Thinking Over It

I wake up in the morning and drink a cup of coffee from my brand new coffee maker. I switch on the TV to catch a glimpse of all that that transpired in the world in the few hours that I was sleeping. I go through the hackneyed routine of getting ready for work and manage to get some time for my breakfast of bacon and eggs. On my way to work in my luxury car, I read the paper and quickly skim through an article talking about the MNS workers beating up the non-Maharashtra candidates sitting for the railway recruitment exam. I reach office, work non-stop and come back home in the evening and move out to catch up with a few friends over dinner.

Don’t we all conjure up an image of an individual amongst the millions in the framework of a modern setup? Well yes, it does, but there are a few things that don’t complement this image. Firstly, it is a little difficult to believe that something like what happened in Maharashtra is capable of taking place in the 21st century in a supremely well “developing” country like India. Secondly, how it just doesn’t matter to so many of us who are numb to these sorts of incidents now. Our usual response to hearing about something like this would be to cringe (hopefully), sigh aloud and change the radio station to hear a brighter song.

Recent happenings in our country, if collectively examined, will disappoint any citizen. It is infuriating to see that acts like these phase out of public memory so easily. And this is only because no radical punishment is meted out to those initiating such acts to avoid getting caught in the maze of political consequences of doing that.

It will be an anomaly for anyone to equate India, a country that used to pride in its diversity and tolerance, to the supposedly developing India of today where single individuals claiming to represent the people of their community take recourse to holding entire States to ransom in support of their ideology.

The citizenry of this country needs to get out of its convenient and pretty delusion of supporting liberal democratic principles if we allow dastardly situations like this to take place in our country. After all, it is true that not speaking out against as dangerous as carrying out injustice. What is the point of spending crores of rupees on anti-terror mechanisms, qualitative improvements in intelligence inputs, security installations, if the direct outcome of allowing such repressive “regimes” to flourish is breeding terror in our home ground? It would be dim to assume that situations like the attack of VHP workers on Christians in Orissa and Karnataka, the clash of Bodos and Muslims, the anti-north Indian ethos being propagated in Maharashtra by the MNS, the anti-minority propaganda nurtured in lieu of reservations will have a dangerous outcome only in the states concerned. It is going to result in the harbouring of a very deep anti-state resentment amongst the people wronged if the Centre continues with its policy of indifference beyond the cursory and habitual denunciations.

Rakshita Swami

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