has been difficult for me this time around. I have tried to
fall in love again, but it didn't happen. I don't suppose it
ever happens, with countries or with people, when we ‘try.’
I felt obliged to try because I was in love with it before,
and because it is the place of my emotional roots. That place
of my childhood lives in my heart now as an emotional abstraction,
an imaginary number, such as the square root of negative one.
is racing towards something, I know not what. Various claims
to superpowerdom, economic booms, world class competitive edges
all fall flat and sound like so much hype orchestrated by a
few -- for a few. The benefits are largely for the few living
it up in posh flats in city centres, and 5-star resorts in Goa
and other beaches. The cost of such growth will be borne by
every poor child for the next 50 years, in the form of mind
boggling air, water and earth pollution, and staggering poverty.
India's rich history of architecture, religion, intellect, music,
art, mathematics, spirituality and multiculturalism all mean
nothing as they are eclipsed by the one main system of belief
that money is God. Money is the one most important item of worship.
This is of course true everywhere, but only India has temples,
mosques and altars every 20 meters, adulating everything from
Christ (in Goa) to Shiva, Kali, Islam and so many more. Only
India has the fantastically profound and explicit philosophy
of transcending materialism. Philosophically, theoretically.
Not in practice.
Taj Mahal lays like a humongous breathtaking jewel, in a city
of unbelievable dirt, pollution, chaos and open sewers. I would
trade all the monuments and buildings of India, all the gold
and jewels of India, transport them away in exchange for an
ecologically sustainable economy where every human being has
enough food, shelter, education and protection from abuse: verbal,
physical, emotional, mental, and sexual; an India where there
is breathable air, recycling, clean water and land enough to
grow pure food for everyone, locally.
pollution that I have been objecting to stridently in my postings
is a metaphor for the incredible neglect that I have seen human
beings have for one another here. If we cannot respect each
other, there is little chance that we can respect our earth.
While there is a huge amount of love and attachment to children
in families, I have seen them by in large be treated with disrespect:
hit gratuitously, yelled at, pushed aside, laughed
at, scorned, in the community by strangers, but also within
families by parents and grandparents. The archaic education
systems condemn them to days of rote learning and horrendous
fear-mongering by teachers ready to physically punish with a
ruler and ridicule the child in front of everyone. This is terrorism.
humiliation and trauma are not consciously inflicted, but that
is the result. It is just the way things are. No one seems to
think that there is a discrepancy between loving your child
and ignoring his psychic pain. And so it is with animals, spouses
and the earth, all treated with equal amounts of insensitivity.
As many of my Indian friends have said, it is a disconnect that
happens when you are thrust unceremoniously from village to
city in search of wage work, robbed of your land by a feudal
mafioso that rapes and tortures you if you object. This is all
compounded by living under colonialism for hundreds of years:
the Moguls, the British and now globalization; self esteem is
so low it's hard to measure.
got time to do anything but survive, which is a priority for
the vast majority of people here.
is not about comparing India with Canada. I can list what ails
Canada, easily. This is about my experience here. There is no
race for first place or last place.
India is a big wounded, bleeding family with open sores. It
hurts. It really hurts. It hurts so much I want to run away
to wallow in my own brand of soma: Life in Canada.
there is ‘resilience’ amongst my people. Yes, there
there are thousands of dedicated intelligent people working
to change things in India. Yes, there is hope. Some hope.
hope that the big change comes before too many people, animals
and the environment have suffered unnecessarily and die horrible
Kali Yuga (The Age of Darkness) can't finish
soon enough for me. Come on, the new age. Come on, the big change.
Come now. My door is open and I will gladly be your handmaid,
more about India, go to Anita Roy's