You, who shout your nationalism from the rooftops; you whose blood runs hot for “Mother India”; you who turn red with rage when contradicted; you who set agendas like patriarchs drunk on father-right; you who refuse to let another speak, you! who don a suit every night on television to disguise your cheap tricks; you who abuse your guests if they happen to be young, powerless and honest; you who bloat on adrenaline while your viewers turn to idiotic jelly; you who abuse the highest offices of this land; you who give a bad name to khaki; you who wear lawyers’ robes to beat students and teachers; you who are protected by your political masters; you who strike deals in the privacy of your offices, chambers and boardrooms; you who live by ratings and upvotes; you who tell lies so long you forget the truth; you who form bands of cowards hiding in plain sight; you who roam the streets showing your fist to all; you for whom a martyred soldier is more valuable than a living citizen; you who abuse the power that history gave you; you who mistake that accident of history for a moral right; you whose imagination of revenge always involves rape; you who have brought this country to the brink of civil war; you who speak in the name of the mythical motherland while the actual children of that land are hungry, thirsty and unemployed; you who claim this moment, this nation, this public, this history, this land. Apologise.
Apologise to those who work everyday to make this country decent; who work for too little, and for too long; those whose deaths become statistics in the great churning pots of state economists; those whose parents taught them to keep their heads down and quit an ugly fight; those who argue, debate, disagree without the urge to kill or maim their opponents; those who understand when an argument becomes too heated; those who pull back from the brink every time because they know that to be alive is not always to be right; those who reclaim the streets to protest when it’s hard, when it’s inconvenient, and when it’s dangerous, because it’s the only way to disagree; those who see that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind; those who understand and accept this land in all its confounding conflict; those who risk death to expose the powerful and corrupt; those who have no choice but to join the army to feed their families; those who laugh when there is nothing left; those who write, think and reason, and take time over all three; those who appreciate the beauty of the stars on a still night; those who make love like it’s a gift and not a right; those whose parents live after they died because they were on the wrong side at the wrong time.
Above all, you deranged “nationalists”, apologise to three fellow citizens – one born in a caste that could only speak from the protection of death; another who is languishing in jail for no crime at all; and perhaps most of all, a third who is on the run from a police none of us ever trusted. Apologise. These young people are the future of this country, not you with your bloodlust. WE are the nation, and we demand an apology from you.