute, one-dimensional history. 

It is stunning, and Egypt and Tunisia have stunned us. It has especially stunned the great sleepwalker's dream of metaphysical Indians, sunk eternally in this meditative, suffocated, half-satisfying, eternal despair of condemnation and stagnation. Forever sinking in this dirty quagmire of a democracy, camouflaged, subverted, perverted, inverted, turned into a banana republic by a heartless bunch of fat-cats, corporates, politicians, assisted by lyric-writers, ghost-writers, folk-singers of the best-seller establishment, without vision or humanity, celebrating mediocre, morbid box-office slush, stupefying us with hallucinatory drugs of democracy which mean nothing for the vast majority. All of us, Indian citizens, tribal and rural women, like our mothers, shrivelled and emaciated, carrying multiple burdens of existential tragedies, breaking stones to beautify our 'world class cities', sleeping under blue tarpaulin sheets under the open sky of a frozen winter, in farms and factories. Millions jobless, anchorless, without social or legal justice, outside the umbrella of the Indian Constitution and its "socialist, sovereign, secular democracy".

One fruit-seller commits suicide, and the entire Middle East erupts in a revolution. In India, thousands die of hunger and poverty, half of our young girls are anaemic and malnourished, innocents rot in jail, tortured and brutalised, and lakhs of farmers commit suicide. Nothing happens.

This story is from print issue of HardNews