It is not always that I am depressed, living in India. With all the faults which I have been enumerating and boring you all with, I have one major reason to be happy. I have freedom of expression. I can say what I want without fear of reprisal. I can also live the life I want to live. Being a born Hindu helps. Neither the state nor the religion forces me to conform. I can dress the way I want, eat what I like, drink what I want, visit or don’t visit a place of worship, I can criticize my gods for their follies and still live fairly peacefully doing what I want to do.
I have Muslim patients/friends who have close relatives in Pakistan. Pakistan is India’s sibling though many in both countries want to deny this fact. People share lot of common features and most of north Indians and Pakistani’s are from the same ethnic stock. India chose the democratic way of governance [or non governance] whereas Pakistan chose Theocracy based democracy. This did not work and over the years the decline of governance and domination of religion over democracy has become overwhelmingly oppressive. Descent is dangerous and nonconformists pay with their lives as it happened to Mr Salman Tasser, governor of Punjab, who was killed by his own body guard. Worse, there were celebrations and the killer was hailed as an upholder of Islamic values. Frightening, isn’t it?
My Muslim friends here are happy to be in India with all her faults. So am I, when it comes to final reckoning.