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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Good time for that white shirt

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Do you know what’s latest? It’s time of year month when people of India come out in large numbers wearing white clothes/black clothes/black armbands/red armbands and organize in mass prayer/candle light vigil/public solidarity/silent march and what not. Go my India go. Show them stupid terrorists that when they kill hundreds of ours, we still dare to come together and show publicly what a bunch a morons we are. After all, when has God listened to a prayer unless accompanied with grand display in public which disrupts normal traffic? And your display is sure to melt hearts of those hardened murderers. Don’t go to the victim’s house and give a shoulder to cry. Don’t commit your money to feed a family whose only breadwinner is gone. Don’t help them file the paperwork which will help them transgress bureaucracy to get whatever compensation is promised. That will be too much work and no one will see you. Go out with lighted candles so that only people who benefit from your act of solidarity are candle makers. May be you will get photo in the newspaper, isn’t that why you inform media before your public display of sympathy? Hey, don’t you know that candle light vigils are latest fashion in showing sympathy, pioneered by human right activists across the world and popularised by movies like Rang De Basanti.

You may not, of course, be at place where you can directly act. You may have already given your money to relief fund and blood to donation agencies. But you know what, you can do one thing that matters beyond all those armbands and candle light vigils. Go out and vote. Yes, it’s actually very simple. You even get a paid holiday to vote in India, and you can easily spare few hours. I am sure you know that voting percentage in India fluctuates between 40% to 60%. You also know that people like you vote least. Voting is only thing that will matter because that’s only language decision makers listen. Not your blog posts or newspaper editorials. Hey, but I know that’s better to spend election day at home watching movies. Why would you want to bother with voter registration when you can simply do duty for your nation by wearing that white shirt to work?

Lots of people, in rage mostly, ask what can they do. They display their helplessness. I’d say we can do many things but we don’t want to do. You can join army, police, security agencies (paid or unpaid); you can become informer to police; you can patrol our borders; you can infiltrate terrorists organization; you can lobby our government for suitable laws; etc. List is endless and limited by my imagination only. You may not be able to do all that but you can try. It will be risky, you will lose your current lifestyle, but didn’t you ask what can you do? You may not want to do any of these but next time don’t just ask what can you do because you know what can you do but you will not do it. Accept it and just shut up. Easiest is, you can vote, and that at least you should do.


Hemant said...

I dont agree with ur point. The white shirts and candles have done wonders in the cases against Manu Sharma. It shows the concern of the common people. I agree that voting and all other means of helping the country holds equally good, but everyone who cant do that (excluding voting) can atleast show their solidarity and concern through this.

I believe that Media is not called to see themselves on Television rather its a way to show it to the fellow countrymen that even this might provide enough symbol of dissatisfaction and also concern regarding the state of the nation. Media helps to create an impact and reach out to more and more people.

Ashish Gupta said...

My concern is precisely that empty show of solidarity rather than really acting. These gestures are mostly self-serving in convincing oneself that one is doing something for his country. I am not against public protests, if that's what you mean in case of Manu Sharma.

Regarding media, again, it's about "symbol of dissatisfaction". I think it's about time we do away with symbolic stuff and do something real. If symbolic acts are supplemented by real advocacy, I can understand, but that doesn't happen. Many colleges and organizations just do symbolic thing in front of media and that's it.

Cuckoo said...

Well, not only voting, there are many other ways to show this like by not paying tax.

But yes, right now voting seems to be appropriate but whom do we choose ? Will somebody from us like-minded come forward so that we can vote him to power ?

Ashish Gupta said...

Surely there are other ways but how is not paying taxes going to help anyone, except make your criminal and show your displeasure? We should ask for accountability for money rather than not paying taxes. Whom do we chose is biggest question. I don't have an answer. For one thing, even so called educated people are not so like minded to begin with. You just have to see differences in issue of reservation or Raj Thakrey politics to note that.

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