The gloom and darkness of the last five years have in the last few weeks been hidden by a cleverly orchestrated display of fireworks in the sky. “Look at us!” says one such sparkler in the sky yesterday, “We have successfully tested an anti-satellite missile!” The people stare stoicly as the gloom of their dismal existence is supposed to be lit by this revelation.

And then another lights the sky, going far above and breaking into little beacons, sparkling all over the sky and saying, “We flew right into enemy territory and destroyed 350 of them!”

The people watch as the murkiness of their nights is awakened by the display above them, and then watch as another and another one of the fireworks is sent up, some by orators, others by trolls, and many even by mobs who threaten and say, “If you don’t look up we’ll string you from the nearest tree!”

But after every burst of light, the people look down wearily, for what the fireworks do above is to light the dismal scene below.

They shift around as the filth they stand on sucks them under. Poverty, a beast that lurks around every one of their homes snarling and laughing at their emaciated forms, a monster that grew bigger when the very rupee notes they bought their food with was taken away on the whims of a single man!

Another burst of colour splashes across. Farmers look up, creases of worry on their faces shown even more by the light that highlights dark circles beneath their eyes, revealing nights spent in guarding their fields against marauding cattle released by a government’s short sighted set of plans. Even now with the sparklers lighting up their fields their eyes search furtively for poor, unsheltered, unfed cows that will rush into their fields and destroy a harvest, their livelihoods and their lives.      

The fireworks are launched, like a blitzkrieg, intending to impress the people, disarm the opposition and fool the country into thinking that this lightning strike is sustainable.

It isn’t. Maybe the fireworks are, but the awe, the drama and the intention to impress are short in duration, because every display lights up, ground realities below.

Very real they are, of poverty, of hunger, of trekking miles for water, of education only for the moneyed, and an educational system which slowly suppresses the ability to question, to analyze and to decide!

The firework display only lights the filth below, of a beautiful tapestry called India being steadily destroyed, of minorities slowly pushed into a corner, of the rich getting richer, and the poor, poorer!

Some fools are, but most aren’t fooled by the fireworks display..! 

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