MY TWIST WITH DESTINY

It is Maharashtra Day and at a Shiv Sena Rally in Shivaji Park, a young idealistic worker has been given the honour of addressing the crowd. But as he begins to speak, he sees the folly of his ideals and the speech he delivers is considerably different from what he had originally scripted.

I request my reader to go through the original text of the famous speech that Jawaharlal Nehru delivered to the Constituent Assembly at midnight on 15th August 1947. It is crucial that you do so before reading the Shiv Sena worker’s speech, but feel free to scroll down directly to my take-off on Nehru’s oration if you find yourself getting bored.

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Jawaharlal Nehru’s original speech:

“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others.

We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell. The appointed day has come-the day appointed by destiny-and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed! We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrow stricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings responsibilities and burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined people.

On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation [Gandhi], who, embodying the old spirit of India held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us. We have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest.

Our next thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death. We think also of our brothers and sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good [or] ill fortune alike.

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy. And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service.

Jai Hind.”

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The Shiv Sena worker’s speech:
Long years ago we made a tryst with the VHP, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not partially or in half measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the lunchtime hour, when the police sleeps, Maharashtra will awake to strife and martyrdom. A moment comes, which comes frequently in history, when we step out from the bold to the grue(some), when an age ends, and when the soul of a mob, never suppressed, finds violence. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of decimation to the service of Kalanagar and her people and to the still larger cause of profanity.

At the dawn of publicity, Balasaheb started on his unending quest, and reckless decades are filled with his striving and the grandiosity of his success and the Congress’s failures. Through good and better fortune alike he has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the bigots which gave him strength. We end today a period of good fortune and the Shiv Sena discovers itself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunism, to the greater riots and ravages that await us. Are we brave enough and dumb enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the destruction of the future?

Freedom and power bring irresponsibility. The irresponsibility rests upon this party, a sovereign army representing the sovereign people of Bandra East. Before the birth of understanding, we have ensured all the pains of intolerance and our hearts are glad with the memory of this happiness. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of peace or reasoning but of incessant striking so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of Thackeray means the service of his minions who cause suffering. It means the ending of property and acceptance and ease and equality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to draw every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are no tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

And so we have to labour and to wreck, and wreck hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for Uddhavsaheb, but they are also for the BJP, for all the shakhas and gangmen are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that they can live apart.  Peace has been said to be divisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can always be split into isolated fragments.

To the people of Matoshree, whose representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with sticks and stones in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and constructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming other Thackerays.

We have to build the noble mansion of free Marathi-Rashtra where few children may dwell. The appointed day has come – the day appointed by desperation – and the Shiv Sena stands forth again, after long sledging and struggle, awake, vicious, free and independent. The law clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the threats we have so often made. Yet the turning-point is past, and violence begins anew for us, the violence which we shall live and act and others will write about.

It is a fateful moment for us in Matoshree, for all Kalanagar and for Lalbaug. A new star rises, the star of competition in Shivaji Park, a new threat comes into being, a nightmare long dreaded materializes. May the star never rise and that threat never be realised! We rejoice in that freedom, even though scene-stealers surround us, and many of our people are unemployment stricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings irresponsibilities and luxuries and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and undisciplined people.

On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Party, who, embodying the old spirit of Hindutva, held aloft the torch of genocide and darkened up the lightness that surrounded us. We have seldom been unworthy followers of his and have never strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their fists of this great son of Maharashtra, magnificent in his fear and strength and daring and arrogance. We shall never allow that torch of genocide to be blown out, however high the authority or stormy the litigation.

Our next thoughts must be of the well-known volunteers and soldiers of regionalism, who, with plenty of praise and reward, have served Balasaheb even unto Parliament. We think also of our brothers and sisters in Belgaum who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good fortune alike.

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring oppression  and scarcity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of  Maharashtra; to fight and end rationalism and tolerance and harmony; to build up a prosperous, theocratic and regressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure injustice and emptiness of life to every man and woman.

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of Maharashtra what Balasaheb intended them to be. We are members of a great autocracy on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to a particular religion we may belong, are equally the children of brainwashing, with unequal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage secularism or broad-mindedness, for no state can be great whose people are liberal in thought or in action.

To the RSS’s and Bajrang Dals of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering war, terror and theocracy. And to Balasaheb, our much-loved leader, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to his service.

Jai Maharashtra!

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Note : this is my take on the speech and is not intended to offend anyone.

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