A letter to the powerful


The Powerful


Dear Sir and Madam

This is to bring to your kind notice that I have always been but one amongst the many, one amongst the faceless, one amongst the powerless, the commoner.

I grew up in restrictions, learnt to sing our National Anthem while standing straight and motionless, head held high in a crisp and clean school uniform. I grew up disciplined like all others of my breed, us the followers, and us the grateful lot, for reasons I failed to questions.

At a very early age I got acquainted with hierarchies in power, whether at home, school or my parents’ workplace. I was conditioned to obey, and once I was bestowed upon with the esteemed black badge with “Monitor” written over it, I immediately got conditioned to make others obey. No one trained me for this, it is almost second nature.

I saw my parents work hard, live simple and love others. Exemplifying humility and genuine concern, they set for me standards of good and useful living. They are for me the most impeccable specimens of human kindness and alas suffering. For to be good today, seems almost a vice. To not be manipulative seems almost a shame. I feel foolish for I learnt this too late.

As a child, like all my peers, I adopted an indifferent attitude towards politics, not because I did not find it interesting, but I found it frightening, threatening and overwhelming. I chose the safest path, tried not to fight and was unnecessarily apologetic to the entire world, for even breathing an extra breath.

You know why?

Because I did not have power. I had lost my courage. I did not have a bodyguard, I did not own a gun and even if I would have I would not have had the heart to fight with, let alone kill someone who might kill me. I have not learnt to dominate. I have not learnt to have my way no matter what. I have learnt to think what would be the best for everyone, I have learnt not to ignore the needs of others, I have learnt to compromise on my own self, so much so, that today I strive to locate my true self. I am lost, lost in the sea of other non existents over which you conveniently sail.

You must be wondering why I am blaming you. Why shouldn’t I? Will you solve my problems? Will you make me safe? Will you do anything about every common person’s daily misery? Then how do you assume that position, that aura, that power? Who gives you the right to sleep in peace when others lose theirs in fear?

I am a woman. I cannot walk on roads feeling safe. If a man would harass me, I will be further harassed by the amazing police force we have, who knows some people might make videos of me and put up on internet. People will shout their guts out on social media, just as I am doing right now, news channels will have content for an entire day, but then what? Will you be able to take me back in time where I was not harassed? Will you make me forget what I suffered through? Can you bring back people who die? Who get burnt? Who commit suicide?

Can you stop the police from being so non callous? Can you assure safety to people who are threatened by goons? Can you stop the buses that run without tickets? Can you save the farmers? Can you build the roads? Can you assure employment? Can you educate children? Can you help us live? Can you bloody do anything at all?

No you can’t…

You don’t…

I hate you, you, the one with the power.

I took to arts, thinking it would give me solace, and peace would give me courage, and courage would give me power, it did not. I thought a poster could change the world, it did not. I thought words would influence, they don’t.

You! You with the Lal Batti, You with the office, You with the nameplate, You with the money, You with the influence, You with the Goondas, You can influence for good too you know! And once you do, you will feel great in front of your mirror, trust me. Have you ever seen yourself in the mirror? In the ripples of water?

Come to my side and live my life, come and feel my frustration, my anger, my helplessness, my hatred. Perhaps you did at some point, perhaps that is why you came here, but somewhere you know you now lie to yourself. You run from what all you can.

But as I write this, venting my anger on you, I also feel that even I can. Even you can, you the other commoner, we should, shouldn’t we? Should I lose my faith just because I am but wronged? No, not my faith in you, you the one in position, but my faith in us, us whose lives are affected, us who have been accepting everything in silence. My outburst is not ill-founded, I cannot remain silent anymore, I will die of suffocation.

Perhaps they will come, them with intentions other than mine, they might want to silence me, you might want to scoff at me, do so, try all you can, but I refuse to live in the adopted body of a muted doll. I am a woman, I am a human, I have inherent power, not one that can display badges and trophies and certificates, I have the power of my will, my intentions, and my doings.

I promise to not let go of this power and declare you powerless until and unless you can also find your true capabilities. Do something worthwhile, you’ll have a better sleep, I from now refuse to rest.

Best Regards

How does my name make a difference, my actions would…

more read: http://kafila.org/2012/03/02/three-stories-of-resilience-from-gujarat-ayesha-khan/