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Children of a Lesser God…

November 16, 2014

Chacha Nehru and his rose…

This year on Children’s Day, I have seen enough of Nehru bashing like never before in my life. An avid BJP supporter, i still can’t help wondering whether this is any systematic attempt at demonizing the Nehru-Gandhi legacy. Sharing a less-damaging link here compared to others that have come my way(!) ROFL !!!

http://krishna.org/prabhupada-and-nehrus-incarnation/

No one says Nehru was a saint. We all know him for the ‘womanizer’ he was (!) (i am basing my contention on certain info’ on his lifestyle gleaned from … internet, where else?! – read of his numerous affairs, illegitimate children everything!) – but  is the word ‘womanizer’ the right one. I would like to say, every human being is born with a different metabolism, different appetite. Would rather think of Nehru as a romantic! Excuse me he was not a rapist and women who fell for him fell for him because he swept them off their feet lolz – well that’s how I see it! And you can hardly blame the man for that! Now since we hardly have a public figure like him in real life (given the drab unexciting nature of our menfolk(!)), looks like we do not want to give Nehru the kind of concession, credit and adoration he seems to deserve! Try I might, I am unable to hate this man, sorry. May be he was spoiled, but I am curious about him always. Nehru became a widower at a young age. He was lonely. That reminds me of another sulking lonely man of his times Jinnah. Such a cynic! Sometimes I wonder what if they both had been ministers in a same union cabinet. Jinnah, cradle-snatcher, married someone half his age. Nehru atleast courted mature, willing women. Gandhi – well he was a phenomenon!!!

In any case, please lets leave someone’s private life alone. Its sickening to read that Nehru probably died of STD. It is also immaterial to me whether both of Indira Gandhi’s sons were fathered by the same man or not. Be it Jayalalitha Jayaram or Narendra Modi, I want to respect someone’s sense of privacy first – unless ofcourse he/she would like to make a public disclosure. What Nehru did in his bedroom is not an issue with me. What he did in parliament is.

I am new to ‘Twitter’ and I already regret being here for the gossipy world it is. The private life of those in public life is not for us to discuss in the open. In last 2 days I have been following up on a celebrity break-up. What must the couple be going through. If we find others’ misery juicy, what does that make of us than sadists?

Well, we have an idea about Gandhi as well – and what all was going on in his ashram… Since ashram life is public life, and since Gandhi is hailed as the father of our nation, I guess the general opinion is, we can subject him to closer scrutiny. Very recently I came across a bunch of his letters that looked like oozing with emotion, love – for Meera Ben? On the otherhand, is it not also sometimes wise and imperative to maintain a certain ‘decorum’ for the sake of our younger generations. Citing role models could be mean more responsibility than playing up unimportant offences. We have to bury some bitter things and sometimes it is better if things are left unsaid.

Edward Snowden is on the run precisely for this reason I guess. Where should we draw the line when it comes to ethics in journalism, political life, media coverage, hacking or whatever. There are boundaries that are better not breached. If nothing is taboo, then what is sacred, where can we repose any faith in.

Why should anyway one lose sleep about Gandhi or Nehru now, 65 years after India’s independence. We have had a lot in past of which we can make no amends… If we want to start, we have to start with Ghori and Ghazni.

Now that internet has thrown open doors to truth and more truth, let our children make their own discoveries the way we have done. Let them derive their own inferences.

I like it always when we come to define Indo-China border problem: that we leave it to the future generations to resolve, who will pass on the baton to the next and so forth. Sometimes if you think about it, you will realize this is what keeps us going. This is the way to go about it. To confront is easy, it is stalling that is difficult. 

One cannot turn back the clock, and we know we are in perpetual trouble presently because of Nehru’s inefficient socialist policies and miscalculations and wrong judgements in political governance of the nation. I hold him largely responsible for the situation we have at hand in Kashmir today. Because of Nehru-Gandhi clan, India has been subject to dynasty rule masquerading as democracy for decades. It started with Motilal Nehru who promoted his pampered son with grand designs. His generous contributions to the congress party helped his mission. Lame man Gandhi was totally captivated. Nehru championed daughter Indira’s cause openly and vigorously. Starting with great grandfather Motilal Nehru, with Rahul Gandhi we could be seeing the 5th generation of Nehru-Gandhi family. Nehru’s period is under microscopic review like never before in history. A lot of things he did was wrong… but in Indira he gave India a steely strength. Father and daughter did lay a strong foundation for the nation… It was a time when India was still raw and young and wounded. Somehow stability and self-esteem and confidence building mean more to me over fickle, fragile economic development in a hastened fashion…

Sardar certainly would have been a better choice for PM … Still I view Nehru like a neutralizing factor. We needed quiet thinkers over aggressive pushers then I guess. Well, that is my point of view. Nehru and Indira between themselves ruled India for a whopping 35 years. Corruption and red-tape became commonplace but what a rock solid footing the duo gave India. Nehru to me is the ultimate dreamer. A romantic. We are seeing nations floundering all around us, having not had a headstart the way India has had… We never pause to count our blessings now do we?

