Sunday, December 23, 2012

calling the President

For several weeks now, I have been trying to spend more time doing things and less time watching things happen or reading about events ----so there is far less of television, but even with very limited viewing, I could not turn away from the disgusting spectacle of young men and women being lathi charged and water canoned on Raisina Hill. Any one with even half a heart, any one with a family,any one with a daughter or sister or wife or mother or girl friend will empathise with the anguish and anger and helplessness that the thousands pouring out at India Gate and Raisina Hill are giving voice to.

Law and order is no more than the name of a television serial to some of us, and a rather pathetic joke to everyone else.None of us feels safe on the roads of NCR, not women, not men,not teenagers, not senior citizens. The feeling of insecurity cuts across class and community. No one is safe. Period. 

So when a particularly brutal act of aggression takes place and a young girl shows the enormous courage to survive it,does the government express contrition at its dismal record of upholding citizen security and admiration at the amazing spirit of a young Indian? No. Instead, it pats the Delhi Police on the back. 

Does it reach out to the young men and women who are voicing the concern of each one of us ? Does it speak in a voice that seeks to reassure? No. It lathi charges them instead and clamps section 144 over the entire city. Are we living in a democracy, or are this country's rulers slowly beginning to emulate the Chinese? 

Would the need for a lathi charge have arisen if the President or the Prime Minister or the Home Minister had stepped out of his citadel, begged forgiveness of the crowd gathered at Raisina Hill, and promised prompt action?   Was there a threat of violence to the person of these worthy representatives of our democracy? If there wasn't, was it merely misplaced arrogance that prevented a dialogue? We already see the sorry spectacle every year of the Prime Minister addressing the nation from behind a bullet proof glass at Red Fort. Is every other public building and public funtionary going to be similarly fortified?  

Where was the young brigade, Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jayant Chaudhary, Deepinder Hooda? Could none of them have stepped forward and bravely faced  the crowd gathered at Raisina Hill? Or do they only pontificate from the safe confines of the Parliament, or public stages barricaded by gun toting commandos? 

More than the corruption scams of the past few years, these acts of callousness reinforce the belief that what this country needs is a revolution in thinking,a new paradigm, a fresh approach to nation building. The current systems stink. 


  1. You are being too kind to the political class; it isn't misplaced arrogance, it is utter, in-your-face contempt. But contempt specifically towards the middle-class, towards people like us, because as the post-26/11 protests and the subsequent election results half a year later showed, we may howl and scream, but when it comes to the part that really matter, i.e. elections, we cannot make a dent in their fortunes, even if we wish.

  2. Actually, the contempt towards the BPL and barely-above-the-BPL segments of the population is inbuilt in our anti poverty programs. It is the slow veering of the attitude towards the middle class from indifference to indulgence to arrogance that's new ----and I'd say its more to do with a deep rooted fear of what this segment of the population CAN achieve if it awakens and acts. It is only the middle class which considers itself the equal of the ruling class, the starving millions are still in the mai baap mode, and so much has happened between 26/11 and now that even if a material change doesn't take place in 2014, it WILL take place a couple of years later, in some part due to PILs, in some part due to progressive laws like RTI.