Cause and Effect

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…)

5 Responses to “Cause and Effect”

  1. topsy-turvy December 9, 2006 at 8:42 am # Reply

    Ambedkar himself would have hated being a statue. In 1943 he wrote, “India is still par excellence a land of idolatry. There is idolatry in religion and in politics. Heroes and hero worship is a hard if unfortunate fact in India’s political life. Hero worship is demoralizing for the devotee and dangerous for the country.” The hero worship of Ambedkar has perhaps been the greatest failing of the modern dalit movement.


  2. Mukul Hinge December 10, 2006 at 9:53 pm # Reply

    I read Rajdeep’s article with great interest. It is insightful and thought-provoking. While I agree with most of his opinions, I don’t really think that the hero-worship of Ambedkar is the significant cause for the mindless behaviour we witnessed; the modern Dalit isn’t really as naive or impotent as he is made out to be…Political motivation (read Mayawati) might be a significant contributing factor.

  3. Bhisham December 21, 2006 at 1:00 am # Reply

    Yeah…political motivation definitely seems to be the main factor. But what is interesting is that Mayawati..the self appointed goddess of Dalits…doesn’t have much footing in Maharashtra..least of all in Pune and Mumbai!

  4. प्रिया January 10, 2007 at 9:29 am # Reply

    When is this going to be continued?

  5. Mukul Hinge January 14, 2007 at 10:19 pm # Reply

    When I get some breathing space 🙂

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