And then we spoke in tongues that chose us.
So here I am, speaking the tongue of my coloniser. A coloniser who would just mimic the polity of that time, albeit improvising a bit - all the while struggling to hide a smirk while he slowly, but steadily, undone the dignity of my so called motherland. The motherland, for certain was divided. And as divided as she was, and her sons certified philanderers, a misled ruling class with grossly misplaced priorities - was a sitting duck for the coloniser ever in a reconnaissance mode.
See, the laissez-faire was a system fair to the ones who advocated it. And also, there is a visceral charm to this proposition - a system where you could afford to rise with just the ‘streanh’ of your guts. If Robert Clive, the motley clerk of humble origins could climb up the corporate ladder and metamorphose into a consummate general and proceed to buy seats in the British parliament, any tom, dick and harry - including the illiterate cobbler’s son - could afford to do so! Such was the tempting scent of this meritocracy that when the call of duty came, even the rajas would form the backwaters that would collect the storm and ornate treachery in the pristine stretches of a great empire.
Oh, how the bankers conspired to get Siraj decorticated. One could easily blame the incompetence of a tarpaulin that chose to fly with the west wind. And of a nourishing monsoon - long powered the Arabs - but would wreak havoc on the armies of Nawab - would then simply refuse to rain after two decades - killing millions in the fabled famine of 1770s. All these while the Rajas where busy drinking and whoring away in the dungeons of their own making. Oh, these Rajas would later be neatly cleaved into Hindavi Rajas and Moslem Nawabs by later day historians - but to my discerning mind, albeit a bit inebriated by drinking from the deep well of India’s cultural past - many a Rajasaureses will keep tucking their heads out from the graveyards where hundred thousand Indians were killed for being born in a particular religion.
You see, the killing fields of Punjab and Bengal. Of Noakhali and Lahore - as the grim reaper overworked with a bonus perhaps - to harvest all the souls died in vain fuelling a later day green revolution. Of the women raped and the fields sown with blood mixed with semen of many a men who were themselves lost. Of the fields in which a lot of kidnapped marriages were consummated. Of hapless women who chose to live with the kidnappers than go back to a life of hell in their native villages across the Radcliffe line. Of new lives sprouting in their battered uteruses. Perhaps a quiff trammeled for many a decades till their new husbands from a different religion died of Asthma, but they were left to the vagaries of old age. In a sudden attack of neural convulsion, in the shabby allies of old age where youth is rediscovered as a copper coin from empires long buried making a sudden appearance in our backyards. These old women - Hindus or Muslims their adult lives, thanks to their faceless kidnappers turned love of their lives, would finally rediscover the meaning of their childhood religious dictation. Amidst the schools of sons and daughters they spawned despite the lack of a formal banana slip education.
A thick smog has enveloped the heart of northern Hindustan. A lung, a salubrious one, is found hanging on to the Wagah border. But it has travelled across from the dusty dawns of Chabahar, slowly gliding over Quetta and Karachi, pirouetting over Rann of Kutch, then tracing its way up through the stratosphere - all the time respecting the Radcliffe line over which Indians and Pakistanis will tear each other’s heart out for dinner - perhaps lunch even for the want of sobriety - and then go back to their lives uner the shade of a god/goddess/godzilla that will never come to their rescue when the goons set fire to the railway coaches on that fateful day. I have no clue of what they will do when the gas cylinders explode in their doorsteps and the members of parliament are dragged into the street, branded to their religion and then put to death. This lung that will be charred travelling across the most polluted cities in the world - Delhi, Lucknow, Patna all the way to Dhaka - mocking these hindustanis who can’t solve a pollution problem but thinks very high of themselves. Sigh!
Honestly, I have no clue. You see, both the countries have inherited a railways and some rudimentary industries left behind by a failed empire. Sane men and women have advised them to stay away from fighting and build up the lives of millions left behind. But still, when the rapacious capital would alight on their shores, looking for mere depredations, they would happily offer their necks.
But this isn’t about the neck, but about that pair of lungs which was pirouetting over the salty stratos of Karachi - a stone’s throw away from the Mumbai shore, yet so far away for the lines that textbooks and TV channels have drawn over the sub-continents populace. Of bellicose large bellies that feed from the cesspool of martyr’s blood carving up niches for elite stagers of fake encounters. Of a Zia flogging journalists and of men wrapped in cow’s entrails - of magenta skies and turquoise blues from which horizons upon horizons will sip the chagrin of a failed civilisation.
Yes yes, across the Himalayas, perhaps a natural border, are men and women with flattened noses and spatulas which evolved into ready pinpoints. And when they make love, as insignificant as the conception in a chawl in Mumbai, many more humans are spawned and later released into the wild. To fight, to tear noses, eat ears and relish the tender flesh from flagrant cheeks of rotten corpses. The question is not about humanity, but about the strategic depth that a new satellite can achieve when the infant mortality rates are clearly rising from the want of a PDS that failed - of a fingerprint that mahua ate and the very same fingerprint that Aadhar failed to verify.
As the children of the same god rotting day by day, no man from the Twitter-land will alight as a champion of this emaciated kid. Perhaps a god’s own land will be erected in this soil tired by the ceaseless exhortations, but the faithful shall line up and march to the sacrificial altars as lambs with tridents - of Chinese plastic, for all of patriotism should be perfectly blended with pragmatism of the age.
Oh, I am still speaking in my colonisers’ tongue. I don’t really care. Neither should you. For whole of this world belongs to me; as a man, a woman and as a child - all rolled into one. This voice will fade and die for sure, but my grief shall permeate your soul and penetrate the sanctum sanctorum of your sacred nation - if not a nation a mohalla, a taluka perhaps. But you see this - a human shall never be left to die. For if even one death cannot be atoned, think about the thousand broken souls that will rain upon you tonight. And how their shredded viscera will engulf your mawkish cries. And that is when the spittle missile shall go one whole round across the globe and fall right on the top of your head.