May 2016 \ News \ Diplomatic Column
From Far and Near: Radical Changes for a Social Order

It has been a week since I returned from my personal visit to America, the promised land. ‘Promised’ is a loaded term and has many connotations. In this specific context, it alludes to a certain sense of discipline and organized behavior in social and inter-personal relations,

By Malay Mishra

At home of course we are inured to such ghastly tragedies striking the body polity at regular intervals. In the cruel aftermath of the post-Pathankot tragedy, here comes our neighbour’s rebuff by closing the doors on a reciprocal visit by an Indian investigative agency. Thus again another jingoistic faux pas where the final sufferers are the people. How long will this go on, nobody can ever guess. Yet we pretend to live like decent nations in this highly disturbed neighbourhood of ours. The comic relief comes in the form of the great celebration of the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the great nationalist icon for whom total emancipation of the Dalits was an article of faith, where every political party and leader worth the name is desperately trying to own up his legacy in the name of nation building. The irony could not have been lost on the country! 

This time in America, I learnt a new epithet, ‘radical jihadism’, or rather it entered my vocabulary in  a loud and clear manner, adding to the pantheon of other isms, militarism, extremism, radicalism and the like. Do we expect our world to be safe and secure ever for our children  and their children, they who have started dreaming for a better future and those whose dreams are still incubating in the void? The answer to these near intractable questions is as good as mine as yours. But together we have to find a way out before the world around us crumbles to dust. 

‘A tear to unite me with those of broken heart; a smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.I would rather that I died in yearning and longing that I lived weary and despairing.I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the depths of my spirit, for I have seen those who are satisfied the most wretched of people. I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody’. (A Tear and a Smile, Kahlil Gibran) Cheer always. 

—The writer is a former Ambassador. He can be reached at