Monday, 27 January 2014

What if Taliban were here?

She asks herself “out of guilt” after skipping 26th January flag hoisting  

Flying high at IIMC Dhenkanal campus Photo: Ankit Gautam  
What if we were to be ruled by the Taliban? No music, no classes, no modern dresses, no studies, no birthday party. Nothing,” she was whispering to me in classroom.

“It is because of 26th January that we have this liberty of living our lives our way. I am so ashamed of skipping the 26th January celebration. And I am sorry not because director sir is scolding us like never before but I am sorry to myself. The sense of guilt is enormous. And the feeling of guilt is the worst feeling to live with.”

“After all RD celebrations are not just about sentiments. It is about feeling and showing the gratitude, for we have the freedom to live, for assurances that we would never be stopped from enjoying, reading, partying and, above all, from hoisting Tiranga,” she was scolding herself though she was talking to me.

She had to confess all this because she was among around 40 students who skipped the RD flag hoisting. We have a total of strength of around 65 students at Indian Institute of Mass Communications, IIMC.

Perhaps it was for the first time she had made a choice to skip the RD celebrations in her life. This is the impression I got while she whispered, I listened when our director was admonishing the entire class.

“There were no reasons for celebrating my birthday in the grandiose manner we did just last week. During Diwali, Lohari celebration all of us were together. Dancing, enjoying. I don't know why I could not attend this.”

“Majority of the students skipped the flag hoisting programme. It was not any sort boycott. It was just yun hi type wala thing. I was in two minds - whether to attend the programme next morning at 07:30am.”

Everybody must have reasons for skipping. But the validity of reasons in this case is relative. What may be a genuine and perfectly okay a reason for you may be just a lame excuse seen from a different reference.

Many of students remained asleep, as they told in the classroom. Loads of assignments and therefore the habit of remaining awake late night would have lingered.

Obviously our director was “really, really upset, anguished, pained”. “Where do you belong to? Half of you had told me, you “will do this, do that” for your country and society, during the interviews. Is this the way you would do all that?” our director’s questions were legitimate.

You ask “why journalism” to anybody who is in the first stages of opting for the course in journalism, most of the times, the laziest line, “I want to change the society” would be the answer.

I don’t know what she had said in the interviews.  But this evening, the guilt of not attending flag hoisting was abundantly clear on her face, in her words.  

“There comes a decisive moment when you have to choose either to be on the right or wrong side of the line. And I had chosen to be on the wrong side.”

“Surely this was the mistake which was grave. Surely it was a sorry thing. But this realisation is coming now. I have the benefit of hindsight and liberty of reflection, now. I will never skip the celebration in future,” were her words.

“But you won’t be able to attend the RD celebration at IIMC. We are living the last installment of our stint here,” I said.

“That is sad. But wherever I go and get myself associated with, I will surely participate.”