[Towards the 25th Memorial Day of Comrade Vinod Mishra - 18 December - we are reproducing this article, originally appeared in The Telegraph and from Liberation, January 1999.]
Other than politics which to me means the medium revealing the intricacies of society, I take a great deal of interest in cosmology where the universe unfolds itself in infinite space and time; where galaxies fast recede into the ever-disappearing frontiers of universe away from each other; where stars emerge, glow and explode to death; and where, quite apparently, motion is the mode of existence of matter.
Motion, i.e., change and transformation — always from a lower to a higher order — also, incidentally, forms the mode of existence of human society. No idea is absolute, no society is perfect. Whenever a society has been conceived as the embodiment of the absolute idea, shock waves emerging from deep within have shaken its very foundations. And then amidst the despair all around new dreams arise. Some dreams never come true as they are wild fantasies of the human mind, the ‘mind-in-itself’. The few which are realized are essentially abstract creations of the human mind, the ‘mind-for-itself’. Nonetheless, dreams, whether wild or plausible, have remained the source of human endeavour since perhaps the origin of humanity itself.
India of my dreams is essentially an integral India where a Pakistani Muslim won’t have to procure a visa in search of the roots of his evolution; where, likewise, for an Indian the great Indus Valley Civilisation does not fall in a foreign country; and where a Bengali Hindu refugee will finally shed the bitter memories of Dacca and a Bangladeshi Muslim will not be hounded as a foreign national in India.
Sounds like BJP? But then the BJP has only thrived upon the great division of the country — between a Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India, albeit not so ‘pure’. As BJP continues to stretch this division to extremes with all the disastrous consequences, great thinkers will surely arise in all the three countries and remould the public opinion for a brotherly reunion. And, be sure, that will be the doomsday for the forces like BJP.
In the India of my dreams, a Ganga and a Cauvery, and a Sindhu and a Brahmaputra, will freely flow into each other and the morning shall dawn to the jugalbandi of great musical tunes of India. Some statesman will then compile his notes into a “Re-Discovery of India”.
India of my dreams shall rise in the community of nations as a country which the weakest of neighbours shall not fear and which the most powerful country in the world shall not be able to threaten or blackmail. This India will rank among the first five countries of the world in economic prowess as well as in Olympic tallies.
India of my dreams shall have a secular state which shall rest upon the principle of ‘Sarva Dharma Varjite’ rather than ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhav’. While not interfering with an individual’s faith, the state shall actively cultivate the scientific and rational world outlook.
Religion, as has rightly been said, is the expression of man’s powerlessness towards his environment. Its abolition therefore demands a thoroughgoing change in the material and spiritual conditions of life where man can stand up to acquire mastery over his environment. Whenever the conservative philosophical systems have burdened the people as deadweights, there have always come up in India great reformation movements. And thus I dream of a great resurgence of rational ideas where the human essence alienated in the form of God shall retrieve itself. This great reformation of human minds shall accompany a social revolution where the producers of wealth shall also be the masters of their produce.
In India of my dreams, glorification of pariahs as dalits will end and dalits will cease to be a category. Castes shall dissolve into classes with each of their members having individualized expression.
In India of my dreams, women shall constitute 50% of representative assemblies. Love marriages will be the rule and the divorce easier to obtain. Children will not know any misery and looking after them will be more the responsibility of the state than parents.
In India of my dreams, every town will have its cafeterias where intellectuals shall have hot discussions over cups of cold coffee! There, some anguished souls can gaze through the plumes of rising smoke conjuring up images of their heart-throbs while many insatiable hearts can be captivated by the interpretations of varied works of art and literature. While no work of art and literature will be subjected to state censorship, smoking shall be strictly prohibited everywhere, except, of course, the coffee houses!
To return to the original theme, in India of my dreams, an Indian spaceship will wade through the deep space while Indian scientists and mathematicians will be working out equations integrating into a whole the fundamental forces of nature.
Finally, for me the mother of all dreams is a motherland where political liberty of each of its citizens will be valued most; where dissent will be considered legitimate and where Tiananmens of the system will be handled by the morally strong statesmen and unarmed forces of people’s militia.
India of my dreams is built upon the fundamental processes at work within the Indian society and for whose realization many like me are committed to the last drop of their blood.