Birthdays are that special time of year when we feel special, or if we don’t, others make us feel special with their gifts, their praise, their toasts, and their love!
They remind us that we’re growing older, and sometimes they do mention the word “wiser”, and they symbolize how far we’ve come.
And they can tell you your past and predict your future or so the astrologists and soothsayers believe.
Our culture determines how we celebrate our birthdays, and often they are a source of renewal of our bonds with those who make us feel special – our parents, our siblings, our friends, family, and community. Does it go beyond? Well…
Today is the birthday of our state, Karnataka.
It’s time to celebrate. Even as you read this, celebrations will be going on at the capital, at the district HQ’s, taluk HQ’s, schools, state government institutions the pandemic guidelines permitting. Awards will be handed out to individuals for contributions to the state – and some will be happy and some will not. For, after all, even the man on the street picking up the garbage from your home, craves recognition. And they believe that they too contribute as much as an artist, writer, or a journalist does!
There will be cultural and linguistic Ecstacy and the happiness of being “one” and one with the state!
The state will be one year older, wiser? well, the jury will always be out on that one. But certainly, there will be post mortems of our growth since the time we were born on 1st November 1956.
And it is a holiday that most of the salaried look forward to; unfortunately this time it will coincide with their traditional weekly off!
But it’s time also to reflect upon an important philosophical question? This feeling of oneness – is it with other like minded people, like spoken people, its government, or the physical entity that is the “state”. Can there be oneness in diversity? It’s a great slogan that often makes us feel uncomfortable doesn’t it?
But is the state aware of this discomfort? Does it matter to the state or just to its government? Are the state and government one or different entities and should they be treated as such? So many questions arise on a birthday, don’t they?
We often confuse the state with the government that runs it.
“Anthropologist Robert L. Carneiro’s “A Theory of the Origin of the State” explains in his paper, classical thinkers such as Aristotle simply “tended to think of the state as ‘natural,’” has always existed in the nature of things.” www.libertarianism.org
But is that true?
Where one or more people lived together, moved together, and tilled the land together, they were the state in a state of mobility until they settled down -together. It was then a few of them took precedence over others, curbing nomadic processes, exercising, and legitimizing controls, and forming “governments” – either elected by a majority vote or by muscle power. Either way, their objectives were the same – Control rather than facilitation; with the power to recognize, reward, retribute, remand, and redesign rather than rejuvenate, revitalize and get a move on to greater things, together.
Sometimes it makes us wonder if this is what we celebrate every year. What’s good about it though, is, it is a reminder that we came together for a reason – to speak the same language, eat the same food, to pull up our sleeves and develop our bounded land jointly, with equity and in an orderly way, and of course celebrate each other, and of course our state’s milestones with fervor and familiarity!
We should keep it that way, and there will be many more birthdays to celebrate
Many happy returns of the day, Karnataka!