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Independence as it was ….

“At the stroke of the midnight hours, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. Not without a cost though……”

Mama shuffles a piece of paper into his hand and fondles it in a  frail knot  with her weak and shivering hands. 

She closes her eyes and sits back in her chair coughing.

They had planned to watch the parade in the small Sony screen she had adored till date and kept it alive through regular fixes here or there. The screen would wake up on coughing and screeching as the son would wrestle with the remote buttons with his technical mind.

“Ma, Ma, where are you? Maa ! ” he shouts now at the moment. He knew this much that she was getting old. But hadn’t expected to.. No time was the right time. Not certainly amidst their bonding moment/

 The flag brooch falls down, and a loud  crunch comes from beneath his foot. Barely audible to the recipients in the room.

She doesn’t move now. She sits there a still figure disobedient to his trying call.

No not yet…

 Some more spits and yellow phlegm. Some more hopeful coughs. And finally there is complete silence. That is Her heart stops.. Silence-

“ Maaa!!” He shakes her violently, and recoils down in sad weak cries. 

“Maa pls come back”

But she doesn’t move and doesn’t pay heed to a single word. 

Cries are the sounds in the room. After sometime, his red swollen eyes jerk up in movement. He opens the crumpled paper in his hands and begins to read it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

15 August 2021  7:00a.m

Today I  am holding a pen after 75 years to write the last time in my life. I know that I am going to die tomorrow. I just know it is nearby, waiting. My 34 year old son will be arriving here  for our celebration together. Still handsome and chiselled. Not exactly a celebration our bonding moment.

Maybe I had to be happy and smiling about it. Independence day.. Freedom.. Mahatma Gandhi.. freedom fighters! And whatnot.

No.

Today I just feel sad. Gloomy sad. Not happy. And I can see a tear carving beneath my eye.

On the 15 day of the 8 month, I was there, my childhood self.  Sullenly sitting behind in the cart. My sikh father walking behind. My mother among all the ladies…? no.

 I was working to hold back my emotions because I knew any sound could get me killed as well. Invite killing stares from the other women.

We were travelling to the railway station from  Ladakh to Punjab. I remember sleeping in the verandah with our family together and staring at the heavy black clouds carving into the air. And snippets of red bursted in night like guiding stars to traveller ‘flight.

 It was Fire at the nearby village. I couldn’t hold my eagerness to visit the river the next day. Hands and legs and limbs If luck favoured even cut breasts or a face with no ears!

We got free from the British today that time. However there is so much more to the text.

 Our Nehru ji and his Congress didn’t do enough to prevent the bloodshed. Their negotiations failed and I will and everyone who survived are the witnesses to prove them to blame for those who died!  However. Let us move on.

Among the 14 million people who had to leave their homes, the 7 year old me was one of them as well. I was inside my small house with my dad when we heard chants of Allah, and loud clicking of metals. They had arrived.

I could not see them behind my father but through the long silhouettes under the roaring fire  I could make out the weapons were sharp. Would they behead us? Would they cut us into pieces? Would they touch me after killing my father?

I didn’t know. They had the whole village lit into flames. All the houses, everything. My father gestured me towards the back door. He said he would come with clothes for me and some utensils. I was scared but he cared for me too much. He even defended me when grandfather was about to behead me among all the women before the riots.

Later when I had come to meet him after marriage we  both rejoiced in the memory of the village. I still miss my Muslim friends and wonder about their state in Pakistan. Have they gotten married too? It is just so dreadful.

I see myself crouching in the same hiding spot and the replay of  the scenes amidst laughter, in the living room. It goes like this first  my friendship with my friends to silence,  Muslim neighbours leaving in green lorries, Aarifa the last time meeting me then more riots, and my elder brother. And finally my mother.. Lovely end.

We talk about Fraternity. I say What fraternity? Three wars have been fought at the Kashmir Border and I am sure more will be fought. Revolts happen in robust show of religion ain’t they even after freedom?

Today at a time when we look at the past there is so much that India and Pakistan could have been together and the partition is now a black stain to both the countries where blood flowed in streams.  Indeed, Partition should not have happened. Cyril drew without knowing that the lines he was drawing would be lines of blood.

