Flumes Volume 2: Issue 1, Summer 2017 - Page 30


going to be able to write authentically, and my whole thing is, if I’m a true Sikh, if God is one, then I’m going to treat people with equality, too. My writing Seva for me is, you help anybody, it doesn’t matter their color and what happened, you have to help everyone. Seva is all about that. Seva is doing things through humility, doing things for everybody, and that’s what I’m really at right now. That’s where I’m at right now as a writer. I’m going to make sure that I do my Seva authentically and honorably and that I’m not creating lines that may be caste lines, may that be religion.

So, Jassi and I talked about colonization and the idea of “othering”. I shared with her that I, too, have experienced a sort of “those people” attitude when people assumed things about me. I told her that I did think sometimes it was okay for me to feel that discomfort and anger because people of color have experienced far more than I could and it was important to put myself in their shoes.

JKB: Exactly, and I think that all of us have felt discrimination. Like Tagore said, the reason why India is never going to be true India or a united India is because of the castes. You know, color, what we are, that’s our caste. Right now that’s what we’re feeling in America.

I was reading Tagore and Tagore really criticized Gandhi because he said, “In India, the real cause of weakness that cripples our spirit of freedom rises from the impermeable social walls between castes. These check the natural flow of the fellow feeling among people who live in our country. The law of love and mutual respect has been ignored for the sake of retaining artificial order. This only serves to promote a sense of degeneracy and defeat. The people of India, in this way, have built their own cage by trying to secure their own freedom from one another. They only succeeded in keeping themselves eternally captive.”

I really do feel that. Because Tagore didn’t believe in colonization, but he believed that we should learn from western society, and that we’re a very conservative culture in how we act we can sometimes be kind of closed-minded. That’s why Tagore wanted us to learn from western societies. He didn’t want us to be colonized, he wanted our people to be attached to our roots. We should still know where we come from and be very firm in that, but also learn from western society how they live and how they do things. That’s how we can become a better India.