‘ഇന്നു മുപ്പത്താറുകോടി മനുഷ്യരു –
മൊന്നാണൊ,രേ തറവാട്ടുകാരായി, നാം.
ഇന്നില നാളെയും, നിച്ചലും നില്ക്കേണ –
മെന്നല്ലി ചൊല്ലുന്നു, യാമതൂര്യാരവം!’
These are lines from a beautiful poem titled ‘ഏഴു വയസ്സ്’ (Seven years old), penned by one of the greatest Malayalam poets of the 20th century, Vallathol Narayana Menon. He was widely known, among other things, for his assiduous nationalism in his poetry. This particular poem was written to celebrate the completion of seven years of the Indian Republic. For those followers of my blog who are not able to read Malayalam, the gist of the lines is that Indians should stand as one big, united family not just today, but forever.
Against the backdrop of things that are happening around us today, these lines have tremendous significance. The India of the 1950s was a land of great hope, a passion founded in the unity of our diverse cultural milieu. The India of 2016 cannot be called so. We have been constantly divided by petty differences, nationalist sentiments, sycophancy, forced ideologies, and what not. It’s a sad state for a nation with such a rich heritage.
The concept of one India is in danger of being eroded as is Vallathol’s visualization of one large Indian family. Indianness should be second nature for our countrymen. Indianness is not belittling other religions or harboring enmity towards Pakistan. Indianness is indirectly but beautifully described in the Preamble to our Constitution. Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity – that is Indianness. If we adhere to the Preamble in word and deed, we become Indians. It is as simple that. Instead, we have forces working at cross purposes to derail this.
Somewhere, we have lost our India. We need to get it back on track. And that can be possible only if we are inspired by the lines of Vallathol. That is the relevance of the poem and its lines for today’s generation. We are really blessed to have some beautiful, inspiring lines written by stalwarts which can inculcate immense pride amongst us! If only we could channelize those thoughts into action!