But a wise person has said acceptance of past can tread us into decisive steps forward.

 My mind couldn’t think about anything else today. I was scared to speak mournfully in such a frenzy of elation or hear the “Old woman is mourning again”.I wanted to write all this in my diary. Maybe this diary will go up for a historical record  or something of a partition survivor. I can be famous after death too ain’t I? Eh I just  feel happy knowing  I got  to write  the sacrifices of the real people before I died. In some way.

And finally, Jai Hind!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Typical of Ma who can think of joking on her death hour, her son thought, grinning. He looks at her mother now. She  didn’t tell him all this.

Now she looks so solemn and quiet, hands resting on her knees. Without movement. Her eyes don’t  itch as they used to when she blinked, and spoke or laughed. She is no more.

He starts to cry.

“Ma please come back na!”.

***

Partition is a grave reality. A crisis between two communities which lived harmoniously together for centuries. Ethnic cleansing swept Punjab, Lahore and the region we call today as Pakistan. Yes it is very true that we have had grave distrust in relationships due to Partition,   and it is another matter of thought. Yet today  It is not social acceptance of Partition as it happened, rather the sorrowful tragedy has become a part of exchange of swathes of debates of another intention. This was a big refugee crisis in the south Asia continent. Its impact, far greater than we can pen down. Partition shares the common nuances, to World wars,  across the European continent as well as wars  worldwide. Gradations of people ‘s lives and emotions, deaths and betrayal, trust for sometime, and revenge the next get tucked away from the original debate. Are we yet still entangled and scuffled? Accepting the history is very important to understanding ourselves as we are. Blaming it or defuncting it from history textbooks can do no good. At the stroke of this midnight hour, when this post gets posted on 15th August, we must remember that this date means independence to us, too short from the real context because 15th August,1947 was yet another day of torment for those people who survived in a fearful atmosphere.  Only torment and well

.

~ ‘partition’

~DuoDisseminators

( Kunjal.G and Khushi.M)

The DOOR

Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/RQsEN78fbSE/hqdefault.jpg

A rumbling in the bush, I think I saw a shadow

Creeping closer was it an ambush? But no it was a meadow.

A land full of greenery, Flowers and birds flirting away,

An idyllic scene it was- the rules of pessimism  broken away.

It takes all my worries, my sorrow, my despair away.

And suddenly goes aloof! as I wake up to a stare at a wholesome grey 

Grey, dark grey , ringing in my head- It always happens. ALWAYS.

Ending with a sigh of a ‘next time’ No, I  can’t let it continue this way

Everyone tells me what is right, and it is distasteful if I become me!

But not today, not today at least ! and I will change  for everyone to  see!

The meadow won’t just be a pitiful illusion , I can make it my own life

This hope and want will narrate my screams, and finally will I  thrive

Why let someone define my dreams, why declare cynics ‘ Oh lead the way’

Because now I know that in the end, It’s how you lived  life that’ll stay

Ah! This meadow opened something inside

The fire, the turmoil!- and now I won’t be confined 

After giving this test of steel and fire, I am learning to refine 

The door was always wide open, It was I who didn’t see.

‘That life is not just what it is, it’s how it was meant to stay.’

We have to see the way….

WRITTEN BY: Khushi Mahajan

~DuoDisseminators.

The U-Turn

The government had previously asked the individual states to buy vaccines from domestic manufacturers or import the shots themselves to inoculate their adults aged below 45 from May 1 onward. Many states floated global tenders to import vaccines but to no avail. Policy was actually seen as a way by the center to subjugate the claim that they had granted states their demand. As undulatingly absurd it was to bring such a forced thought in the formulation of an important vaccine policy that can either make or break when India is going through a second wave, with millions of people dying, and with shortages of vaccines on hue, it was absurd to bring in more than 60 million people into the vaccine discourse as well. The vaccines sponsored by the Centre were meant for the bracket of 45 age group, the healthcare and frontline workers. The states or citizens themselves would pay for the vaccination for another 600 million people. Now, the Centre could well off easily put forth orders to the few companies producing vaccines. This thus would prove harmful for states, who made efforts to procure vaccines, to the SII and Bharat Biotech, which had already started operating around the Central Government ‘s orders. Though, a constructive and consistent unfaltering criticism has saved India from drowning completely into shambles. The government announced a change in the old vaccine policy….

