Friday, September 11, 2020

Bunga. Burj. Watchtower.

Bunga. Burj. Watchtower.

Ramgharia Bunga twins still stand watch, the last of many Bungas constructed to protect Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) Amritsar. Before the tanks marched in, in that dystopian year of 1984, and ushered in an era of darkness in Punjab’s history, it was the sentinels on these two watchtowers who let the courts of the then ‘saint’ of Punjab run unchecked and invited that darkness into a place of light. The duty of the sentinels was to watch and protect the sanctity of the sanctum sanctorum, but they became the eyes of the ‘saint’, they became his watchtowers.

A few days after the tanks had left and public allowed back in the complex, many eager eyes climbed the top of the three storey bungas, for a panoramic view of the rubble left behind, for a panoramic view of the fruits of the darkness that the sentinels had let in, and for a panoramic view of the embers that burned in that darkness and will continue for over a decade.

Bunga. Burj. Watchtower.

The Parliament and the Supreme Court are the twin watchtowers to protect our ‘tryst with destiny’ and guide the India of the 26th January 1950. And as the ‘saint’ of ‘New India’ holds his court, the sentinels manning these bungas have started following in the footsteps of those atop the Ramgharia twins nearly four decades back. They are fast becoming his watchtowers. And as these sentinels look away, new bungas of this ‘New India’ arise – near Sardar Sarovar Dam, near Saryu, in reclaimed bit of Arabian Sea near Mumbai and many more, and the 15th of August slowly inches towards 5th of August.

These twin watchtowers must stand up and be counted or become part of the rubble that will be left behind when the proverbial tanks roll in. They must keep the light of the 26th January of 1950, or there will not be an era of darkness, there will only be darkness.

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