Friday, February 12, 2010

My Name is..Kaun?

The Pathology of the Politics of Intimidation and Intolerance

Congrats to SRK, all the Indians living in Maharashtra and its capital city, earlier known as Bombay, and the chief minister of that state. SRK for standing up to what he believes and expressing his opinion as an Indian, the Indians for going out there to watch MNIK and reiterate we are Indians First, and the CM of Maharashtra for holding it all together. But if we look beyond (or beneath, if you prefer) the politics and publicity aspects of the MNIK saga, we can easily see why the politics of intimidation and coercion work, and why, more often than not, we cannot enjoy the privilege of the fundamental rights, assured by our nation's founding fathers to every Indian. Why do we think twice before doing what is right? Why are we coerced into silence when our hearts yearn to speak out? Why are we living in constant fear and threat, but left with the feeling nothing can be done about it?

Under normal circumstances, no law abiding Indian citizen should be afraid to express himself or herself, voice opinions, and perform duties or obligations, so long as all these fall within the framework of legality. Yet, we realize this is not the case in our cities and towns. The main reason is because the system has been hijacked by vested interests and corrupted (not just financially, but ideologically and politically as well) - the system, which is meant to protect every citizen, the system on which every citizen should have founded his or her faith, courage, and patriotism. And most importantly, the system which interprets, upholds and delivers the law and justice.

For example, lets take a bandh call by a political party, for a cause or reason that you dont support. Ideally you want to go to work and ignore the call, or perhaps you want to oppose the call because you feel they are wrong. But you cannot. Why? Because you get out, and they will burn your car and beat you up. Why? Because the system connives with them, instead of protecting you. Because the law enforcers and the civil administration are forced to become operators of the political agenda rather than justice. Why? Because they are taught to be loyal to divisions rather than the law, because they are polarized instead of being committed to the neutrality of the constitution. Because they are rewarded only for their allegiance to these forces, and not for their honesty and courage. Why? Because most politicians and their politics survive because of divisions, not because of their committment to the nation or its citizens, and these are the kind of people who can justify violence against women and Valentines day one day and call it an "attack on democracy" the day they get the same treatment. Why? Because people still support them and vote for them, instead of isolating them and shunning them!

Majority of the bandhs and hartals (and along with it, politicians and their parties) would go un-noticed, and definitely fail, if the police and the government machinery ensured there is no violence and coercion. Yet, this doesnt happen because tomorrow it may be the government's own party that may call the bandh. And the police and civil administration frequently get penalized for delivering justice and protecting the citizens, without taking sides.

Or let us take the example of an official demanding bribe. We would think twice before acting against him or her? Why? Because chances are that you will get isolated, be made to suffer, and ultimately become the only loser in the end. Why? Because the wrong-doers become mighty the moment the system is on their side.

Yet, as the educated youth become the majority and slowly "wrests the politics" from the politician, we are seeing signs of great change and glimpses of great hope. We dont need to respond to every violent politician by inking him black, and we wouldnt need to declare war every time a movie is released if we can free the system from the selfish, intolerant, divisive forces, and instead reinstate a system that will respond in the same way and remain neutral, whether its Khan, King, Karan, Kursheed, or anyone other Indian. Because, we are Indians First.

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity.


scorpiogenius said...

It was nice and heart-warming to see the Shav Sena goons beaten up balck n blue by the Police on Mumbai roads, while 'protesting' in their usual pattern. I never felt so good n elated to see somebody getting trampled upon, but I guess that feeling would be global considering the circumstances.

But yes, surely the points in your post are valid but do you see a way we deal with things now? For eg how Mumbai defeated the Thackareys twice in less than a week?

SophieMol said...

@ scorpiogenius - exactly scorpio..if we take the MNIK example, the main reason for the "sensible outcome" was the system going all out to protect the citizen..if the system remains independent, then every law abiding citizen can act against every issue in this country.

MC said...

after reading this, some may ask "so what? we already knew this..what good is a post going to do on this silly blog"

a lot.

it is important for every indian, especially the younger lot, to always carry these things in their mind and always be conscious about what is right and what is wrong. we, as citizens, will always have moments in our life, where we have to decide between the right decision and the right decision. and at such times, it is the consciousness of these morals that will set us apart.

reading and writing about such important matters not only inspire me, but also reinforce my conscience.

Babin said...

Basically our system (governmental institutions)are still in the baby stage... Hopefully, as the indian middle class grows and become more powerfull the system will improve..

Anonymous said...

I agree with your thoughts but not with the opening about SRK expressing his views on a controversy. His act was a cheap attempt to get media attention, which he did eventually. Its an irresponsible act and it set a bad example to people of the country. Agreed, moral policing is undesirable and people should be able to express themselves. But where do we draw the line? Are people wise enough to realise this guy's motives behind his comments? Doesn't the media have the moral responsibility to at least consider the fact that he's craving for some limelight? They just choose the easier way out and blame the Sena. I am not a big fan of this club either but hey.. they do have a point sometimes. Their intervention in SRK's comments was right. I am not saying their motive behind it was right. They are just looking to influence people. The media takes one or the other person's side. We as the 'common' people should know better. Blogs are a great way to express yourself and question their sanities.

kuttappan said...

imagine an IG of Police having to come on TV with a mask to speak FOR truth and justice, just because it didnt go well with the politicos. Thats the level of interference and corruption of the system as you called it. Whether its WB or any other state, what you said is true. If the system gets hijacked by the political parties, then we are doomed. We should vote out such politicians who corrupt the system.

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