I like what is happening in India. I approve of the fact that people from all walks of life are making their views heard on all issues…ranging from the Aamir Khan vs. the Gujarat government controversy to reservations to The DaVinci Code. It indicates that, to an extent, democracy is alive in the nation.
I say to an extent. And for a reason. The governmnt has ample evidence now that an overwhelming number of people are opposed to reservations. There are pro-quota people, no doubt. But Arjun Singh’s statement that the government will go ahead with reservations, no matter what, smacked strongly of autocracy. Does public opinion count for nothing?
Another thing about this whole mess that pissed me off was an article by Sharad Yadav which I read in Hindustan Times. He accuses the anti-reservationists of having an elitist mentality. He says that the upper castes still can’t bear the thought of lower castes being educated. What utter bullshit! Anti-reservationsits are against reservations…not education for all. Yadav is just a rabble-rouser who believes in circular arguments and logical fallacies to make his point.
Anyway..back to the point that I was initially making. I like what is happening because it indicates that we Indians are not passive spectators of political drama. We’re slowly beginning to make ourselves heard, loud and clear. It was always a mystery to me why we, who argue vociferously amongst ourselves about Sourav Ganguly and the BJP and petrol prices, never take to the streets to make a point. I suppose it is the regular middle-class mentality that we all have, “if it doesn’t affect me directly, I’ll not bother about it.”
I’m an armchair critic, of course. The only time I took to the streets was when I took part in a march protesting against the war on Iraq. But apart from that I’ve been content to just watch TV debates, read editorials and sign petitions.
Being pro-active is so important. It was the aam janta which forced the US government to pull out of Vietnam. But that is the stuff of legend already. A more immediate example would be of the French students who forced the government to pull out an employment bill that would’ve made holding down jobs difficult for students. That was ‘People Power’.
Of course, ‘People Power’ is not always successful. The student protests at Tiannenmen Square resulted in failure. But at least a point was made. Even today, we count the unknown student who faced-down a military tank as one of our modern day heroes. Such moments in history bring in fresh realization that we have the gift of reason and communication for a reason. We have to make ourselves heard…it doesn’t matter for what. Everyone has an opinion and every opinion has to be heard. Unlike what Arjun Singh said, the government cannot just go ahead with its decision, ‘no matter what’. This is our country, our government. We elected the people who sit in the Lok Sabha. They are there to serve us, to represent us…not to rule us.