Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Popular agitations and public protests have been largely fashioned and embroidered as a ‘get-together of groups out on the streets having a facebook birth to share in common’ regardless of the issues and matters concerned. In other words celebrating the scope of ‘social networking’ beyond the cyber space. The ‘facebook model of mass protest’ begins with Egyptians right from the much heard, most viewed and best copied ‘Tahrir Square’ , but it does not end there. It spreads across the borders. Bloggers, facebook friends, online activists, writers across the countries join together on the steps of the capital cities singing the hymn ‘power in people is much stronger than people in power’. And what happens is; perceptions become headlines and emotions and sensations, to a large extend, continue to dominate the debate. Film stars and other celebrities reach out to the public and tagging a flamboyant label on their empty luggage of public interest. Our screen heroes showing their thumps up through micro blogging sites and the entire events turn out to be a national best seller story or a youth roaring success. Further, television anchors extend the span of their shows by coming out of the studio to a rather busy coffee shop right in the middle of capital cities to have a livelier debating feast.
Among the so called protests commenced so far across the globe, starting from Egypt then Sudan, Bahrain, Libya and recently London, the India specific side of the story is the most up to date and in a sense significantly ‘hottest’ in the list. All these outrages do necessarily share something in common and that leads all of us to a robust equation of ‘connecting through chatting to meeting’. But India could have chosen a better craft of storytelling. Our great nation, the world’s largest democracy had exercised its prior general election two years back. The country; where around 70% of its estimated 1.3 billion population are less than 35 years of age and of course many of them indisputably first-time voters, appointed the new government in the office through the world’s largest free and fair democratic election process. And it was the 15th general election in our country. We the people of India are enormously au fait with democratic system and parliamentary government. Now the major cities in the country are on an emergency like situation. Despite the fact that there are effective mechanisms in our country and we are dealing with our problems, spotting the culprits and punishing the robbers in our systematic way of procedure even if not as speedy as someone would want to, we are challenging the primary principles of democracy and the basics of our constitution. And the solution is a systematic self correcting course of actions without damaging the supremacy of our parliament and pre-eminence of our constitution. Law cannot and should not be made out on the streets of Delhi or Chennai or Bangalore.
Here is a Gandhian rights activist, Anna Hazare , Few spiritual leaders including an affluent Yoga teacher, and a group of youngsters seem to have trivialised Gandhi’s well experimented and well succeeded principle of ‘sathyagraha’ by ‘demanding’ instead of ‘urging’ as Gandhiji had applied sathyagraha as an effective tool to get things done. Protesters go on ‘fast unto death’ proposing a demand to be approved contained by a specific deadline. If Gandhiji was alive he would have gone on ‘fast unto death’ against these protesters! But remembering the cliched statement that, ‘India is a land of paradoxes’ makes things quite unsurprising to an extent. We have done huge enough to Gandhiji quite early in the post independence history. He conferred his life on a long lasting struggle for freedom of our country and in return we shot him down brutally! India indeed is a land of paradox! It took us more than three score long years to have a debate on the fundamentals of the Gandhian philosophy of ‘fast unto death’. We trivialise, misuse and underestimate the message and meaning of ‘fast unto death’.
What makes Hazare’s movement lively and sensational? Is that ‘sathyagraha’? It is not the case; if it was the factor no one would have ignored ‘Irom Sharmila’. She has been on her ‘sathyagraha’ for eleven years. Then what makes Hazare a national hero? Here comes the truth of the perception v/s reality debate. Here comes theory v/s practical debate and here comes the emotion V/S action debate. Hazare is getting tremendous support from the ‘netizens’ of metropolitan cities where figures showing an unprecedented ‘diffusion of internet’ happening recently. The protesters having glamorous Bollywood stars on their side and are making politics and politicians our enimies. Pointing fingers at politicians for what is going wrong is likely to become an area of interest for media. And the Bollywood stars make the protest an issue of ‘public interest’. Now the anti corruption protest turned out to be an ‘anti constitutional’ disagreement; a disagreement on the fundamental principle of supremacy of parliament.