Nehru still got India to centerstage of the world. His non-aligned movement was historic. His book ‘Discovery of India’ is a best-seller until today. What a multi-faceted personality. I would rather its Nehru than Patel when it comes to PM First Time for India, come to think of it!  Nehru represented a flamboyant upbeat India – an India full of radiance and positive energy. And Nehru perhaps solved the crucial/intricate succession issue saving the nation from a grave crisis? At that point of time, that was what India probably desperately needed? A consolidating leadership? Outstanding Statesmanship? I am asking a simple question here: was RSS or BJP ready to deliver when it mattered in 1950s or 60s?

http://www.indiaheights.com/2013/08/67-years-of-independence-5-mistakes.html

http://www.indiaheights.com/2013/08/gandhi-did-not-allow-patel-to-be-prime.html

Through all of Jawaharlal’s blundering escapades, did India also not enjoy peace and stability in Nehru era. Nehru cannot be blamed alone. Book the old man Gandhi first.  Gandhi gets immunity for the reason he is the father of the nation. Okay, lets not get into the debate again. Patel the Bismarck of India – is someone whom I fantasize about… .like I want to know where we would be today as a nation had Patel been our first PM than Nehru… 

And BJP has nothing to do with that. This is something not even our text books taught us about. This is something about which we have passionately debated in our history classes until class 10. No teacher of mine glorified Gandhi. To the contrary our teachers were kind to Jinnah.

I remember this from our school days: the heated discussions on partition when we all blamed Gandhi and Nehru for division of the country and never Jinnah. This is where our school system succeeded I guess. The theory they tried drilling into us was evasive and vague but our teachers were smart. They encouraged all schools of thought. One of the nicest things I like about our boards is that, they seemed to believe in universal goodness. The bad guys were glorified (!), the good guys were underplayed, unrepresented – in order to restore and maintain an order of social balance? – but has truth remained suppressed forever? Truth like water, finds it own level, will seep up the surface. I have mixed feelings right now about our school syllabus.

But when my son was in highschool I remember asking him about India partition. He said, ‘what about it?!’ I said, ‘do you guys not debate over it? we did so religiously, passionately from class 6 to class 10 in almost every single Indian history class.’ And he said, ‘we discuss it too and can’t be more relieved for the partition! Ma, I can’t believe we were one nation ever with Pakistan and Bangladesh. We adore Gandhi and Nehru for what service they have done to us, and this Jinnah – what a man he was, what a visionary!’

I was stunned and saddened at the same time by this change in ideology within a generation gap. For decades, it was otherwise. The partition issue itself did not hold my son’s generation’s interest I could see. Their generation saw and continues to see Pakistan like Finland, Korea or Venezuela. The emotional disconnect is complete, well almost. The children of today are born almost half a century after partition. Just the way Pakistanis cannot come to terms with their Hindu ancestry, the sad truth is Indian kids today want to believe that Pakistan was never once India. They are reluctant to acknowledge a shared ancestry.

It brought me a kind of realization – like how with time, our kids have broken the chains that held them fast, have liberated themselves free…. They carry no baggage.. They are able to look at Pakistan from a third party point of view. Whereas our generation inherited our parents’ legacy, the Nehruvian ideology if that is what it is, and we were not bold enough to let go of things….

But then why should this surprise me. In a CBSE English Prose text book I was teaching my son from (I gave him homeschooling upto class 2 in Malaysia), there was this lesson on Gandhi: it illustrated to kids,how Gandhi failed in maths, actually scored a zero in a test, things like that. How he hid and ate the forbidden meat etc. The book was a Frank Bros publication I guess – standard referral. It left me breathless – it marked a change in treatment of our political/national leaders and history to an extent in our school text books. I can only guess that this was an attempt by the textbook publishers to make Gandhi sound ‘human’ and ‘accessible’ to Indian children. Their projection of the father of the nation was practical thought. Instead of making him lofty, they made him ‘easy’ and ‘attainable’ – someone who was normal, prone to mistakes… In that 1.5 page prose lesson, hardly there was a word in praise of Gandhi. Rather it was a Gandhi of many slips and trips in his boyhood! Atleast congresswalas cannot lay the blame for the syllabus at BJP’s doors. Because the book was published in congress period, before BJP assumed powers in 2000.

