The Absent Indian

I get it.

I was you. I was also a middle-class, middle of the road, rule following, who-me-rebel? kinda guy.

I believed, like you, that I don't have to be the fastest deer in the herd, I just have to be faster than the slowest deer to survive.

I believed, like you, that some (most?) battles are not mine to fight. Paradoxically, I also believed that when the right battle came, I would be ready to fight that battle.

I believed, like you, that the government, almost axiomatically, should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to law enforcement.

I believed, like you, that grand overarching ideas, like natural justice, the rights of man as an individual, or the right to free speech had been satisfactorily resolved and were not under threat.

I don't believe any of that any more.

The battle between me and the slowest deer in the herd is not for a job which pays 100k versus one which pays 75k. It is about the right of the slowest deer to survive to see tomorrow.

Every battle that I ignore is one which weakens me individually and undermines the kind of society I want to live and thrive in. I will not be ready when my battle comes because I will be alone. On paper, today's battle may not be mine per se but if today's battle affects principles I care about, the onus is on me to assist the fight in any way I can.

The government is not automatically right. They may have the support of the silent majority but I don't have to silence my conscience by wilfully ignoring their actions which I may otherwise consider unconscionable.

Ideas like natural justice, protection of the weak, opportunity for all, or the right to free speech wither on the vine if they are not nourished with the waters of our periodic reaffirmation of support for these precepts.

The average Indian escaped the ravages of the great wars of the previous century. We were never sufficiently challenged to decide where we stood on the principles on which today's society is predicated.

That abdication of the average Indian's responsibility to rest of humanity cannot continue.

Each of us has to look within to understand that the time to go along to get along, to assume that others will solve our problems for us, to believe that society's foundations are essentially unshakeable is long past.

We have to stand up against what is wrong in the world today. And there is plenty wrong with the world today. There's Israeli apartheid in Palestine. And the unfathomable demonization of the already weak and oppressed minorities and Dalits within our own borders. The planet's health is under threat because of exploitative capitalism. The normalization of state sponsored lying and propaganda in democracies like the US, UK, and India needs to be fought.

Pick your battlefront and raise your voice in support of principles like natural justice, equality of man, basic decency towards one another, proper stewardship of the planet, the primacy of an objective truth over relativism, and so on.

The Absent Indian
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