May 13, 2002

About:Silence

After all the ranting and raving, it has been awfully quiet around my little underthought corner of the blogworld of late. Guess I will have to agree with Arun on something that he said on the comments, better keep quiet if you have nothing to contribute. Or is that quite so?

Generally, life has been following the normal dull and dreary path, nothing much eventful happening [well, lots in fact, but they are too personal to be spewed all over here] the old moronic job continues, chicken still costs Rs. 75 a kilo in these parts, tomatoes are awfully bad now, and rice when bought in bulk saves you a lot of money. Well, that is as exciting as my life gets.

Well, not really. I have really been trying to slow down a bit, trying to take the pressure of setting the only target of job hopping in the next n number of days off me, trying to make sense of a lot of things including where we are headed as a nation, lots of personal issues, relationships and of course the brightest spot in them all, a daily dose of long winding and pleasurable conversations with a good friend whom I have had the pleasure of knowing very recently.

Communal riots have been happening for a long time in our country, they are nothing new. Even then Gujarat comes as a very scary exception. Before you run riot accusing me of a lot of things, let me make it clear that I am not your typical paranoia junkie. Relax, the aliens are still some time away from converting us to their religion. Still, this one is that is refusing to go away and the feeling that I get is not something nice.

One of the most basic issues is that how can something like this go on for such a long time [two plus months now] without someone being held accountable, or even the culprits being identified, all that we know is that faceless people are killing mostly innocent people. Why are they faceless? Or is it that we want them to be faceless as the darkness that veils the face also veils the mirror that shows only your own face.

Rioting on such a scale cannot go on when it is accidental or as the popular strain of thought goes "A normal reaction to what happened before it"and most of the media has documented that almost all of it is well thought out and planned. So who is taking all these orders? The people who give them are almost always in the open. The usual suspects, there is no ambiguity there. But for it to be implemented on such a large scale, the psyche of the general population has to be affected and this the one that has been scaring me the most.

This is where the second most important issue comes in. In fact, this should have been the most important, but it makes itself a bit more clearer when it is seen the context of the first. The issue is here is what is seen and perceived as acceptable behaviour and thought. Most of public action and reaction is guided by this and this is precisely why Gujarat is different from the so many riots that has happened out there.

The feeling I get is that Gujarat has changed what is publicly acceptable. It used to be unacceptable to be anything other than a pluralist or a person who used to value liberty and freedom of thought and choice for the individual. Now, we hear senior ministers and politicians speaking of the majority's angst, which can be used to justify any action. This works in both the ways of the cause and effect. The result being that more than seventy days on Gujarat is still burning.

No one is speaking against all this, it has become fashionable to talk about this Hindu angst and what is fashionable and seen as maverick is lapped up by the youth in hordes and with it goes the psyche of the next generation. The values that has made us precisely this poor but great nation today, is going down the drain in a matter of what 10 - 20 years.

Those of us who are not affected at all by the situation there, are being unknowingly programmed into this mode of thinking that as long you think you are the suppressed majority, anything goes. Tomorrow, when the same person is subject to a similar situation we also will refer to this same angst and so will a billion others who do not even have the requisite resources to get to any decent news which is not propaganda. When a country like ours, which has a long history of functional caste and religious systems, is subjected to such a strain of thought, it finds ready takers.

At this rate it will not be soon before you are faced with the same choice, do you join the mob and go burning the other community or stand your ground and do the needy. Or would the ground not exist at all because the acceptable mode of thought and action has changed now to eradicate the other community?

Julian Barnes, had written a piece on the Le Pen situation in France on the eve of the final round of voting there. Most of the things mentioned there will not apply here as we by nature are not a very politically literate country, if you consider the caste based politics that passes off comedy show. But there are a lot of questions there that applies for us.

The point Barnes makes is that even when Chiraq wins he would have lost and Le Pen would have won thorough his defeat. But, the thing to note there is that in the final round of voting, people did make a choice. They chose not to remain silent and spoke their mind out.

The choice they had was not the best, but if they had not made that choice, the other side would have become more powerful on account of the silence that the majority chose to maintain. There are great lessons in it for us. And if we learn it, good for us, otherwise I would not be very happy to know that sometime in the future I was slashed to shreds by 50 plus years of oppression that was built up in my best friend because we address God by different names.

Additions

My Blogrolls get a bit more longer today with a few new additions

Atul: Absence to date can be accounted to laziness on my part
Scott: Great blog for web developers [rated xtreme geek]
Be Blogging: Blogging Technology [rated xtreme geek]
Kanurite: Surely not very surreal!
Raspil: Honest and in your face [not for those who cannot stand strong language]

Raspil deserves a special mention here as the honesty with which she goes about writing things is commendable. Her language will put most of you off, if you do not have a strong tummy, with profanities matching the intensity with which she feels about the things she writes. My personal favourite is her take on sex. Brutal but honest, do not say I did not warn you!