Er,,, I hope this doesn’t land me in soup – but I think Godse was late by many years! I don’t regret partition of India, I only feel its incomplete. I wish India had been declared Hindu Rashtra in which christians and muslims enjoyed equal rights and are equal citizens but where a uniform civil code applies to everyone. We have a moral right to want a Hindu Rashtra – we have been a Hindu nation for eons and we are going against our grain thanks to mindless conversion. Hindus face quickest extinction than anyone else which is a logical explanation for wanting a Hindu rashtra. A Hindu ideology is our best self-defence. I think the kind of pseudo-secularism we have in India today is the root cause for the complex issues we have got ourselves mired into. Good examples are the Haj concession we extend to Indian muslims and Muslim personal laws we have for the minority – enforcement of which must cease with immediate effect (wishful thinking hmm)! Secularism has come to mean majority bashing in India. We are comparing ourselves with advanced secular nations like UK and USA. Tell me oh the pseudo secular intellectuals of India, do US and UK have separate statutes for different communities – like muslim personal laws, christian personal laws, hindu personal laws and jewish personal laws?

Still.,,, dear BJP, let the bygone be bygone, and please do not make ‘vendetta politics’ your top agenda.  There are more pressing matters to attend to. How about nation building first. Rise above pettiness. Prioritize. Bring in the necessary amendments and legislations and good governance  – but follow due procedure. Explain things with logic. This nation has given you a 5 year mandate – lets make it 10 if you go about it right…. then let us assess your progress report…

I recall the peaceful ’70s and ’80s – and I loved India for the quiet place we were in that age … Madras especially used to be like a big village, nothing more… In personal life I met with severe turbulence in my teenage in 1980s yet I am aware of the kind of rosy childhood and adulthood my friends enjoyed then. They were all happy families. I could still savour a lot of good things that came with those years given my conditions …. I and my friends are product of the ’80s somewhat. Our parents belonged to the Nehruvian-Indira Gandhian era.

My parents for instance owned neither a phone nor a car or scooter. But i remember the times they would go for pictures, beach, temple etc either by walk or by bus – we lead a very sweet, happy life in our neighbourhood, the value of which I realize today, a bit too late. It is a time we will never get back in our lives.

Once upon a time Diwali, Navrathri and Birthday meant new clothes. Now we shop for clothes round the year – even online. This is how far we have travelled.  Are we happy?

So we have all want in this 2014 – but is there now the quality of the ’70s. Where is the simple happiness and eagerness of waiting anxiously for weeks, months for Diwali clothes. I really long for such an innocent laidback lifestyle. Did Nehru really romanticize poverty. Life philosophy has been like that always I guess. We Indians are materialistic only from very recently…

My mother’s generation grew up adoring Chacha Nehru. It was a time when his private life was not in public glare like it is now.

Gandhi was never a man I liked or respected. Gandhi and Nehru together did India in in certain ways. But it is better if BJP tries to rectify what has gone wrong with this nation than start doing post-mortem of things over which we have no control. The past lies in the past.

Looking back at the rear view mirror is important. But it must not side-track you to the extent of you losing your way, your perspective.

I have no problems with RSS. No BJP or Hindutva or VHP guys brainwashed me either. We are in middle-east for many years. We have christian and muslim friends – yet I am saying this: had there been something like RSS or VHP all those centuries back, an Aurangzeb might not have happened… and who knows even a Pakistan might never have happened… What did Krishna tell Arjuna during ‘Geethopadesam?’ Gujarat to me is the best Hindu retaliation.

I saw the Gandhi picture in my school days but it failed to move me. Gandhi followers please publish a detailed work on what all was going on in ‘Sabarmathi Ashram’. Including all fine and intricate HONEST details. Not for inclusion in text book syllabus ofcourse! Any research paper?!

I can add You Tube videos and links here for villainizing Gandhi, but I am thinking of family security aspect! I am after all a jobless housewife who is blogging for pastime.

I liked the film “Hey Ram’ by Kamal Hassan for the way he justified Gandhi assassination. Very bold of him. Again I am not sure if it is right to put all this in social media like this. Should I be making this post invisible?!

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On Children’s day, my heart goes out to all special children, and their parents in equal measure.

(I am late by a day or two?! and squarely off the mark?!)

There is a spurt in children being born with birth defects in last 10 years – the reason for which can be attributed to drastic changes in our regular food habits among other things.