This is a similar start for many of the articles. Especially those formulated by critics of the government. When writing this, all was put what has been solely found faulty in the government functioning. Keen on dissemination of problems? Well, we have a couple of those running around laboriously. So, no.

The surge of the second wave was somewhat a result of caveats of all the pillars of importance- judiciary, media, government, opposition. Therefore, during the pandemic, all these institutions must build a transparent contact, and vitalize coordinated ideas, to control the pandemic situation. Constructive criticism must not be mandated as blames, neither blaming be mandated as full criticism. Especially now as the new vaccine policy comes up, as a welcome move, both opposition and central government, the politicians who have an overarching following must not spread unscientific incentives as a cure.

Viral videos offering cow urine, or cow dung smearing on the body are the causes of spreading of the unscience. Religious or some other reason but because of so many people and netas endorsing this idea in their tweets, addresses, this has become an indeed considerable approach for people. These are unscientific ideas that have not been proven anywhere.

Masking up, social distancing, good hygiene is the only scientifically backed incentives. We should not fall for this foe, in the hour of a pandemic which has shown us all what is true and what is untrue. What bleak initiatives could not do, a ghosting pandemic did. But figures show that ultimately the politicians are the major reliable source of information for a large number of people till date, not scientific units!

***

In the urban areas, we have seen an enthusiastic response towards vaccines. Vaccine slots would be booked quite early, so there is a spirit of amicable competition among the people to get themselves vaccinated. Not so in villages. A resident said that there is no dearth of vaccines here, but people are scared that they will fall sick and lose their daily earnings. Some villagers deem themselves healthy and fit against the virus. Is this a calloused attempt to show their contempt against vaccines? With a span of years, in the rural areas, many unscientific beliefs such as the fact that cow dung can help them fight against COVID have developed, often due to factors including religious sensitivities etc. In the past and recent present netas (leaders) dissuade the voting masses in line with their wrong beliefs, without taking efforts to change them, for their electoral purposes. Such has provided strength, to ignorance, that we can see a perception amongst the many villagers who believe that their immune system is very strong, and the virus cannot cause any harm to them. Also, as the vaccination campaigns took up pace and the government introduced ambitious steps towards inoculation, there was not a natural enthusiasm amongst the villagers, as citizens, to reap bountiful benefits of government schemes. Instead, as we can see now, there is a common question wondered by all villagers

– Illustrated by Khushi.M and Kunjal.G

                                           ‘Will COVID vaccines kill or make me impotent?’

How do we answer such a simple yet perplexing question for us? We need to understand that these people in villages are not challenging the medical science, or the quality, sufficient evidence regarding vaccines. There is an underlying fear, one which took years to conceptualise. There are a lot to think they might die after taking the jab or a lot thinking that inferior quality vaccines are being sent in villages while good quality vaccines are being given among urban masses. There is a long period that led to the conceptualisation for this kind of mistrust towards the government. 

Therefore, public institutions need to be transparent with these people. We cannot force them to get a jab and poof! but can localise examples from their own villages to look up to. Local authorities in Bihar have been offering villagers home appliances such as fridges and fans and even gold coins as incentives to boost the vaccination turnout. And what better if communities can step up. In Meghalaya religious figures have started spreading awareness on the same and people will follow them

Addressing vaccine hesitancy in rural areas, would also require the government and health officials to be patient with them and understand their fears. Also, an analysation of the responses can tell that awareness programmes must be engaging not ceremonial! The villages and their people must feel important, and that their views matter, away from the perception that these communities are easily exploitable. We must at last, ensure honesty with them, because as we can see no one fancies lies and manipulations. We must truly treat them as citizens of India whose views matter in policy building. 

And last question to all our dear politicians. Why not do robust nationalism on vaccination as well? Is it too much to hope now again?

