Clean we must what must be cleaned. And also the cobwebs in the dingy attics that seem so far away - as if in a remote abandoned house in some fairy-tale or a painting. There is something so immediate and so within about these seemingly hidden spaces that makes them come alive like the bizarre events in a painting by Bosch. The slithery, not fully formed yet complete in an evil way thoughts, lying beneath the cobwebs are always ready to devour another - as if the only purpose of their existence is wiping away the existence of every other thought, both within and outside one’s head. We certainly have a lot to clean.
Every little weed needs to be weeded out. Weed, the unwanted and dissimilar plant that sprouts amid a planned crop in a farm. For humans it is something like a lower caste / class person hanging around in an upper caste / class revelry or we trying to claim our existence in the midst of another culture or ethnic and lingual congregation. The weed is usually plucked away, so the farm can maintain its manicured, mono-cultural look and provide only what the master desires. The forest however has no weeds. Everything co-exists. It may not look as planned as a farm sprinkled with pesticides, but that is where life flows and grows.
Our love for clean and nicely laid out things is evident in our human farms as well. For example let’s look at the high-rise farms and tightly packed slum farms where different grades of humans are planted within spaces that define their worth. Each breed has a separate space with every member subscribing more or less to the same thought. It won’t be long before all behavior gets mechanized into well-practiced drills that will follow what has been injected into each head. What a peaceful society it will be then. No conflict at all because there won’t be another thought to fight with. Just one clean thought, one structure, one caste, one class, one people in one space and one master to rule and think for everyone. He will decide how to live and you live like that. You will be told when, what, where and how to eat. Follow the drill and you will be allowed to exist. There will be no dissent for there will be no space for it. In other words, no weed shall ever grow in the human farm. The clones will be peaceful and tolerant to their brethren with no need for interacting with another breed of clones.
A journalist was recently manhandled in New York by an educated, progress and development loving, tolerant crowd. The world knows that tolerance has been our virtue for long. It is there in our books. It is there in our history. Just look at the partition of India. The reports of a few hundred thousand murdered, raped, maimed and missing, and the ensuing hatred till date, is a minor collateral damage that some journalists took fancy to because they love creating stories.
Our tolerance towards crime against women is also well known. Recently when a teenaged Dalit girl was raped by some upper caste boys in a village (place it wherever you like and it is likely to turn out true) the tolerant village authorities, the important upper caste gentry and even the police tried to convince the Dalits to be tolerant. But they decided against that and have been protesting for last two years, even when the boys involved have been granted bail. They must learn to tolerant and accept a peaceful way of life. One should not stand out like a sore thumb or a weed amid the cleanliness-loving people. We know a weed must be plucked out and if that requires force, then so be it. The nation must be kept clean at any expense. How else will we march towards a super-power status otherwise? Poverty, hunger, homelessness, discrimination etc. etc. can be dealt with once the cleaning and weeding is done. Meanwhile, those who clean the toilets and gutters must continue to do their task quietly. Ofcourse, they need to stay away from the clean and tolerant people, in their own separate quarters - the slum and ghetto farms.
Text and Photographs: Parvez Imam (Copyright-2014)
(Un-edited Version - Published in my column in Financial Chronicle on Oct 03, 2014)