Tamasoma Jyothirgamaya

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 PMNov (Cinema, Friends, Media, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

It must have been around 23:30 hrs in the night, yesterday (16 October 2009) when I turned the pages of Outlook (26 Oct 2009) which I had bought the very same evening when I went for dinner. I had bought it mainly to read the article on the new film being made by Pablo Cesar on the untold love story of Tagore. After reading the article on the to-be-made film on Tagore, I turned few more pages to stumble upon the article ‘Manu over Ambedkar,’ by Mari Marcel Thekaekara.

The article is majorly quoting the Dalit students who spoke during a public hearing of their conditions. The students have spoken about how they are made to clean the school toilets by their teachers and how they are beaten if they refuse to clean the toilets, how their upper caste fellow school mates sprinkle water on themselves, to purify, if the Dalit students touch them “by mistake,” how the teachers don’t want to touch the notes of the Dalit students. Some of them also speak of their part-time works of disposing dead animals for Rs. 10.

Prakash, a student of class seven says “I need a life of dignity,” while Jayesh a student of class ten intends to BBA so that he will get a “job” and will not have to do “this” kind of work again. The article ends with the question, “Will these abhorrent practices continue for another 50 years?” and I go to sleep with the same question but assuming that it would take more than 50 years.

This morning I woke up when my mobile rang at around 6:30 a.m. A message from Madhura read: “May the festivals of lights bring brightness in your life.” Yes, it is Deepaavali today, I realize and wake up. Deepavali- festival of lights…

I went out to buy The Hindu from the market and as I keep Rs. 3 on the palm of the familiar stranger who hands over The Hindu to me everyday, I see a photo of a few girls celebrating Deepawali and just below the photo, as if to remind the proverb ‘Diya Taley Andhera’ (darkness beneath the lamp) I read the headlines “Terror attack again in Peshawar.”

I come home and see that the paper-wallah as delivered Times of India, like any other day. I bring in ToI inside along with The Hindu and start reading The Hindu first. As I flip the pages I am stopped by the report ‘The sorry plight of Khara tribals in M.P.” which is on the landless exploited Khara tribes of M.P. who are working as mine laborers. As I turn the page and scanning through the editorial, my phone rings. I take the call from my sister, who is at home for Deepawali. She wishes me a happy Deepawali and so does my mother, father, grandpa, grand ma and my aunt. Deepavali- festival of lights…

As I get back to the newspaper, I grab ToI in place of The Hindu, unknowingly. In one of the middle pages I read about a woman being flogged for prostitution in Balasore. The villagers have also video recorded the barbaric act of the 25 year old Dalit lady being publically abused and beaten. I further turn the pages and am caught by a report on one of the last pages. The report is on how Al-Shabaab, a hard-line Islamist group of Somalia has been whipping women for wearing bra. They are of the opinion that bra is un-Islamic.

When I was done with my reading of ToI, I went check my mobile which, I had heard, beeping a couple of times. Yes, as expected, the messages were wishing a happy Deepawali from friends and relatives. Deepawali- festival of lights….

Realizing that I had not completed reading The Hindu, I took The Hindu again and re-started from where I had left. Now I had something more to take. A report by U.N. has declared that one billion people go hungry. A box item said tat India scores low in anti-hunger fight. The box item concludes with a quote from the U.N. report that reads, “Hunger exists not because there is not enough food in India, but because people cannot access it.”

I guess, similarly, there is no lack of light in the world. It is just that some cannot access and some cannot afford light. But as today’s editorial of ToI said, “Light not only shows the path, it is itself a destination.”

We need to realize where to light the lamps to make light accessible to everyone and so that everyone can celebrate light… after all what is Deepawali other than celebration of light?

Tamsaoma Joythirgamaya… Shanti Santhi Santhi Hi…

17 October 2009

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