Putting down useless words on paper was the besetting sin of the 20th century; putting them online is that of the 21st.
I believe this is the only justification for my blog.
On my way to office last week, I was stopped by a group of protestors near Neelayam theatre. I wasn’t entirely sure who they were, what they were protesting against or why I had been stopped. The leader – a tall cadaverous looking fellow, asked me quite politely to step down from my car. I declined equally politely, turned back and zoomed off, much to the disgust of his merry men.
I discovered later that the cause of this protest (in Pune, Maharashtra) was the decapitation of a statue of Mr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh). This in itself was disturbing; I do not remember the last time that repercussions of a hate crime manifested themselves so pervasively in such a short time. Vehicles were burnt in Pune, shops were looted in Chinchwad, scores of civilians were indiscriminately attacked by mobs and police alike and seven bogies of the Deccan Queen were torched. The ‘elaborate mechanism of democratic law and order’ that we learn about in our History textbooks, went kaput.
While many found it incredible that such things could happen to ‘a civilized nation in the 21st century’, that a defacing of a statue could result in such a bizarre display of raw fury, there were others who opined that it was a disaster waiting to happen.
Any competent analyst will tell you that major failures are the result of cumulative errors. So what were the factors that led to this rampant anarchy across three states?
1. The inadequacy of the existing system for ensuring law and order irrespective of caste
(the Bhandara incident where a family of four Dalits, including two women, was killed)
2. The growing gulf between the oblivious few and the unfortunate many
3. The internal strife between Dalit political leaders
4. Sheer apathy on the part of the so-called upper caste sections of Hindu society
(to be continued…)