Papa don’t preach . . !


INDIA watches shocked, as a powerful tyrant uses muscle, might, and maximum force to pulverize and bully a smaller country. Even as we are appalled, outraged and horrified, even as we look across the ocean at the UN and expect that supposedly mighty institution representing the world to put an end to the strong arm, Russian judo expert and his ambitions, we see our own country politely abstaining from chastising the bully.

Yes, we have our reasons, because a huge ninety percent of our arms and ammunition come from Putin’s country, but this would have been the time when the world realizing how much we relied on Russia would have treated us with new respect, had we stood up for justice and peace! We didn’t and lost a golden opportunity to show a different India!

Even as I am disappointed with our stand, I’m reminded of a similar episode: Nariman Point in Mumbai, boasts of a few exceptional restaurants, and I remember vividly, sitting in one a decade ago, where I’d been invited for lunch, listening to a bearded, bald and blustering chartered account who handled religious trusts and their skirmishes with the charity commissioner. He was supposedly a leader of the community, where when called to deliver his Sunday fire and brimstone sermons, he tried to make surgical strikes into the complacent hearts of his listeners.

“Bob,” he said, “I needed to meet with you alone, to tell you that you would be an asset to any spiritual organization you join! Would you care to join one for businessmen which I have started? We need good, honest, upright men like you!” “But why,” I asked quietly, “didn’t you say this last week, when you illegally attended a board meeting and instead of standing up for the financial irregularities I revealed to the board, you spoke against me? Where was your voice then? Why now? Why alone?”

He looked away, and I knew that since that same trust or its subsidiaries was one of his clients, he had decided to circumvent the truth and defend the guilty to keep his business going! Much like what our country did in the UN right? But if we are going to export yoga to the world, and other powerful ways of meditation we also need to show the world, that such techniques make us a strong, uncompromising people.

If that man, quoting from his holy book, thundered from pulpits lines such as ‘Be brave and courageous!” then he also needed to show if he could stand by the truth even if it meant losing business. He couldn’t. We as a nation didn’t.

I remember that meal, but hardly tasted the food he paid for, because all the time my lips were whispering lines from an old song, “Papa don’t preach!” India is now a strong nation. Let’s show our strength not by politically correct decisions anymore, but by standing for the ‘gospel truth’! Then and only then will we win respect..!


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