In a bend on the road from Kargil to Drass in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, there is a feel of the uncertainties of Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, in Delhi’s NCR.
Thoughts turn to soldiers and all those who sacrificed for our Independence. Yet, we are not free.
I was covering the war in Kargil. The guns that boomed from here, on the Indian side, and from there, on the Pakistani side, were bursting my eardrums.
I was trying to:
tell my family I am ok
People are getting wounded and are dying.
It is important we understand the grave injustice we do to ourselves this August 15. It was a time of Partition, time of tragedy. A tragedy scripted by the British colonisers.
It is a tragedy we live today by surrendering our freedoms to the machinations of the unscrupulous, like realtors. The realtors rule our lives, squeezing our hard and honest earnings.
In Kargil in 1999, Indian soldiers fought to protect what is ours in our boundaries.
It never occurred that such boundaries would be enforced in the politics of Apartment Owners’ Associations (AoAs).
In this 2bhk flat I live in Indirapuram, the mind wanders to the wars I have covered.
I am a war correspondent. A journalist, confused as ever, just recording and reporting. I needed to find a place to live in. Found one in this district.
“In an artillery bombardment there are three distinct sounds,” a captain of the Indian Army instructed. We were in the middle of the war in Kargil 20 years back. The 20th year since then is about Kashmir.
The three distinct sounds:
“First, the gun will fire, then the shell will fly in a whistle, and, third, if you haven’t heard the whistle, it is resolved,” he said.
Meaning: if you are dead it doesn’t matter.
That seems to be the attitude of builders in the National Capital Region (NCR). For a decade and more, they have been delaying or rejecting possession of apartments that buyers have fully paid up for.
Then they give possession without completing their obligations. Residents contend with an unhealthy environment. This morning, the water quality in our apartment complex is so poor that it is difficult to brush one’s teeth.
The parallel with the Kargil war of 1999, twenty years back, is this: the builders, like the English colonialists, have adopted the policy of divide-and-rule.
Divide the residents, the consumers, into those who may benefit for petty gain – “ek preferential allotment kar diya below market price”, for example – and then the market caves in.
We buyers, looking for a decent roof over our heads, are like a “dot over in the word shit.”
When the shells whistled past me in Kargil, my mind was focused on how to write and describe what I was seeing. There was a bloodied soldier I was cradling in Mushoh Valley in the run-up to Tiger Hill. Tiger Hill was the apex of the media war, conditioning the Indian audience.
In Indirapuram, there is little of that passion. It may be wrong, it may be right.
I think it is right to rise up against these realtors who are cheating us.
In AoA after AoA, these land sharks are dividing people. Even the Kargil War was a division between India and Pakistan that the English had wrought.
This Independence Day, in memory of the wars we have fought, in the freedom that we cherish, may we find liberty.
May we find liberty and the strength to fight against the colonial divide-and-rule policy that these real estate sharks have adopted.