My university students sat bemused as the PowerPoint presentation in class went on. “I have a dream”, the bass was known, we discussed autobiography, rights, violence, protests and what the dream was all about. Martin Luther King Jr. was inducing a new current, drawing people out of their sluggish state of oblivion, as all classroom dialogues now became impregnated with more questions about black/white, comfort quotients and discomfitures, low, high, good, bad that were swimming across an ocean of vast uncertainty. We kept on listening as the powerful bass could be felt:
“When we allow freedom to ring-when we let it ring from every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.”
The lines reverberated with the vast, unfathomable, diversified knowledge of a cohesive pattern that goes beyond any race, community, class, caste, colour and so on. The voice is relevant even now, it is time to ponder, as some of the voices that are engulfed into that abysmal pit of silence still cry and demand rights, rights on all planes, rights at all levels.
It is time to rethink the entire concept of humanity perhaps; it is not the man that was asphyxiated but the voice of the hunted, the voice of the humanity, the voice of the tortured.
It is the time to rethink how integrity lies in variety, without any source of coercion or articulation of negative power that tries to break them down relentlessly. Only then, in Martin Luther’s words again, the ‘rough’ places will be made ‘plain.’