The irony is, the pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to reboot our mind and re-define the actual goals of progress. Still, I remember that summer afternoon at Shantiniketan. I was talking to Shyamali Khastagir. Her murmurs and groans are still in my ear. Showed her handmade puppets narrating a fantastic story. Two wooden dolls. One is a boy, who is dressed as a young man, dirty check shirt, properly tucked in, as if it flaunts its fake handsomeness, as if it wants to be counted, whereas his friends reject him for his dirty clothes and poor look. The other is the mother, poor, and weak with feeble limbs. Unfortunately, the mother doll had gout on her one leg that is the only point of painful pride she had, as it is over swollen. And the boy shows to the world that his mother has a beautiful leg. He finds the resemblance unnaturally inflamed limb with the so-called development. Here lies the slap. Still, I remember Shyamali di’s deep sniffles mixed with enormous despair.
She used to run this puppet show in villages, in several tribal fairs. And she tried to convince people that development is not what it is being shown to the world. It comes from within. The indigenous strength is the means for the end.
Gandhi somehow becomes relevant to mention, wanted a centrifugal development, and wanted to see villages be empowered from within. His mantra was also self-reliance. Justifiably empowered villagers create a strong nation. That was the perennial dream.
Are we behind the same? When we shout saffron and promote the motto of self-reliance, did we check our backend, are we ready, are we really able to stand up for ourselves, and these are common anxieties blowing in the wind. We now need the courage to stand up, as we needed to rely on ourselves first, needed to respect peoples’ mandate, and thus we could refrain ourselves from rigging polling machines, polluting politics. We should not pattern malice in thoughts and leaders not to coddle the same. All focus towards people was a dream when the nation was built. We are to believe that politics is a game to serve the people, not to grab power and the power to create wealth.
Corruption and politics should have not juxtaposed in spontaneity.
Development is not just building bridges, stopping rivers in the names of constructing barrages, executing deforestation to harness industrial aggression, erecting skyscrapers, having 5G in claws, having bitcoins, grabbing more luxuries, having the delight of toppings on exotic creams of cakes and beautiful ladies in the maddening noise of nightclubs with sprinkles of ales and howling of raps… ‘Apna time ayega..’ And after that, everything fades away, we come back, driving recklessly zigzag on the road feeling exhausted.
Unity in diversity means something else, but actually this diversity defines our reality. Having money was always having a solution. The rich, upper-middle-class, middle class, poor and BPL is how we segregated ourselves. This is how we maintained social distancing. Covid19 has given us exotic impeccable unity in an uncomfortable diversity. Money can buy, that happened to be the most comfortable statement. But now, Covid19 proved how wrong we are. This pandemic levelled everything. You, me and they.
The superbia of a nation allocates billions for their mission to annihilate enemies. Even during crises weapons are sharpened more, with more subtlety and more smart gears. Diplomacy fumbled to speak good words. The United States, European Union and China reciprocated aspersion.
The great Indian traditional mainstream media, although could not stop its nonsensical show of jocular ribaldry of political bias.
On the contrary, Corona taught us to be more concerned toward everything we breathe in. So the time has come to breathe out all malice. Especially when the economy stumbles, politics is perplexed and diplomacy sounds bitter, let’s start rethinking how we can reconstruct our ethos again. The time has come to look back with the creative impulse. To unify.
Let’s rewind the tempering process and recreate this green world again.
So D-FIE is here as the initiative towards that vision. This is a dialogue box, for entrepreneurs, intellectuals, design thinkers from different spectrums.
Photo Courtesy: Photo of Shyamali Khastagir is taken by Ludwig Pesch (1 March 2011) and Delhi By Martin Adams
Hindol Goswami, Editor D-FIE
Journalist, Startup Mentor, Social Entrepreneur, Writer, Thinker and cultural diplomat.