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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 31, July 20, 2013

Sitting in Awe of the West

Sunday 21 July 2013, by Humra Quraishi


Development! Are we a developed lot? What development are we talking about, when there’s destruction spreading around. Not just along the hills and mountains, but in our very psyches. Suicides going up the graph, as emotional turbulences hit many more. And together with that, blatant killings taking place under those array of political shams. And those official announcements are made along a crude strain: Only two killed. Only 800 left stranded. About 20 washed away. Maybe just three raped and murdered! Are we talking of human forms! Has this so-called development reduced us to such pathetic lows that there’s no one left to cry aloud, even as we are made to perish, made redundant, dumped here and there.

And what can be termed as a scary development is the fact that superstars are going in for surrogate babies. There’s something very unnatural and terribly synthetic and very business-like about the entire process—a baby lying nestled in the womb of a woman is plucked off or, say, pulled out from that womb, to be transported on the lap of another woman. With news just coming in of Shahrukh Khan’s surrogate baby finally born and with that transported from the womb of one woman, to be placed on the lap of Gauri Khan, there’s a strange sort of feeling. As though we are fiddling with Nature’s ways. Interfering with the very basic concept of motherhood, with that mother-child bond, with the very biological process.

No, I’m in no sermonising mood. I want to simply offload to the Khans that they should have adopted several children, but they could have avoided this exercise of arranging for a surrogate mom and then pulling away that child from her. As this baby grows into an adult and grasps the details of this entire exercise, he could be more than baffled. Maybe rattled or confused, as more details could get unwrapped.

Do we go unwrapping more? Actually there’s nothing left to be unwrapped after Edward Snowden’s disclosures. Now, of course, there’s focus on his journeying towards different lands, seeking asylum here and there … In fact, it was rather naïve of this US intelligence leaker to have even thought of putting India in the long list of 20 countries he’d requested to be given shelter. Didn’t he know about India’s tilts and balancing acts! Didn’t he know that the Indian Government of the day is scared of the Western superpowers to have even thought of giving asylum to him. No, sir, we are not one of the Latin American countries, led by gutsy political leaders, to have taken the risk and given shelter to a whistle-blower/leaker. We are ruled by politicians who sit in awe of the Western superpowers. We get direct or indirect directions from them, so we dare not veto or go against their wishes, nay commands!

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