Monday, August 15, 2011

Independence Day 2011

I woke up in the morning to pouring rain. Put on the t.v to see the Celebrations. It was interesting. Drizzle to downpour, the soldiers crisp in their uniforms, the flag never wilted for a moment, the school children in tricolour plastic rain coats, men and women under large umbrellas getting soaked dispassionately, and the Prime Minister thanking the farmers and workers for another wonderful year of service. He always does that, but Montek looks a little uncomfortable, the camera catching him wrinkling his brow as he frowns. Once Montek invited some JNU students for a talk, and asked them "Do your parents really let you wander around the countryside?"

 Or so I heard. To Delhi-ites the countryside is a memory, as the city absorbs them totally. Here is another poem by K.N. Viju.

Crossing Bharatapuzha

Each time I pass this way,
I promise to come again;
though I know I may not.

The river is the same dwindled stream
The sand bed dry with pools of water,
Bharatpuzha whose shores I loved.
Though always a stranger, a prodigal son,
Who left his soil and wanders still.

But if beneath the skies
I could choose a few yards
to build my home, it's here.
Like a roaming bird, I shall fold my wings
And ruminate on my long journey
if time allows - his mercy so uncertain.

A distant temple, beautiful because small,
Enchanting because desloate,
And green fields, fresh air,
People whose feet never hurry
The wind that forgets to move
And goes to sleep among coconut groves.

I must fill my eyes with these
The mind may crave, once I am off.

You become nearer when far,
To love you I must lose you.
Enigmatic love, like for the one
Who bore me, but now so far -
My memories alone can touch her
Beyond two thousand miles.

Do not forget me, I am yours,
I may not speak your tongue,
I may put on disguises,
But don't you know
I breathed your air, grew in your sunshine
You are the red of my life blood.

(k.N.Viju from "Valley Beyond Mountain", Paridhi Publications, Thiruvanthapuram 2011)

The interesting thing about India is that farmers with small landholdings (Prof Alagh, formerly of JNU once cautioned us not to speak of them as "small farmers") produce a substantial amount of food for themselves and the market (read the State). "Technologisation of Agriculture" just does not take into account that Punjab or Tamil Nadu may not be like Kerala. The standardisation debate is an anamoly from the 1960s. In Education too,  the idea that one uniform type of education, or curriculum, or Act which would debar all others from recognition is disastrous for 21st century India. Some of the most interesting debates today are located around the question of Diversity, whether with regard to religion, education or planning.

No comments:

Post a Comment