Is it unpatriotic to feel ashamed?

Having lived in the US for over three and a half years, having seen the politics here, the blatant lies, the discrimination, the complete lack of moral responsibility or compass that the administration and the public choose to brandish, I have always savored the hard earned yearly trips back to India in December. I have always felt a sense of freedom in India that I missed here in the US. But the events that unfolded in the last two weeks have forced me to re-evaluate this freedom I perceived. It was perhaps, all an illusion.

One of the rights the US prides itself upon is freedom, the first amendment, right to free speech. Something we sorely lack, and often even fail to recognize in India. I didn’t feel the pinch until I read about how Taslima Nasreen was treated in India. What happened? India was supposed to be bastion of freedom for people around the sub-continent. We provided asylum for people like Dalai Lama and Taslima Nasreen. But now we seemed to have turned our backs on the very people we promised to protect.

Taslima Nasreen was forced out of India, and for what? Expression herself? For writing a book? For choosing to say ‘hey, lets stop and think about what we are doing’? What was her crime? I guess she wrote the wrong kind of book. Maybe, if she had written about the demise of the Mumbai thanks to those malignant north Indians, she would have been allowed to stay. Or maybe if she had written about how Tibetians are a terrorist organization undermining China’s sovereignty, she would have been received with open arms in New Delhi. Or maybe if she had written about M.F.Hussain’s attack on Hinduism for $1.6M, she would received an honorary ‘Hindu’ title. After all, isn’t that what free speech is about?

And here I was admonishing the US for all of its wrongdoings. As I wake up and smell of the coffee, I hang my head in shame.

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