This post, which is being written at 12:30 at night, is something that I am writing on the spur of the moment. I am not sure about the direction of this post. It is inspired by the comment made by a lady called Kathryn Sparks, in response to my post called “Billions”, and she commented about how some erudite scientists have been talking about taking life expectancy to 300 years.
Gollum lived to 500 years, and at the end of his unnaturally long life, he felt stretched. The Ring had taken a heavy toll on him.
Now, if I was 300 years old, I would have been born in 1715. Delhi would have been in turmoil. Aurangzeb, the last of the Great Mughal Emperors had died in 1708, and the Mughal Empire would have started its long implosion. The Marathas from West India had started to snap at the heels of the Empire, the British, French, Dutch and Portuguese would have started to fight to preserve their trading rights and privileges that the Mughals had granted them. India had about 15% of the world’s GDP. 250 years later, after the British Rule had ended, it had dwindled down to less than 1%.
In 1857, I would have witnessed a Mutiny, and the subsequent butchering of the Indians. I would have been walking in Delhi, which was then called The City Of The Dead. I would have been overcome by the stench of rotting corpses, as the dead were piled on top of each other, to rot in the streets.
The Mughal way of life would have ended, the last Emperor sent off to exile, the poets and artists would have been banished. The English would have started to divide the Hindus and the Muslims, in order to strengthen their hold on India. I would be confused in my feelings for the Brits, on the one hand hating them for the damage they were causing to my country, and on the other hand, I would admire them for the investment they were making in infrastructure.
Being an ordinary man, I would also be confused by my Indian leaders, as from 1890 onwards, while they fought for Indian independence, they started to speak the language of division between Hindus and Muslims. Religion would become more important than nation, and my neighbours and I now started to look at each other in suspicion. This was the 1920’s, and hundred of years of brotherhood were coming to an end.
As I aged, and 1947 came along, I moved from my homeland to my my new home in India. The Muslims, they killed my friends and family. I returned the favour, killing them with equal brutality. I killed my neighbour, a man I had known since childhood. I raped his wife. Why? They are Muslims, and I only felt blood in my brains.
I moved to India and started a new life. It was hard, and the wounds of the Partition were fresh. My nights were haunted by the look in my friend’s eyes, looking into mine while I cut his throat.
In time, I witnessed three, four wars between India and Pakistan. I never understood this. I had, in any case, never understood why Indian soldiers went to fight for the Allies during World War II. It was not our war.
As I aged, my family and I struggled to build a new life. Old values seemed to vanish. I had witnessed the death of an age in 1857. Now, in the 1970’s I witnessed a changing India, one where corruption seemed more important than anything else.
In the 1980’s my home state of Punjab burned with the fires of separation. Terror ruled in North East India. In 1992, they demolished a mosque, because they claimed that it was built over the birthplace of a God.
What God was this that stood by, and watched people being killed and murdered over his birthplace on earth? What God was this that allowed politicians to manipulate his message of love so that they could come to power?
What God was this?
The environment started to degrade. People dumped pollutants into rivers. Money ruled the waves, as India started to grow. The westerners who left India in 1947, started to return, as they saw business potential in India.
Yet, as we grew economically, I now see women being raped with impunity, as the Government stands by , spouting cynical expressions of morality.
God, they say, demands that women remain indoors after dark.
It is 2015, and I begin to doubt the existence and purpose of God.
It is 300 years since I was born. I have seen too much death, too much hate,too much cynicism.
There is beauty, yes. When I was 140 years old, the poetry of Zauq and Ghalib ruled. This was the poetry of love, of grace, of beauty.
There is beauty, yes. There is beauty in the human spirit, yes. However, I don’t like to read the papers. They believe that, to sell more newsprint, they must only print tales of horror. All they want to do, is to sell more newsprint.
I am 300 years old, and to reaffirm my faith in humanity, I have to reach down into myself.
My nights are filled with dreams of death, of war, of rape and slaughter.
I am 300 years old. Do I need to carry these scars to The Eternal Dark?
Does Sauraon live? Does the Ring bind us yet?
300 years is too long to live. Too many memories. Too much blood….