a.s.: Not intended to hurt anybody's religious, national, nationalist, pesudo nationalist sentiments.
I am an average Indian woman, a Catholic Christian who loves her country and religion equally. Why I use the word 'average' here is to say that I am not rebellious. I am what others would term me as "Sick"ular. I was born in this country and I take equal pride in that, like every Indian does. I take equal pride in my religion which I profess, within the confines of my conscience and my domicile. I do not gloat about my religion, nor do I stupidly shove it on anyone's face.
This sadly was a free country, till the lotus started blooming. The Bhakts, Bhakras and the trousers DO NOT signify Hinduism. To me, the lovely Vembu akka and her husband Azhagiyanambi in whose house I crawled and I salivated are Gods. Sankari auntie and her Diwali sweets always have a special place in my memories and so is our neighborhood Bhai's biryani for Ramzan. I never had to differentiate between Maariammal who cared for my brother as a child or Maria amma who was our domestic help for ages. They all are fellow humans. Not a step above, not a step below. I have been taught to treat everyone as equal. Sadly, most households have failed on that.
I have been to temples and I can recite Gayathri Mantra as any Hindu does. I celebrate all festivals, yes, I am 'sick'ular. I have read a few Suras and I can understand the journey of Abrahamic religions and no thanks, Mr Zakir Naik, I DO NOT need your help in understanding the Kuran. I find myself living in a nation whose collective conscience has hanged Afzal Guru. Please DO NOT jump the gun here. This word has been 'imbibed' in the judgement of Supreme Court in Afzal Guru case. Neither do I glorify terrorism nor do I promote anti-nationalism when I say Kashmiris should be given the right to decide on their nationality, I am only reminding us of Nehru's stand on the issue as he himself has promised the UN on Kashmir.
We hang on to the issue of Kashmir as if it is a lifeline, a bone of contention with two neighboring countries, only because of its strategic border location, unmindful of our army men subject to inhuman conditions- all for pride. The pride that the nation belongs to you and me and we would protect it at all costs, be it the lives of 800 men who have laid down their lives. If raising slogans is 'sedition' then how should we name those instigating the minorities and students raise them? I feel unsafe in a country where I was born and I am right in every way when I blame the RSS and ABVP.
Call me a traitor, call me a 'sick'ular. I am tolerant. I have been tolerating the pesudo-Hindus and their pseudo-Hindutva for a long long time. So I am 'sick'ular. When the free thinkers, social activists, students, writers and creative people are termed 'Chinese and Russian stooges', then we all are equally guilty of having 'free thinking'. If free thinking and questioning the establishment is 'anti-national' then I am sorry- I am 'aunty'-national! I am still proud of my country and my religion and I shall silently await the next elections to show my 'sick'ularism.
- By 'aunty' national ;)