Its the duty of every parent today to explain to his/her daughter/son the ill-effects of consuming carbonated drinks, junk food etc. All this have a detrimental effect on our metabolism, reproductive system, quality of eggs, sperms etc.  Now resorting to assisted reproductive techniques like IVF is like getting over-the-counter cough syrup in Chennai/India. Ladies, please cultivate patience. Bringing a good and able life to earth is more important than rushing up and putting forth something half-boiled, half-baked which can result in life long misery and punishment for the newborn as well as the mother.

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), Infertility treatment – all this is like a double-edged sword to be handled with care. I know someone who after years of infertility treatment found herself with breast cancer. She had to choose between the two and she chose her life. I can give minimum 3 names all of whom I know/knew personally in this strange context. I lost a friend to breast cancer who i guess was also seeking treatment for harmone imbalance for years before conceiving her children in her ’30s. May be or may be not there is a connection.

I am seeing a couple of cases around me where the young mothers were pushed into seeking infertility treatment when they’re not even 35 years old. I blame the parents for the undue pressure on their daughters/DILs for this. I am seeing an autistic kid 7 years old, a CMV virus infected baby born with birth defect that was not picked up by foetal scan, and another baby that is getting convulsions every single day since its birth. The second and third ones are just 1 year old.

The mothers are suffering far worst than the babies. In my prayers these days, I am asking my Mother Goddess to bless this nation with ‘good sons and daughters – healthy offsprings.’ It is very distressing to see physically or mentally challenged children raised in some homes. My mother taught speech and hearing impaired kids until the last day of her life – so I got used to phyical handicaps/deformities very early in life. Still, nothing prepared me for autistic kids or spastic kids like I am seeing today. I lose all faith in God when I come across one.

Marital discord slowly creeps in the relationship between the parents in homes where such special children are born. The guilt factor or blaming each other for the child’s condition is the reason. I  know of a mother who also is into severe depression and who has attempted suicide many times.

Bravo grandparents who actually talk to the children, tell them stories, take up the challenge of raising special children,  run after kids with their joint pain and cardiac surgeries… They needn’t be doing this, but they are doing this – and grandparents’ love is such a gift…

I am seeing how such a selfless sacrifice by grandparents who have enormous patience is working miracles in an autistic boy’s life. From an impossible condition, the boy is now getting into ‘normal phase’ gradually – day by day. Which is like a miracle. The little boy was diagnosed with autism and ADHD when he was barely 2. The mother could not come to terms with reality. The parents were in denial predictably. But the grandparents with all their wisdom, stepped in. The grandmother who has had a couple of major surgeries, would not let the little boy lapse into his ‘private’ world. Would bombard him with questions. Teach him rhymes… Prise words out of his mouth … which were not forthcoming…. because the little boy was not even verbal then… he was precariously poised about this abyss sinking in each day…. it was not his parents who had the courage to pull him out and lift him up to the world to feel the sunshine, rather it was the grandparents who brought him out and safe distance from the edge of the dangerous precipice he was carelessly perched about….. Where is the time or energy for the parents who are working professionals? Even now it is not easy to hold the boy’s attention. He gets restless in no more than a split second. The grandfather who also has had a couple of major surgeries to his credit would not tire of taking the boy to activity classes and park and beach… Finally the hard labour is bearing fruits…

Now there is the ray of hope… not only is the boy talking fluently in last 2 years, his speech is coherent. He is asking questions, seeking answers, reasons with things … which means he has broken out of the closed world of autism. He is still a bit repetitive but doing better and better, catching up with his peers…. the day when the boy can attend a regular school is not far… right now he goes to a special school.

Chennai has a good set-up for special children. It is in a way representative of the kind of situation we have here which makes me sad. A friend from Dubai says India is a much better place to bring up special kids. The kind of activities we have, the special schools we have etc are something we cannot find even in some very modern cities of the world. We are better equipped, we have excellent, trained teaching staff which work to our advantage. We are not at par with US but we are making good with what we have which is commendable.

TV is a one way communication – nothing harms an infant more than tv or mobile phone or notebook. Talk to your kids, mothers. Ask them questions and demand answers. Facebook, Whatsapp – this is all for women with grown-up kids like those of us in our ’40s. We have done our bit and our children are in universities. Not for young mothers okay?

The best investment one can make in is in one’s children. The best investment a nation can make is in its human resources.

