A heritage to be proud of



by Wendell Berry

  1. How much poison are you willing to eat for the success of the free market and global trade? Please name your preferred poisons.
  2. For the sake of goodness, how much evil are you willing to do? Fill in the following blanks with the names of your favorite evils and acts of hatred.
  3. What sacrifices are you prepared to make for culture and civilization? Please list the monuments, shrines, and works of art you would most willingly destroy.
  4. In the name of patriotism and the flag, how much of our beloved land are you willing to desecrate? List in the following spaces the mountains, rivers, owns, farms you could most readily do without.
  5. State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes, the energy sources, the kinds of security, for which you would kill a child. Name, please, the children whom you would be willing to kill.


They told us we are being exploited, and we need to rebel. They are friends and well-wishers, who would take us to the promised land of plenty.

One has to fight for a cause. Sacrifice is unavoidable. We will have a story to tell when we attain victory. We are building a golden palace for generations to come when we reach there.

In the name of all that is noble and good within us, we continue to put in our best. We adopt progressive policies which boost the profit of multinationals.

We build statues and temples to all that we value, and are hailed for that. We are happy that history is being rewritten, but forget that the new stories are moulded to suit interests of the few.

A child is brutalised and killed, and a few people celebrate because she belonged to a particular community.

We flaunt new maps of our country, and are happy to have wiped out an enemy nation that spawned terrorism.

Elated on our newfound identity, I go home to celebrate with the family. Alas, resources are limited. I spent all my savings on the elder one’s education, but he is yet to find a job. Five major companies have announced mass retrenchment. My job is likely to become redundant, as I celebrated the golden jubilee of my existence last year. AI is taking over, what with the tremendous encouragement and funds received from the government.

Another friend mourns that his investments in the stock market aren’t doing too well. The newsreader says five people committed suicide because the bank they had parked their lifetime’s savings in, went under.

Prices are touching the sky. The elite circles call it an ‘economic slowdown’. The phenomenon is global they say, and hits every nation. We need to learn how to live with less.

Aren’t we proud citizens of a noble country, as our leader announces “All is well here” to the world out there. He is hailed as one of the most revolutionary leaders of our times. He has changed the face of the nation. My chest swells with pride when I see the warmth and accolades he received internationally.

One monolithic company wipes out competition, leading to loss of more jobs. But aren’t they the ones who oil the wheels of democracy with election funding? Shouldn’t we be proud that we cast a vote, whereas our neighbor countries struggle under a dictatorial regime.

Corruption is bad. Corruption needs to be wiped out. We all shout slogans in unison to support it. But election funding by a few is not corruption. Horse-trading for power is in the best interest of the state and the populace. It is not corruption.

Black money is bad. The opposition parties need to be divested of it to make them toothless. But companies and individuals are free to invest in certain bonds without any questions being asked. The leaders live on high moral ground. The criminals who wreaked havoc are arrested. They are accused of diversion of funds. But the money they pilfered from the system is irretrievable. Nobody knows where it has disappeared. Nobody knows why audit and regulatory systems keep failing.

I live in revolutionary times, and am proud of my country. I will have a story to tell my grandchildren –they should build their own ideology as per need of the hour, rather than follow someone else. A glorious history cannot appease hunger. There’s no point in getting back there when the path ahead is bleak

Prosperity will help us build a heritage for the future. I hope the next generations smile as they talk about their heritage, not be pulled apart by contradiction – like we are. I hope they don’t have to nurse suspicion in the heart, and avert eyes, while looking at a friend’s posts – which camp does he belong to? May their interest and their success be unified.



6 thoughts on “A heritage to be proud of

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s