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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Why The Boundaries?

Dear Amitji,

“.. history is filled by incidents similar to the questions that arise .. the desire to capture another, to rule it, to take away its glory and wealth, to subject it to systems that are dictated, not by your own, but by them that are alien ..We, species, made boundaries .. we designed limits and borders .. we stated ‘theirs’ and ‘ours’ .. we demarcated the fence .. the fence defines limit .. ”
(DAY - 3059)

Sir, this is, perhaps, your most thought-provoking post, appropriately posted on India’s Independence Day. The questions you have raised are relevant for any period of time in history and have remained unanswered for ever, or if attempted to answer, the replies only reflected the viewpoint of the invader, the victor in the wars, without ever trying to know what went on in the mind of the invaded. Sir, I’m reminded of my history teacher in high school in Lahore, Jagan Nath, famous for writing the best selling book on history for students, The Golden History Of India. He said the ‘greats’ in history are not the ones who really were great, but became to be known as such after victoriously invading territories beyond their own borders, the greatest example being, Alexander the Great. His invasion of India in 326 BC, during his ambitious campaign to conquer the entire known world of his time, and ending the campaign in India and returning without reaping any rewards of the invasion, remains the most bewildering mystery for even the biggest of historians.

Sir, it is, perhaps, the most  perplexing irony of Indian history that Alexander, who came all prepared with well equipped huge army to conquer India could not achieve his most ambitious mission, and yet the British monarchy who never invaded India or even intended to, ruled over the country for over 200 years, and so easily. It has been said that the British Empire was picked up in a "fit of absence of mind."  Nowhere was this more true than in the case of India which gradually came under British rule, not by the efforts of Britain's government, but by those of the British East India Company, founded in 1599 by a group of merchants in search of nothing more than "quiet trade."  However, circumstances would thwart these peaceful intentions, and over the next 250 years the British would find themselves more and more in the role of conquerors and governors than traders.  Things came to a head with the Great Indian Mutiny in 1857.   The  mutiny developed into a serious rebellion that the British finally managed to put down.  However, this was the final straw as far as the British government was concerned, assuming direct control over India in 1858 and eventually dissolving the British East India Company.  Just as one British queen, Elizabeth I had signed the charter forming the British East India Company some 260 years earlier, so another queen, Victoria, signed it into extinction. For the next ninety years, direct British rule would prevail in India.

Sir, the concluding part of your quote - “..We, species, made boundaries .. we designed limits and borders ..” -  brings to memory the most beautifully written and melodiously sung song from Abhishek’s movie, REFUGEE (2000):

Panchhi nadiya pawan ke jhonke, koi sarhad na inhe roke... (2)
Sarhad insano ke liye hain, socho tumne aur maine kya paya insan hoke

With regards and best wishes
Tilak Rishi


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