A Spineless Citizen with Fish Memory

1st March 2002, Vadodra, Gujarat, a small bakery was burned down by rioters. 14 people who were hiding there to save themselves were burned alive. Next day, the photo of Qutubbdin Ansari, with joined palms and eyes brimming with tears took the frontpage of Indian media. We all felt ashamed, we all stood with Muslims of Gujarat for that 1 week, and that is it.

A year passed and Modi was riding the wave of “development”. India was projecting Gujarat as a model state and Modi a model Chief Minister. Gujaratis were so proud of this man that they brought him back to power with increased mandate. Few days back, during his Sadbhavan Mission, India was embracing this man as the Future Prime Minister of India. The only measuring stick was the “economic” development of Gujarat.

The “fish memory” of the Indian citizen helped him forget the culprit of the Gujarat Massacre. 26th November 2008, the financial hub of India was actually under siege. Not by battalions of foreign army or by a helicopter raid by US navy seals. Some 10 gunmen, who arrived in a ferry, were enough to take Mumbai hostage for almost three days. Atleast 164 people were killed and some 308 were injured. While the sieg lasted, Home Minister of India, Shivraj Patil was busy changing dresses for media ops.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh indulged himself by taking his Actor son and a movie-director to the attack sites. We all were furious at the government. Prime Minister used his pet lines, “We ask Indians to be patient and maintain calm.” In a convenient gesture, Home Minister and the Chief Minister were removed. In reality, they were just transferred from one place of power to another. Spineless people of India didn’t have the guts to not to elect Deshmukh again. Today, Vilasrao Deshmukh holds two central ministries, Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Sivraj Patil is the Governor of Punjab and Chandigarh Administrator. Mani Shankar Aiyyar, a senior Congress spokesmen, admitted on national television, the motto of the politician, “In India, any issue or uproar is only for 6 months. Nothing is problematic to Indians for more than 6 months.” So, in India, just make sure you last 6 months in power, “fish memory” of Indians will take care of the rest!

18th September 2011, an earthquake of 6.9 magnitude hit the north-eastern state of Sikkim. At least 116 people were killed and many injured. Operations are still hampered due to structural damages and 2 villages are still yet to be reached. VVIPs like Rahul Gandhi were hopping to Sikkim to gain political mileage. This created such a nuisance that Army had to issue a statement to stop it. But most underlying cause went almost unnoticed by the voter of India. North-eastern states lack infrastructure which could have speeded up the rescue process.

Delhi fears that incase of repeat of 1962 insurgence by China, the dragon might use this infrastructure against India. How spineless have been the past and the present Governments of India? But people in Government are Indian citizens, they are elected by Indians. If the Government is spineless, then the only logical conclusion is that Indian citizen is spineless. Sitting in metros, we donate some money to Prime Minister’s relief fund and wash our hands.

Moreover, some are prompted to do so as this donation is “Tax Deductible”. Many reading this might nod their heads in denial, but we all are aware of this truth. Today we have more educated people in India, than ever before. We are producing Engineers and Doctors in mindboggling numbers. IT industry is now a synonym for India’s growth. This might have made India a global economic power, but it has only made us a “soft power”.

The white collar Indian, who has got enough knowledge and access to change things, is too afraid to do anything. In stark contrast, two generations ago, India was much braver than today. Let’s go back 80 years to see the change. 5th February1922, Members of a mob in Gorakhpur, in Uttar Pradesh were volunteering in the Non-Cooperation Movement, which at that time was at its peak.

Victory was near, the British were shocked and India could have easily achieved independence. But in response to such a gruesome act, the founder of this movement single-handedly stopped this revolt. Mahatma Gandhi didn’t want any part of the Independence which was achieved by spilling blood, British or Indian. He took the Chauri Chaura incident as his own personal responsibility. After all, the nation was at this boiling point under his leadership. This choice was not of a man who was afraid, but of one with “guts”.

Freedom fighters were brave even though their lifestyle was 1000 times difficult than us. They didn’t have media to support them or facebook to spread their word from the luxury of their homes. They walked dusty roads, printed papers and pamphlets even when they couldn’t make their own ends meet. India needed a change and these people delivered. Their numbers were not a few thousands, but in millions.

Conclusively, it can be easily deduced that the pre-Independence Indian was “gutsy”, “determined” and “wanted” a change. Indians today are too afraid, too ignorant and too careless to bring a change in India. A Modi or an Anna or a Nitish Kumar will not bring the change, its us who will.

Abhay Nidhi