The country belongs to no one, no one belongs to the country

2005, the year I first came to London… The year London had it’s first Jihadi attack…

I did not know much about London… One landmark I knew about was Trafalgar square. Had read about the pigeons at Trafalgar square in a story. Had read about the battle of Trafalgar, and the supreme sacrifice of Lord Nelson.

So when I first reached Trafalgar square, I wanted to see Lord Nelson’s statue…The one Englishman I admired the most. There were many statues around there, and I went to each one to read the inscriptions…None of them was of Lord Nelson.

I was a bit confused… Was my information about Lord Nelson’s statue at Trafalgar square correct? That was not the time of smartphones and google so I asked a middle aged gentleman, who smiled and put a hand on my shoulder and led me away.

I crossed the street and walked about 50 yards with him, a bit bemused. Then he asked me to turn and look up in the sky…The statue of Lord Nelson that I was looking for was on top of the Nelson’s column, of course…You can not see it if you are standing right under the column, idiot.

A few weeks later, there were the tube attacks in London. I was working in a small hospital in Burnley, East Lancashire. I remember the day, sometime around Lunch, the news had spread…Everyone was excitedly talking about it…Everyone was shocked, pained, moved… No, there were no heated arguments and discussions, but there was a sombre atmosphere…

Next day we were walking in the street, and someone passing by in an open car threw a can of beer at me. It was obviously a hate crime, ignorantly aimed at my skin colour… Someone advised me to report it to police. There is nothing noble about a hate attack, but I did not feel offended.

After all someone was just angry at somebody about his country being attacked, bombed, innocent citizens killed who were his countrymen… His anger was misdirected, but not unreasonable… He was ignorant but at least alive…

12 years later, England is attacked again… Almost as brutally…

I do not watch TV, did not know the news till someone from India asked me about it on facebook…Today as I went to work, no one talked about it…No one cared…It almost did not happen…It was life as usual…

In 12 years, the country has changed a lot…More desensitized…More used to violence…More apathetic.

Nelson’s Column is 52 metres high, the highest position given to honour the highest act of valour in English history…The supreme sacrifice of Lord Nelson is immortal but probably almost forgotten, just like his immortal words – England expects every man to do his duty…

Now England expects every man to pay his taxes and bills, obey the rules and pay for the parking tickets, pay the TV licence and recycle the waste… All these are duties… But not in the way Lord Nelson thought about the word “duty”… The sense of entitlement has taken away the sense of belonging, the ownership of the nation…Everyone lives here, the country belongs to no one… no one belongs to the country…

Lord Nelson… Your statue is placed way too high…Way beyond the view of the nation…come down please if you may…

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About the Author

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Dr Rajeev Mishra
Rajeev is from Steel City, Jamshedpur. Studied Medicine from RIMS, Ranchi, worked in Army Medical Corps for 7 years. Currently a physician in NHS, UK. Active in Social Media since 2009 and was motivated to use Social media as a valid alternative by a strong scepticism towards the mainstream media. His ideological journey started from leftism to Gandhism to Strong Nationalism to complete the full spectrum resulting in being a regular writer for Making India.

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