A few days ago as we remembered the murder of the Father of our nation, my mind went back to a drive through Kentucky when suddenly my eye was caught by miles and miles of stonewalls alongside the road, "Built by slaves!" said my brother and I stared at the walls.
"Stop the car!" I whispered and as I looked at those flat stones placed roughly one on top of the other, I heard faintly, through the ages; sounds of singing: Agonized, harrowing, painful, it pierced my soul tearing me apart with the sadness the words and tunes carried!
I could picture the poor blacks carrying stone after stone, placing them one above the other, stumbling, falling, getting up again as the whip of the white overseer cracked on their backs. And through it all they sang; songs of hope, of an escape through death!
Yesterday I heard those songs again and same tears that filled my eyes in Kentucky spilled down my cheeks. The voice singing those sad songs sang powerfully well and there wasn't a soul in the hall who didn't feel the agony the negro spirituals evoked. "Sometimes," she sang, "I feel like a motherless child!"
I thought of the poor child carrying those heavy stones more than a hundred years ago, looking up and crying, wondering what she had done to have become a beast of burden, when she could see white children playing carefree, she had to labor in the sun, drenched with sweat and shielded only by the way she placed the stone on her aching shoulder.
And when she lurched under the weight, the overseer's whip set her straight!
As the car started again that day in Kentucky I thanked God slavery was now dead at least in America, but tyranny reigns! Tyranny: Where cruel, brutal, elected dictators use army and police and force countrymen and subjects into acts that make them less than animals. Where a man is judged for his citizenship not by his Indianess but his religion!
Tyranny: Where like the little child thrashed by the overseer, an Indian government have police watching like mute spectators as a gun is brandished, bullets fly and wounds students, protesting for their rights!
In different parts of our country such tyranny is building up, and whips of a different kind are cracked as walls of other material more severe and harsh than stone, are built.
Such needs to be broken down. The world had men like Gandhiji who stood and fought! But today the world is being made to despise such brave men. Our country needs you to stand and make the people remember, why we are not slaves anymore or subjects to foreign rule and we need never be afraid of who we are in India!
That the overseer’s whip will never crack on us or our children!
Let us remember Gandhiji today..!(Published on 03rd February 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 06)