Young mothers today lack the kind of patience that our seniors possess. They are impatient to conceive, ready to try any steroids prescribed, do not care for physical gratification or pleasure that comes with procreation and reproduction, and wouldn’t mind IUI or IVF if it can solve their problems overnight – because its their career and shopping and fun they bother about first and foremost.  They think in short-term and never in long term. Urban India is getting out of control.  The trend is appalling. On one side we have rape as a serious crime in this country – and on the other side is our younger generation that loses interest fast in everything including opposite sex. We girls keep talking about this always. In our 40s, even now we are watching and worried about an unwanted pregnancy. Our exact opposite is the younger generation. They are into cars, cell phones, beauty routine, clothes, accessories, travel everything –  but lack the kind of craving, yearning we older women still have for normal physical, emotional relationships and life in general.  Their precious energy, vitality is squandered in useless banalities. The life of youngsters today is just like the inviting fast food they seem to relish so much. Neither serves your appetite nor is good for your health. Typical early burn-out syndrome.

Sadly, assisted reproduction is norm of the day with 1 out of every 3 married couples in the city resorting to it presently. Statistics prove that children conceived this way carry a higher percentage of risk when it comes to being born with congenital birth defects or with conditions like autism, dyslexia or ADHD or other forms of learning disability or Down’s syndrome.

All the 3 cases I have mentioned here in this post are assisted conceptions only. Shockingly resorted to when the girls decided not to wait even until they turned 35. I have a friend who had the kind of patience to wait until her 39th year before going for IVF. Married for over 16 years. When her son started KG, my son started college. So what has she lost. At 39, she had the forbearance to get her amniotic fluid regularly tested and was mature and ready for a battery of further tests every month. Her age gave her clarity of mind and she was ready to face consequences. She would discuss even the feared anomalies in her late-conceived foetus. During her 8th month of pregnancy when I called her up before she went in for caesarian section, she said, ‘last and final scan yaar. if it could be down syndrome, even now i am ready to return to square 1.’ The way she had trained her mind was impressive. Now when I call her up, it is her little son who picks up the phone. His voice is music to my ears. Fruit of enormous patience and fortitude the couple had had nurtured for 16 long years… brings tears to my eyes….

Children’s Day is not about Nehru. Yeah may be Nehru never lifted up and petted a slum child in his life. But the day focuses on kids – and children are the wealth of India. 

On this day we need not have to think about even normal children – but let us think for a moment about special children and the trauma their parents are subject to physically, emotionally, psychologically, economically…

The autistic boy I spoke about just now – his mother got into depression when neighbours prevented their kids from mixing with him when he was 3-4 years. Regular schools turned him down. So the social repercussion is one more thing we have to factor in.

Hopefully BJP will move away from petty and vendetta politics in near future. Nehru has still come to be symbolic of love for children. Chacha Nehru with a fresh rose pinned to his suit. This is how I remember him from school days. This is how the children of India  know him.  Lets not spoil the party for our children.  Lets not sully everything we believe in.  And lets believe in the best in everyone. Let us have a reason to celebrate our children – even if the excuse is poor  like Nehru’s birthday.

 

*******************************************************

Someone close to me shared this with me – someone whose life is affected because of prevailing law of the land.

 

How important this is I know. Shady clinics do it all the time but decent ones won’t. Which is why a baby with anomalies discovered after the 6th month of pregnancy had to be allowed to be born. Great distress not only for the young parents but for the whole family who knew what was coming their way. This news will go a long way in preventing the birth of such children. The whole family is exhausted, suffering I can see. My poorest baby – most special gift from God. It tears my heart when his own parents want him to die soon… wish he weren’t born….

When I look at this little bundle of life an year old, I am overcome by such an emotion. There are not enough tears to shed… Such an innocence, helplessness… I want to take him into my bosom and keep him there forever and never let him go… such an angel straight from the heavens…  And I have no words of comfort for the mother who is in her twenties who feels trapped. She was on powerful fertility pills for long. She hasn’t left her room ever since the scan report came in in her tri-semester. Its over 1.5 years since she has seen the outside world. And the father who’s just turned 30… Together the couple are children themselves… Its a heartbreaking story really.

The statute pertaining to legal termination of pregnancies must have been amended decades back. This could have prevented the birth of scores of abnormal children in this nation in last 10-20 years. How many miserable lives we have allowed to be born knowing the consequences. I hope atleast from now on it benefits the would-be parents.

Updated: Nov 20, 2014:

Just browsed this:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/After-embryo-checks-for-genetic-defects-twin-joy-for-Chennai-woman/articleshow/45211203.cms

Not surprised. Dr. Kamala Selvaraj, half-sister of bollywood actress Rekha was the first one to introduce IVF to the city in late ’70s. Looks like she is still busy as ever.

 

 

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