"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Into that heaven of freedom it should be our intent. ( my adaption from Rabindranath Tagores famous lines)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Remembering Rosa Parks

I felt very sad last week when Mrs Rosa Parks died at the age of 92. She was to the Black Americans as what Mahatma Gandhi is to us, Indians.

Most historians date the beginning of the modern civil rights movement in the United States to December 1, 1955. That was the day when an unknown seamstress, Mrs Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. (The city laws at that time forced Blacks to sit only at the back of the bus.). This brave woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance, but her lonely act of defiance began a movement that ended legal segregation in America, and made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere. Her arrest prompted over a year’s boycott of city buses by blacks — led by Martin Luther King , who was then unknown . The following 10 years saw a huge, mostly non –violent struggle for African Americans right to vote and an end to segregation.

In 1893, a 24-year-old Indian lawyer arrived in Durban to take part in a lawsuit in Transvaal. Just before he was to return to India, he had to travel to Johannesburg on business. He booked a first-class train ticket to Johannesburg – and was ordered out of the train because of his colour. He spent a cold night in the non–European waiting - room at Pietermaritzburg railway station. The lawyer’s name was Mahatma Gandhi. – and the rest is history.

I also feel very angry that USA having had only 40 years of experience of giving equality to their own countrymen, which was based on color now wants to preach and establish in the world its arrogant idea of democracy, peace and civil rights. By its own record the USA is the biggest terrorist having dropped Atom bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima,(when the war was almost ending,) interfering and killing innocents in countries which posed no threat to it , such as Vietnam and now in Iraq, and exhibiting unpardonable sexual and violent sins to so called prisoners. More on that later ……