The Flight To Freedom

If there’s another place where I wish to be reborn, it would have to be somewhere in Europe. Somewhere peaceful like Scotland, Germany, Sweden or even Italy. England, however, doesn’t fascinate me much. I like the romance associated with these places. It would be fabulous to be a part of their culture and experience it as an insider.

And what’s more? I think I just found a way as to how this dream could come true in this very lifetime of mine.

What I have thought is to write something that hurts the sentiments of the very vocal proportion of the ‘common man’ of India (note the use of the inverted coma). Now, now, I am a modest man and I give credit to where it’s due. So Taslima Nasreen can take a bow, meanwhile I will remind you that some scratches of the applause could also be reserved for Mr. MF Hussain and for our ‘SIR’ Salman Rushdie!

I admit that this idea should have come to me pretty early if I am such a genius that I claim to be. I knew of the Mr. MF Hussain debacle and always knew about Salman the ‘Fatwa’ Rushdie. And to add to my critic’s arguments (that I am not a genius) even all those bombshells beside Mr. Rushdie couldn’t inspire me enough to come up with this brilliant idea long ago.

So Miss Nasreen, take a bow again…you have achieved what others haven’t been able to- make me think!

Anyway, enough about them. Let’s analyze my plan now. What I plan to do is write things which are deeply offending to the sentiments of the common man in my subsequent articles. Some “common men” will definitely fall for it, make clang-bang noises, instigate a few riots here and there, then the Government will step in and thus would be paved my route to Europe. Thank god, the common man isn’t Voltaire who seemed to believe that…

“I disapprove of what you say, but I shall defend to death your right to say it.”

He could have posed a serious threat to my plans and strategies.

And now the biggest question of all…what do I write on? I can’t paint sour apples, so the MF Hussain is out of question and painting naked gods might just result in a few physical injuries without any long term gains (possibly I would be too hurt to leave my bed for years let alone India)!

Writing was the obvious choice. However, a novel would take too long and besides, everybody does it nowadays (create controversies through novels). So I am concentrating on short pieces. I had thought of doing my own take on the Ramayana but after the recent ABVP row, the epic has lost its novelty!

But yes one thing is for sure. Religious sentiments seem to be the best target. Our “common men’s” faith seems to be so weak that every other person’s anti religious comments hurt him/her. But again credit is due to our ‘common man’ and his vocal cords. They are so strong that the Government has no choice but to chase away or force the ‘offenders’ to run away from this secular and liberal piece of land called India.

Take Taslima Nasreen’s case for instance. She first took refuge in Kolkata after being banished from Bangladesh for her anti-Islam writings and comments. However, how India treated her was even more shocking. She was first chased away from Kolkata when a few mentally imbalanced and unemployed people created trouble and then supposedly tortured by the Government of India by being kept in isolation in a safe house and not given medical attention when she needed it. And now she has left for either Canada or Germany to lead a stress free life and will return to India only if allowed to reside in Kolkata.

What do you think? Should I too, write something on how the Hindu religion is not all that goody-goody after all or something more sensational and sexually explicit about our Gods (33 crs. to choose from)? But then again I have decided to rather write on the saffron clad bearded people with the big tikkas on their forehead who are lovingly called the saffron brigade by the media or their Muslim counterparts- famous for issuing Fatwas at the drop of a hat! After all, if it’s the ‘common men’ I am after, why not attack them directly.

And as for Miss Nasreen…chalte chalte, meri ye geet yaad rakhna…kabhi alvida na kehna, kabhi alvida na kehna…

Purav Goswami

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