W – Will (No one forces you to get vaccinated you must step out according to your own will. But think of the pandemic. Keeping mind that at a time when no one is sure of when the pandemic will end every person who gets vaccinated helps us move closer to the normal life)

I – Instant (On their own the vaccines will not shorten the pandemic; they will affect only once communities receive them. Immediate inoculation = Faster recovery) 

N – no delays (Some people are still waiting for more people to get vaccinated but they forget that waiting too long to be vaccinated allows the sneaky virus to continue hello-ing in the community. The Delta guy remember!!?)

Coring the WIN agenda to not just elections or to one ideology but sparing some time for vaccination may actually save your dear time managing statistics and the no. of deaths. It will actually help to get a quicker shorter smoother victory. A normalisation of hopes, elections. And most importantly it will save

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Actually, nothing JUST EVERYONE ‘S UPENDED LIVES!

~ DuoDisseminators

hey all sorry we couldnt post as we were busy with exams and competition. So, what do you think about this post?

Please like comment and share. and Vaccinate!

The Training..

Illustrated By Khushi. M and Kunjal.G

I will feel afraid, yes, stepping into the new, knowing that they won’t be there to caress my head all the time if I stumble and grapple to stand uptight, as I take the step. But deep down I realise that I need to detach to learn and live. It will be a testimony. That is the hardest part, and well that is the absolute training...

THE TRAINING.

Oh! That time had arrived, 

When my frame was not so little like a child

To fit snugly into the closure of the warmth,

And be the one safe and unharmed.

Fear though precepted in the blue eyes.

Which widened like an innocent child

Thus, closed my eyes beavered,

With your final glimpse, I took my momentum

And pushed myself into the unknown blue.

Unconscious of what I will end up

I was drowning, and I remembered

The last time you hugged me

 Some  moments ago.

I shrieked the words badly,

To be in your warmth again,

I grieved harshly to be,in this cold.

I couldn’t though continue the feat,

For dangerous water had filled up my mouth

 So, I closed it to control and breathe,

Just as you had told me,

And from that moment it became clear

That the training had begun.

And I couldn’t retrace my path

To the first time I took the plunge..

~Written by Kunjal Gupta.

~DuoDisseminators

all opinions even contradicting are welcome😊

Accelaration/ Retardation

– Khushi.M and Kunjal.G

We got a circular today . I opened it hoping that it would be of some event or something but alas! It turned out to be our datesheet for the mid-term exams ! 

Later that day when I opened my science book to study for the same, I started to smile . My mom entered the room and looked here and there perhaps in an attempt to find the thing that could make a person like me smile.

So I picked up the article  lying near my bed with the headline 

“ COVID – 19 the evaluation of all “ 

I think my mom didn’t get the reason even then because she looked at me with a confused expression. 

You see, since my past 9 years in school I have never been a big fan of assessments (none of us is) but this time there was an undisguised  proof that there are so many tests throughout life.

This year every person- be it politicians, decision makers, parents, and even labourers have  given a test. It gives a sense of relief that students are not alone in giving examinations because now I know that we are being graded at every stage of our life. 

The difference is  in school we are graded only by teachers but in life there is never a limitation on who has the permission to judge us. Each of us are being scored every second, every minute everywhere. In fact when any of you read this, you will even form an opinion on what has been written.

This year, some countries barely passed it to procure  control over the spread, and there was an early celebration. 

We can very well blame the authorities but we can’t hide the every person who didn’t follow the instructions or the protocols like the back benchers in the class who usually disturb the peace and quiet and who take disregard of  the teacher’s each and every statement. 

Also As always there are plenty of people who judge who condemn but only a handful of us who actually step forward. 

And this time, there is a need of the people to follow instructions. Opposite from the perception of an upthrust desire of unruly opposition to them.

We need those who do give their raw needed opinions and make the public duly  aware of the caveats , who criticize , but those who especially step forward to control the spread of the pandemic as well. Be it in their own ways and beliefs.

Why am I emphasising on the word ‘NEED’? We are in a bit of shortage

Back to my exams, we have the chapter motion in our syllabus, where we learnt about acceleration and retardation. 

Acceleration is the change in velocity according to time right?

And retardation is nothing but acceleration with a negative sign. 

Apparently life is indeed an application of what we learn in school.

Because it turns out that in reality also there are two types of people who bring changes in situations ( velocity )  according to time .

