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A New Breed Of Freedom Fighter
Revolution is perpetuated by a critical mass movement, instigated by a period of injustice, propelled by a yearning for change, mobilized by one, or a few, visionary leaders.
The quest for freedom, social & political emancipation, may birth as a slow burn, a minority churn. Like a flame that can swiftly turn a fire, this quiet unease too, can manifest into a raging bull. Horns pointed and sharp. Ready to charge. Puncture wounds into the most armoured and impenetrable shield of bigotry.
In my perception, the Bharat Jodo Yatra embodied this spirit and has platformed this essential sentiment.
The onus however, of keeping this inertia going, and snowballing it into an impactful movement that can realistically induce an antidote to an alarmingly swift-proliferating virus of fundamentalist and extremist ideologies, is on society. Within the construct of our nation, I feel there are three distinct categories of citizens that ought to spearhead this movement.
To call a spade a spade needs courage and fearlessness. Having said that, these attributes alone are sometimes defi cient. Many individuals and organizations may embody these meritorious virtues but in the delivery of messages; the absence of Art, or an Artistic Expression, can come across as dull, dense, boring, preachy and indoctrinating. When a certain boldness meets creative manifestation; that is what makes for a potent, compelling, memorable and instigative voice. It is, for instance, one thing for an individual to speak, on or offl ine, and simply state facts, “Let us rise and fi ght against social atrocities!” Contrast this with a Painter or a Photographer who has chronicled instances of horrors – A Muslim man being beaten unjustly and mercilessly and titles the work, “Phobia”. It is plain to see, which method or means will generate greater empathy and impact. Therefore, I conclude that the fi rst line of defence ought to be our Art Community. Individuals who observe our life and times in a nuanced, sensitive way and interpret it in profound ways that leave lasting and indelible impressions on viewers & observers, necessitating action.
Journalism is that non-negotiable, sanctimonious, essential pillar of democracy. One that, it could be argued, has been signifi cantly compromised and diluted in recent times. One that has the constitutional right and duty to investigate, challenge, question, seek clarifi cation and answers. Entire news organizations and their incredibly brave and dedicated men and women have been bought over, harassed, threatened, incarcerated, forced to fl ee; any manner of coercion and duress to prevent them from asking the ‘right’ questions, i.e., doing their jobs! It is, however, in this rather grim and prevocational backdrop, an environment that makes it nearly impossible for scribes to function, that we NEED a new breed of their like, to rise. And I’m not suggesting that there aren’t. There is a growing community of the old & established, that is taking the bulls by the horn. Like dauntless matadors, they are standing fi rm in and despite the imminent danger. So what’s lacking? A new breed. How long and how hard will the generation before upholding the torch and keep the journalistic fl ame burning? We need a young breed of ethical, courageous, unimpeachable men and women who are as much empaths, as they are staunch seekers of the truth.
Finally then, is us. You and I. The common citizen. I believe that apathy or blind faith in any political dispensation is perhaps not the wisest approach. We too, each one of us, needs to sift through the information and propaganda overload and develop the aptitude, will, and conviction to see through the carefully constructed veil of progress that is being draped over our eyes. Keep our eyes and ears open but display the discerning intellect to decipher truth from projection, reality from perception, and wrong from a scripted right. Each of us will need to join forces with the aforementioned two people types. Lend our support in every way possible – fi nancial, intellectual, physical, and philosophical. We owe it to our forefathers who fought relentlessly to attain and gift us this ‘freedom’. We owe it to ourselves, citizens who work tirelessly to contribute to our country and kin. And we most certainly owe it to our children, who are, in any case, grappling with grave issues and pressures, and are at the risk of inheriting a country that’s muddied by an identity that is narrow, myopic, fanatical, isolating.
A new breed of freedom fighters must be birthed within each and every one of us in order to take on the might and methodology of the establishment. Only then, is there the possibility of the much-needed revolution, an emancipation, a rebirth!