|(Pic Courtesy-Times of India)|
The recent ‘protest’ by the CM of Delhi has been called names, chief among them being ‘anarchy’. The CM is accused to have driven the state to an anarchical state by leading the protest. Friends and foes were up in arms about the means and the unconventional modus operandi of the protest. How can the CM force an established system to change ways? Are the state and its CM beyond the purview of the constitution? Has he not violated the constitution by taking his protest public when his prime job is to quash all public protests, which could have led to violence?
I am appalled to say the least when I heard and read the ‘learned’ make such comments in such pompous and holier-than-thou attitude and words which were quite a mouthful, meanings for many made me scamper towards the dictionary. I am not learned enough to understand the jargon and matters around the Constitution, Republic, etc. I don’t know much about Governance as I have seen more of the lack of it, so let me refrain from commenting on the 9pm-intelligentsia.
But what is beyond me is the raising of perfectly threaded eyebrows to certain issues. What are people upset with – is it David unsettling the Goliaths or the unconventional means of protest? As far as the confrontation of the fledgling political outfit of a David with the established political parties with all the paraphernalia at their beck and call – the world has seen the outcome and people are rejoicing at some glimmer of hope on the horizon. We have seen many instances of overconfident giants being relegated to defeat by relatively unknown or minor entities who stood no chance prior to the confrontation.
What baffles me the most is the hue and cry on the unconventional method of protest. Since childhood, we have been exposed to many unconventional methods of protest and none have bothered to question them.
When Gandhiji first mooted the idea of burning the ‘passes’, an obligatory identification document for all non-South African citizens in Johannesburg, wasn’t that against their constitution? When he further advised people to protest non-violently, wasn’t that unconventional? When he advised equality of all castes, wasn’t that against the then social order? When he suggested protests by burning all foreign imports, wasn’t that against law of the land? I can go on, but what is important to realize is that it was exactly these unconventional methods of protest that ushered in a change and need I mention, change for good.
Mythology too is witness to many an unconventional methods of protest. Sati jumped into the sacrificial fire to protest against her husband, Shiva’s insult. Today people will call it suicide, but then it was unconventional even for the gods, and it was so disturbing to Shiva that he literally lost his cool! In Ramayana, towards the end, when Rama is united with his sons, it was hinted to Sita that she should prove her chastity once again. Sita protested against the unfairness and decided to find refuge in Mother earth than submit. Wasn’t this an unconventional protest for a woman who had stood by every said and unsaid norm of the then society? Didn’t she question the laid down societal norm or convention?
Conventions lead to status-quo and a state of complacency for any establishment. While the unconventional disturbs the fabric of order, it does set in new rules of the game. Martin Luther King had once said, "One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change."
While the ‘protectors of status quo’ are up in arms, I am sincerely hoping that ‘fraternities of the indifferent’ will rise to the occasion, since ‘our very survival’ depends on our ability to accept this ‘challenge of change’.
While I am not holding a brief for the new David on the block, I do think that the nation needs a revolution. We need a change and change is what we need.
When a child is born, it causes unimaginable pain to the woman, but is the most joyous moment for the mother. On this Republic Day, we as citizens of India need to take a call, we want to endure like the woman in pain or enjoy like the joyous mother – a little discomfort notwithstanding.