Type 1 : Those who are involved in quickening the process of improvement and change (acceleration) 

Type 2 : Those who are involved in delaying or slowing the process of improvement   In other words people with a negative sign ( retardation ) 

I am not classifying you as type one or type two. That is for your take, and only on you.

But again Acceleration? Or Retardation

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock ………….  Time is up. Chapter revised.

-Khushi. M

DuoDisseminators

Towards Making The Common People Unique

Dear politicians and candidates,

I am a 70-year-old voter. As my hair turns white, and wrinkles begin to form on my face – I have started to realise that each wrinkle means a different perspective of this prospering nation. My wife died 10 years ago. She was a politician. When she was on deathbed her last words put a responsibility on my shoulders to ensure that her position would not be misused after she died. She had witnessed her near and dear politician colleagues falling into the trap of corruption, but she always emphasized that there were many aspiring and progressive politicians as well. She often complained “not all politicians are the same”. She was very disturbed by the wrong image formed in the people’s minds, and the trust that the citizens keep losing in their leaders. I ask you 10 years later, has anything changed? Have you changed? 

It is true that  playing a game of words, you sway voters and the common people with your sheer empty promises, and when you get elected to the seat you may or may not efficiently work to look up to all of them.

The future of the whole country lies in your hands. You all are our leaders, symbols of hope, listeners of the impoverished, and helping hands to the traumatised.

The public anticipates that you will do the quality of work, which may not have been done there through years.

You influence and light up the hopes of many of your supporters. 

However, our hope has now wilted: today ‘s scenario delineates how the good gets easily overpowered by the corrupt and evil. Although the world has seen arrogant, unscrupulous politicians there have also been great visionaries like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mahatma Gandhi, Barack Obama who despite travelling a common political journey with political misfits, had a common struggle to find a prominent position, to voice their ideas. Yes, they struggled but they preserved their faithfulness to their aspirations to some extent and succeeded in making a change they had envisioned.

Politics is thus, not about forgetting the golden aspirations you once had before entering politics, moulding yourself to a changing set of circumstances, and then ultimately taking “convenient” routes of corruption, hypocrisy thereafter.

Politics is a medium to initiate change. I wonder whether politicians and officers took their posts to bring a change or to be changed? Back then when I turned 18, I was so excited to give a vote in the elections. But now as the years pass by, I have seen that elections no longer produce the same appeal among our hearts, no longer mean a sense of pride and responsibility that this time we would make a better choice. Some have even lost hope that any politician, be it of the ruling or the opposition will listen to us, once got elected. “All politicians are the same” people say.

“They play politics, we just have to vote for a bit better one”, a shared feeling among many voters.

“So, do people of this generation need to feel more confident in their representatives?”

This is a question that perchance only you can answer best We have seen more than once the discontent of people and even the frustration of leaders. Having had a companion of the same profession, I now realised why this happens – our lack of acceptance towards dissent.

But, being a representative is not just about enforcing your aspirations, is it?

It is like having vowed yourself in a wedlock to a job, where you will have to get used to dissent, protests, defamation against you. But  when you, politicians  will actually  connect to people like a listener, and understand their uncertainties, no sooner people’s fear will soon diminish, and trust will refinish. 

The nation necessitates a leader who talks on substantive issues. Who talks about ‘their’ issues? Not ‘world class issues’, but the most important ones that affect them severely like gender inequality, poverty and many more.

So, even if the leaders address masses of people, standing on a higher stage  and overlook the people in height, they should not  overlook the uncertainties. Rather they should listen to the people in any possible way; be it dissent or acceptance. After all in independent India and all democracies around the globe, an individual is called to be the most important person of the country, right?

Now, there is an urgency , to switch to the idea of ‘by the people for the people and with the people’, be it an easy or hard walk. It is not late. The aam janta (common people) has always been dealt with as ‘common’, why not make them feel unique by taking note of what they seek?

We do not ask you to be fluent, we do not require you beautifully dressed, we just desire a charismatic, self-regulated, confident representative.

In the coming elections and thereafter too,  I can just hope that the politicians and leaders become a compass for the drooped  hopes and desires of the aam janta!

                                                                                    ~ An optimistic voter