Thursday, February 25, 2016

Love for the motherland - Meditation 1

You can cut it up and sell it all, bit by bit - time, labour, eyes, kidneys, womb, even the heart. The one thing you can't buy - or snatch - is human love, and a country.

Country. Who knows how it grows inside of you? What is this love? For the land? For mother? For yourself?

Motherland. The mother and the earth.

Perhaps they call a country 'mother' because you don't get to choose it. You don't get to choose whether or not you are going to love her. At least, not when you're young. The mother - who can be a sister too, or a grandmother, or a father; anybody who looks after you - is the source of self-definition.

A country - a motherland, a homeland - is a feeling that we associate with mother, with home.

Not everyone is happy at home. Not everyone is safe at home with mother. Children run away sometimes, when there is not enough love and too much fear in the air. A child begins to wonder if the mother is truly helpless, unable to keep him (or her) safe. Perhaps she is not free. It takes a long time before a child loses faith in the mother - when he tries to win her love and keeps failing, when he cannot count on her to be fair, when he is humiliated.

There's this novel. Saul Bellow's Herzog. The protagonist is in a courthouse and happens to hear the proceedings in a case of murder. A mother is accused of killing her child. Smashed the child's head against the wall.

A witness says that the child was crying. Trying to cling to the mother. She would throw him back against the wall. He would keep howling (for his mother), keep trying to seek safety (with his mother). So it went until the child fell silent and that was only when he was dying.

This happens, too.

Not everyone is willing to love, no matter what. Sometimes people get confused - they mix up love with want. Love is not the feeling of wanting to have/own someone; it is the feeling of belonging with someone. And love for the motherland? That is already a given - you already know you belong. There is no doubt, no question. You take the motherland for granted.

If a child is screaming, his mother does not have the right to throw him against a wall. You don't ask children to offer proof of love. A mother may or may not be able to give the child all he needs but it is her responsibility to at least give him love - it is her primary dharma.

You can't force love for a country. It is impossible. A country is not a thing that can be 'had'. You can have power, you can have a seat at the head of the table. But not a country. A country cannot belong to you. You must belong to her. A country is a feeling - the feeling spells 'mother'; it spells 'home'. This love, this feeling of belonging is not something you can pick up in the market, not is it a sword dangling above your head. Where there is fear, no love can survive.


sailentobserver said...

Deeply heartening. A thought provoking piece.

anantg37 said...
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Annie Zaidi said...

Thanks Sailentovserver.

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