Fight against corruption is the only way out to ‘reconstruct’ our demolished ‘incredible India’ from being a ‘country of scam’. Corruption and corruptive elements in our system should be terminated. No questions about that. Now the scam after scam has put our system on trial. Let our elected representatives’ act on behalf of us. Let the shrine of our democracy function fairly. Let not a chosen few overact against the fundamentals of our democracy and parliamentary system. And let not politically biased activists hijack our right to protest for petty political scoring. And let not forget the primary reason for us to hug each other that “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC”.
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
London has been a riotous trench for more than a half week time period. Hostility and violence initially broke out in Tottenham in north London. Now the chaos extends to spread through major cities. Despite the reason behind the outrageous retort by the youngsters in the country, the entire shape and flow of the so called protest has been largely hijacked and the control has been profoundly taken over by the gangsters, anti social groups and certainly the criminals of the pockets in the city. The primary indications and the manner of the riot suggest that the protesters demonstration in Tottenham against the deadly police shooting has nothing to do with the ongoing insurgency which causes a major law and order threat in the country. The British history can never be quoted anywhere in any context without referring to the history of riot, revolt and rebellion. The empire has seen many of its kind and even devastating than the fresh violence erupted this weekend. But the only difference is that, this time they are facing a huge stone pelt and an unprecedented fury from the youngsters on their home ground. The statement of the prime minister David Cameroon that “if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to get punished”, indicates the retaliation is soon to be set off. Starting out investigations, setting out probe squads, recalling the parliament and arresting the suspects; the courses of action and formalities have set up and moved on. But the story never ends here. Britain has a long way ahead and that too politically, socially and morally blurred to pick and mix the possible clues to answer the question ‘what made London riotous and what went wrong?’
It has been more than two decades when a similar riot erupted in Brixton and Toxteth of south London in 1981. Things have been changed and England and London in particular has moved on. But some realities still left deliberately unpicked and wilfully unattended. Both riots seem to have something to share in common, and that is unfortunately revealing the old-fashioned racist countenance of western entity. The issue is as old as the British history and not likely to have an abrupt end. This topic is simply another much debated historic shame on the entire western world. Now what brings an attention from a youth perspective to the fresh violence and extraordinary riot in London? What is robust about London riot? The answer is strange but true.!! The course of events happened in the cities for the last few days is unparallel and unprecedented; no doubts or questions about that. But these events have become all of a sudden organised, shaped and directed sharply to certain targets. A genuine protest against the fatal police shooting became a sequence of organised crimes, robberies and loots throughout the cities. And interestingly the shops and stores which were massively looted and robbed can be listed under the similar kinds. Who hijacked the protest? What are they protesting for? Do you believe those who plunder ‘sports stores, and ‘electronics shops’ and stealing whatever comes in their hand are protesting against any of the recent policies of Cameroon Government? Or are they responding against the economic turmoil or financial down turn? When people all over the world watching a riot victim has been burgled by a group of people live on television, there must be a serious moral crisis and a profound humane smash up somewhere in the society. These people have to be dealt with.
And the active participants in the riot have a proven track record as all of them were native Londoners rather than just landed foreigners. An average London youth seems to be a walking ‘multi brand advert’ wearing new generation ‘Adidas, Nike, Reebok and so called brand weights from head to toe. And fortunately or unfortunately they are ‘most entertained and least informed’ generation. They are frustrated not because of the global warming, or recession or food crisis in third world countries; they are frustrated and highly desperate simply because they are stopped and asked by the shop keepers for their age proving identity when they are about to pay for a bottle of alcohol. They don’t like to confront with the fact that they are below 18 and buying liquor is illegal. They are frustrated not because of the growing credit crunch, but simply because they are stopped and searched by the security when they are about a feet distance away to escape to the street with a stolen item in their pocket.
London has to work hard to restore the normal life and to rebuild the wrecked city. As the ‘Olympics’ is only a few months away, it is important to ensure the internal security and infrastructural safety. Another good Monday will reopen the streets of inner London. Time will heal all the chaos and uncertainties. Tomorrow will never be the same for sure and of course another bad week will be added to the history of the great city. But above all one thing will remain the same, and that is the first week of August in 20011 was an awful week. I am not sure whether the answer to the question that ‘what made London riotous’ will ever be debated or not...!!