“For why would I comply with him when I barely know what the Classic was really like”. I had just finished the question which was rather on relying on an interpretation of someone else’s about someone else but even before I could make myself clear I had been meekly told by the professor that this was not something his research was about and therefore was the wrong person to ask. Months went by but the questions went on increasing and the replies were getting fewer and fewer and then there were none. I and the system were standing after each other.Barely being able to understand it wholly, I was clueless, in a dilemma, an intellectual pessimism and somewhat perplexed for I did not know what I was confronting. Later did I realize that it was not something small but the whole order of things that I was questioning about, to which there were no solutions but just opinions, that too of varying degrees.
Coming from a rural background I had barely been able to get to terms with the Metropolitan facts that “See you’s” were rarely meant and people (most of them) were manifestations of a larger principle called “Real Politik” i.e acting on the basis of self-interest, cooperating where interests meet and diverging where they do not. Now this “System” and the nexus was too heavy a burden for me to take. Nevertheless, I had no option, for once you start inquiring, maybe there is no looking back.
The reality that manipulation of histories , changing of curriculum’s , appointments of professors , the working of a rather “feudal” academia , the functioning of Executive, “committedness” of Judiciary , repression of tribals , violence on the Dalits , farmer suicides , the system of unequal exchanges , and the feeling that it was all happening at the same time had made me ask questions in a loud deafening voice , a voice that later silenced me too , like the ones whom I asked.
The Plato’s “Sun” gave me a ray of hope but I was to wake up everyday to make sure that I study so that I can prepare for my semester exams which would further ensure that I get a good job.(referring to Plato’s allegory of the cave where “Sun” represents the ultimate good and the cave represents the real world of people which is in ceaseless flux and the one which we live in.)
My questions were full of paradoxes, like life. They were complicated too, like life and rarely had a denominator, like life. I was to wage a war in my mind against this compartmentalization of reality, of the subjects, of the Academia, of life, but again I had other battles to win, like I told, of getting a decent job. Waging this war was a luxury that I could ill afford and here too, it was not the only war, there were many, like the ones I mentioned before.
I realized that all these years of my graduation I had ceaselessly moved from one standpoint to another , participating in the movement for “free Kashmir” to the agrarian crisis in Maharashtra , from the desire to join the profession of civil services to get acquainted with the “system” to that of taking to journalism so as to expose the nude reality of the vulgar world. I have been standing for different things but I was never paid much attention to because I was the dissenter, and unconventional voice in a rather conventional world, the Socratic gadfly who is marked as a heretic and his opinions as absurd.
But I was too busy to realize that I was getting annihilated. Now early morning rang the alarm bell and my sister sweetly said: “भाई उठ ज्या तड़का होगया , नहा धो क पढ़ ले” (Wake up brother, it’s morning, wash yourself up so that you can study). Here I was, back into the real world, maybe not so annihilated.
But I remember my favourite professor telling me that “Glory lies in the struggle”. So why to get sad, let us cheer up!