...Nowhere. I am migrating to nowhere because I do not have a country to go. My passport says that I am an Indian and my cultural consciousness says that I am a universal human being. Vasudhaiva Kudumbakam is one of the Upanishadic teachings that I had made a part of myself when I was in my high school. While studying the life and work of Dr.Moshagundam Visweswaraiya I came across this Sanskrit phrase and was fascinated. Further studies in the poetry of the ancient Poet Triumvirate in Kerala affirmed this belief that I was a universal citizen. If I say that the kind of nationalism prevalent in this country does not excite me and on the contrary goes against my fundamental beliefs as a universal citizen, they would immediately say that I should go to Pakistan.
Religion is what divides the Indians into different ideological factions. Politics comes later. Even the political parties want the people to be divided along the religious lines so that they could be added to their vote banks. I would say the people are fools as they think that belonging to a particular religion would make them more nationalistic than the nationalists really are. We, the fools are fighting over the water allocation legally done by the court of law in this country. One so called ‘Hindu’ state is fighting another so called ‘Hindu’ state. When it comes to water and other natural resources, we cease to be nationalists. Go to Kerala and try to stop eating beef. There will be a backlash to the Gau Rakshkas. One religion cannot hold people together. In India Hindus fight Hindus and all over the world, Muslims fight Muslims in the name of Shias, Sunnis, Salafists, Wahabis and so on; the Christians fight Christians for their various denominations including the Catholics and Protestants.
I would like to go to a country where religion is no longer a deciding factor. I know that in India religion is not going to fade away if one wishes it to be so. I have heard that there are European countries that are selling the former churches to make them malls and museums so that they could use the real estate for better economic purposes. But in India, on a daily basis we are creating more and more places of worship so that we could develop real estate business around that. Even if you want to run a small tea shop, the best way is to erect an idol and start worshipping it. You could be a tea seller doubled up as part time priest so that your way side establishment will not be knocked down by the authorities. An unused idol could by default create a major centre of worship today in this country.
A country that is still lacking in proper education and health care is aiming to take back in time and establish a golden time where every citizen in this country would travel on horseback or ride chariots and fight using primitive weapons, killing the brothers and sisters for land and property. We are bringing the Sadhus and Sannyasis who are worldly wise and have oratorical skills or absolute stupidity to support their claims to the seats of law and policy making and learn from there while we say that we are making board room negotiations with businessmen and policy makers from abroad. In this totally confusing state of affairs people are left more and more anchorless so that they could take refuge in beliefs that perhaps would not help them at all in their lives.
People are supposed to have economic freedom and the freedom to live a fearless life in all the walks. But in this country where religion has become a parameter to decide anything and everything things have gone wrong. The people are opiate and opinionated; they are intoxicated by ideology and are propagandist in nature. I do not want to live in this country because this country says that anything that is not Hindu in ideology or anybody who is a Muslim or from a Muslim country or even from a foreign country has to be doubted and disputed aggressively in all the possible fronts. So I want to go to some country where my religion would never be a hurdle in my life.
Hence, I searched in google for getting tips to migrate. And each country has a set of rules of immigration. I searched for those countries which are not really lucrative and are less populated because of extreme climate. There are certain initial online tests just to know whether you are eligible for migration at all. I confronted the questionnaire and answered all those questions. To my surprise I found myself to be unwelcome to most of the countries that I tried to migrate to. My education and my experiences do not count there at all. My age and health condition would further prevent me from being a migrant elsewhere. That means I am a prisoner in a country where I am not really happy to live forever.
Why and how did it happen to me or people like me? We would like to go to anywhere and would like to live. But our age, health and education are not counted anymore or they become a sort of hurdle in our migration. Had I been a skilful worker like welder or an IT professional or a doctor or engineer, perhaps they would have considered me. But I am none of those. I am art historian, an intellectual, a thinker, an anti-mainstreamer and so on therefore I am not welcomed in any part of the world. In my own country too my skills are not needed because art is something that has been becoming less important in the general lives of the people, let alone the debates pertaining to art. So that means, a professional like me is a useless person for the state because I am not teaching in a university nor am I working in a government department. I am not working in any of the private sector establishments and I am not visibly contributing to the general economy of the country. That means I am a useless person as far as the state is concerned. Above all I want the state to strip itself off of all the religious garbs, which is an atrocious demand from a useless person. I should be mad.
Now, I find that being mad is the only way to find my migration to other locations possible. A mad person has to be consigned to asylums because he/she is a danger to the mainstream society. They think differently and act differently and at times their madness could be infectious and influential. It could even make a lot of people mad. So keeping such mad people within the state could be almost like inviting danger to the state and the normal people. Hence, the state has the responsibility to cast away such people to distant lands where they would live, rot and finally die. Foucault talks about ship of fools in his famous book, Madness and Civilization, where ships are used to transport the mad, diseased, physically challenged and deranged to the far off islands so that they would create their own communities of lawlessness and perish there.
I am a migrant to nowhere because nobody wants me in their space. The religious fundamentalists could arrange a free ticket for me and people like me to Pakistan. But do Pakistan want people like us because that is also not different from India in political and religious thinking. That means I am living a life in prison. I cannot go anywhere because I am not welcome anywhere. No country including India wants my expertise or even my thought process. So the best way is to keep silence and live a migrant’s life in one’s own body and soul. Having understood this long back, I am living that today.