Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mahatma's own country... (Part III)

It's a beautiful summer morning. The smell of daffodils in our garden seep through the window sill into the room. The fresh morning air fills the room with the new day. Although, no morning can compare to that day...

We were all glued to the All India Radio when Mr. Nehru said those words, the words of freedom...

"Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity..."

Those words had spurred a nation. I woke up early on that beautiful morning. There was something in the air, it smelled of freedom. There was something in the flowers, they had the smile of the new nation.

I left for my college on my cycle. Streets were filled with people distributing sweets, singing vande mataram, kids flying the kites, people hugging each other. Although, it all changed the moment I picked up the paper. Another train filled with charred bodies arrives from Lahore. I am sure my friend Bismillah Khan must be reading about the train that left Delhi with butchered bodies. I was not sure whether to enjoy this freedom or not, because it didn't seem right or maybe we were expecting too much.

I was a researcher of physics and atomic energy was a hot topic of research in those days, although it got bad name in the last big war. We didn't even had chairs and would sit on chowkis in our labs and work with whatever equipment was left by the British. All we had was a jazba to do something for our country because we were the ones shaping it. We had the task of laying the foundation of the nation for the future generations to build on.

Mr. Nehru was very interested in developing atomic energy for peaceful purposes. He wanted India to develop the energy without outside help. I didn't agree with all the policies of Mr. Nehru. I agreed that we needed to become self-sufficient nation but closing our doors to the world was not the way to do it. Western world had surged ahead by the time we were fighting for our freedom. We needed their support esp. in the research field but all we got was a licensing raj. As an academician, this license business was frustrating but still I was ready to fight it for my country. I was getting invitations from Universities around the world but this was my home untill one day...

We were standing in line at a checkpoint. An old, poor lady was infront of us. A sub-inspector was checking the passes at the checkpoint. He asked her for pass but she didn't had it. He told her that she cannot go ahead unless she can pay for some chai-paani.

"Pachas rupya lagega", he said
"Pachas rupya kahan se launge babujee. Mujhe apne bachon se milna hain", she said.
"Pachas rupya nahin hain toh pass le ke aa, jaa"

She turned away when he stopped her.

"Kya hain iss potli main tere"
"Churiyan hain sahib"
"Chal abhi woh hee dede, jaa mille apne bachon se, tu bhi kya yaad rakhege"

She gave it hesitatingly, mumbling something about the dahej of her young daughter. It was our turn. We had our passes but there was a signature missing in mine.

"Aap toh padhe likhe lagte ho sahib. Signature missing hain. Par you are educated toh 100 rupee se kaam chal jayega", the sub-inspector said.

My blood was already boiling by this time. I took the papers from him.

"You know you are a BASTARD. You are worse than the people who were ruling us. Atleast they were not screwing their own people. I saw what you did to that poor woman before us. Do you think this is why we fought for our independence?", I shouted at him.

"Who told you to fight? Who told you to get independence for us? We were better under the British Raj. We had better salary then. The day they left, we got demoted and all the top level jobs were given to the Brahmins. You didn't do any favor to me by fighting for this independence. I blame people like you everyday for my misfortunes, sahib", he retorted

My father stopped me before paying 100 rupya and told me not to say anything. My father was a high official in Government and did not want me to insult another Government fellow. As we moved away from the checkpoint, I turned to my Baojee, as I would call him, and said, "I have decided to leave for America. I have been offered a research position in the University of Miami. I don't want to live in this thankless country anymore". My Baojee didn't say anything.

I left India after 3 months but promised myself that one day I will return to serve my country...

I sometimes still think about checkpoint incident. Did we really fought for every people of our country? What if we were wrong? What if Britishers were indeed good for our country? Also, sometimes we people think of everything in black and white. Truth is that Britishers indeed did a lot for the country which goes unnoticed. They connected the whole country through rail-lines, they build buildings with some of the most beautiful architecture, the gave us the language of the world that has helped India become a strong country over time, they had less corruption in their rank and file and much more.

