Refuge 1


Some of the best Literature in India came from the displaced persons yearning for the homeland they left behind as refugees in India. It is also a fact that it is the refugee in India who made spectacular successes of their lives. But then it is not only India, but a global phenomena.

When I read about the 14 year old Ahmad Muhamad hand cuffed for building a clock and showing it to his teacher of English who reported him for building a bomb, I thought well, naturally the Hungarians will use water canons and tear gas to keep out refugees. Ahmad is the son of an immigrant from Sudan who had run for President in his homeland. Apparently after driving a cab in USA as a refugee he is now starting on a taxi service or something a little more upscale.

And I thought of the anthem of our generation ‘Imagine there is no country …no religion too’ by John Lennon. If Assad has been propped up by Western powers, it is they who should be blamed for the IS cremation grounds and killing fields of Syria. And it is only right that these nations should take in those who flee Syria. Or get rid of Assad. And the IS which of course will start a World War.

A new wave of cruel intolerance is sweeping across the world. Be it a bad teacher who has a 14 year old handcuffed or immigrants or refugees attacked at the Hungarian border. Be it a BMC order to ban meat or meat banning in several states of India.

Rabindranath Tagore had exhorted all to open the windows of our minds and allow the winds of change to flow in. Our India had constitutionally declared the celebration of difference. But where was this celebration in evidence when persons are killed because they say idols should not be worshipped? I recently went for my favourite vegetarian meal (I enjoy my vegetarianism) at a place of worship. Before I could enter the lift, the lift man challenged me, ‘Bolo Ram naam’ or to chant the name of Ram. I stepped firmly in and the man was silenced by my refusal to react.

One woman’s meat is another woman’s poison – yes, so it is. But to stop all who enjoy the poison from doing so is another feature of the intolerance that has gripped our world. Be it Hungary or the little boy dead on the beach. Be it teenage dreams handcuffed. Be it meat bans, or thought bans, or freedom to enjoy our freedom … Each one of us must try to end this intolerance and enjoy our differences.


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