On the cusp of adding another year in my life I find myself, uncharacteristically, sitting idle at my clean-as-a-whistle office table. With little else to do, one’s mind does tend to wander. So today I very consciously gave it a free rein, allowing it to meander along down my 67 years, picking up little bits and pieces at random, piecing them together into a mirror for me to peer into.
The reflection I see has left me thoroughly confused, wondering whether it was my education which was flawed, or am I stuck in time while our nation has moved on?
Becoming a boarder at a tender age of 5, through my eleven years in Bishop Cotton, our universally relevant school motto, Overcome Evil With Good, was practically etched in my mind, becoming almost my middle name. Oh yes, I’d have happily gone through life, dispensing with the “Singh” and instead being called Gurrinder Overcome Evil With Good Khanna.
The confusion now, when I am almost 67 years old, stems from me trying to once again define, identify and separate the ‘Good‘ from the ‘Evil‘.
During my formative years and all the way through to quite recently, those two characteristics were stark and easily identifiable. Most unfortunately, not so any longer. Our “democracy” today has brought us to the now when, I for one, am left groping in the dark, trying to understand what happened and actually questioning my own upbringing. Am I now going to have to re-educate myself into believing that I am different to ‘them’? Am I? Different – how?
We need to pause. We need to rewind and go back to thinking with our own minds. Not with the minds of others who would try and overturn years of education and rational thought. Maybe we now need the second coming of one who was the unborn nation’s lodestar and guided the founding fathers with words which today have much more relevance then at that time when he, in Gitanjali, penned them down more than a century ago:
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Is anyone listening?
(Gurrinder [Indi] Khanna)