The thought of that beautiful day of 15th August, 1947, gives me the answer to my questions. Yes, we did the right thing. Yes, we fought for everyone in the country.

The sweet smell of that day, is still stuck between the pores of my lungs and keeps me alive...

(To be continued...)

The Hundred Dollar Laptop...a new technology post up @ Creative Minds


Anonymous Anonymous said...

am here!!
Have read all the parts...will comment later in detail.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

oh... i get the silver!

1:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

somehow, i felt the flow jerky in this part... though the narration of the old woman scene was good, but this part left me wondering ki yeh story kahan ja rahi hai... chalo, next part mein dekhte hain

1:47 AM  
Blogger Colors said...

This part makes me wonder what's next...
I hate parts! why dont u post the whole thing all at once? Well..atleast post the next part soon!

12:45 PM  
Blogger The Bhandari's said...

:) waiting for next

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the two part at one breath :)

hummm so trying to show the real India and the people who stay here....

"...mumbling something about the dahej of her young daughter." is very touchy and emotional part. But you know what this reminded me your one of the post "the cope taking Banana at last" reminded me.

The narration of the story is good and turning a quite interesting. Next kab? jaldi post karo....

11:08 PM  
Blogger Fuzzylogic said...

Hmm..interesting turn of the story.But it does resonate a lot with my thoughts too.Would love to read the rest.

7:26 AM  
Blogger faith said...

uii.. again to be continued..

enjoyed that old woman part.. but kahani mei zara twist hai.. i read to twice to figure this out loll :P

next.. next.. aage chalo :P

looks down at word varification.. jeez its so :( grrr

11:16 PM  
Blogger Kishley (Dolly Sapra) said...

Freedom is uncomparable.. true but with a lot of responsibilities :)
It was a very nicely revealed thought that goes beyond any decision we take even in simple matters.. And this was one of the most crucial and the BEST decision, and with a lot of doubt and discomfort for a lot of people involved..
I am still wondering where is this story leading into?

11:28 PM  
Blogger sadikbhimani said...

hey rick.. i just thought abt visiting friends blogs today... I saw a story on urs and ill be honest and say tat i dint at all feel inclined to read thru... but then i read a few lines... and then another few.. and then another few... n i will confess tat i cudnt stop!

Tat was beautifully simple rick... hw did u come up with somethong like this... although if I had to analyse, I wud say I missed some portraying of details.. but doesnt matter...

but hey... i ll come back to finish the story.. wht happens.. does he settle in America or comes back?

8:27 AM  
Blogger Marlee said...

Ricky, read Part II n III. U got me intrigued...how long before the next bit?

8:31 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

mehak - Yes, I will wait for your detailed comment.

anks - Yes!! :D

Thanks for the constructive criticism. I changed a sentence or two to make it more smooth. Keep watching.

colors - LOL!! Aree usme mazaa kya aayega. We have to think about sustainability of posts too na. Break ke beena mazaa nahin aata aajkal kuch bhi padhne/dekhne ka :P


10:51 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

bhandari's - It's up.

juneli - Thanks!!

My that post was a funny look at things but you are right it was about the same topic but from a different perspective as corruption has now gone worse and so it seems funny.

Aapka hukum sar aankhon pe :P

fuzzylogic - Thanks!! Is it? It's posted :-)

10:54 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

faith - LOL!!

Thank You jee. Chala gaya aage, tum peeche ho :P

LOL...ha ha. Aapko tang karne ke liye hee daala hain...khi khi

kishley - I agree. Thanks!!

sadik - Nice to see you Sadik. Thanks!! I am flattered. Yea, maybe it is lack of time on my part that I am not analyzing everything in too much detail.

I will wait for your comments. Thanks again. It was a nice surprise to see your comment. I had to re-read again to confirm ke that's you...ha ha

marlee - Thanks!! It's up there. :-)

10:59 PM  

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