Saturday, December 6, 2008

My World Is Smaller Now

Sometimes we think that if we don't look, then its not happening. Some of us won't acknowledge something because if we did and it wasn't right then our conscience won't allow us to sleep. So go on believing that the world is a very big place and all the bad stuff happens to other people. It won't happen to us and that's a desperate hope we live in and deep down we ignore that small little thought that says - you know that's not true. But we bury it and carry on. And then one day, everything changes. We become - the other people.


I had always heard that there are three kinds of people - those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and then those who wonder what happened. Today I understand this as my own thought and not another's wisdom.


The terror attacks in Mumbai have rocked my boat. Hell they've rocked a lot of boats. I have never seen my fellow Indians express their sentiments towards the political atmosphere the way they have. I applaud the relentless media coverage that made the world smaller however, I do feel that there is a difference between reporting facts and reporting facts with judgement. I saw some journalists/ news men become human. Perhaps it was difficult for them too. Hatred when naked can not be ignored. It burns through a lot of things. In India it burnt though cushioned seats of a few politicians.


I read the newspaper cover to cover last Sunday. Devouring the facts. I was curious to know how young men who could've done so much with their lives be convinced to give it all up and to my horror in the name of morality and jihad. A line in the center spread that day caught my eye. A hostage woman at the Oberoi asked her killers - "why are you doing this?" And the answer was - "What did you do? Train mein. Godhra Mein".


Every action has a reaction and what we saw in Mumbai from the night of 26Th of November 2008 until 29Th November 2008 was not an independent action. It was a reaction. It is difficult for me to express myself but I would try. What happened in Gujarat in 2002 should have been stopped. But you see it was happening to someone else. It was not happening in my backyard. I had not lost a loved one. My sisters were not being raped and my mother was not being killed. My father and brothers were not shot. So it was happening to some one else. I am not alone.


Nations at times behave like people. They turn their back on an event in the hope that it would go away. And that's how we contribute to the destiny of our lives. What goes around, comes around. United States turned a blind eye when 800,000 Muslims were executed by the Serbs in Bosnia. The allies didn't stir when millions of Jews were executed in Auschwitz. Children and women sent to gas chambers. Saddam Hussein allowed "Chemical Ali" to carry out genocide and kill innocent civilian Kurds in Iran and the most powerful nations continued to provide financial aid to Iraq. In a lot of cases they even refused to use the term genocide because the United Nations Charter had stated that the world community has to respond to genocide happening anywhere through peace or through force.


Today is the anniversary of the Babri masjid demolition. A day when the fabric of my country changed forever. When the divide became apparent. That was the beginning of a lot of sad things. And it was all done in the name of righteousness. When Muslims avenge their brothers, they kill their brothers too. A bullet knows no religion. We have made the world un-safe for our children.


Shashi Tharoor spoke on NDTV last night during a debate/ discussion with Srinivasan Jain. He said that the middle class in India had left the politicians alone to do whatever they wanted to do. They didn't want to vote. They paid their taxes and hoped against hope that their money (read sweat/ blood) would be put to good use. But 26 November 2008 changed all that. Suddenly the entire middle class sat up and realised that the policy makers have left no room for them to breathe. The policy makers in my country give my police force a wooden stick to combat a terrorist carrying AK-47. The policy makers (read government servant) have left the boundaries of my country porous for infiltrators and smugglers to walk in and out at will. The policy makers get Z category security while I tremble in the 6.00 PM local from Churchgate to Borivali. The policy makers do not educate the children of the poor. They lead farmers to commit suicide. They reward martyrs through money and then forget about them completely. The budget makers do not allocate resources in such a way that a hawaldar's children go to decent schools. Every child has a right to an education and every man has a right to earn a living. My policy makers have robbed my countrymen of even these. An average politicians skin must be as thick as the distance between Sonia Gandhi and LK Advani or the distance between Mr.Kalam and Pappu Yadav. I heard Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was worried about the public anger.


Mrs. Gandhi should know that they twisted everything because they failed us. All of them. As a faceless middle class taxpayer I have been ignored too long. And also, I have been tolerant so far. However, they have changed the rules of the game. Now the Politicians know that they are being watched and closely.


When the anger subsides my thoughts are these - Will I continue to demand that action be taken by someone else or will I get up, roll my sleeves and get going? What can I do and how do I go about it? I know I am not alone and that I will find those who seek the truth and want action taken.


I have a right to better systems in this country and they better listen.


My world is smaller and very connected today. Assam is not too far and neither is Kashmir. I don't want to listen to those who tell me that I am from this region or this religion. I am a good human being and an Indian. And then a Muslim. End of story.


My legal system needs to address the need to keep such individuals who divide us in any name, away from the public. Far away in a locker with no window.

I heard someone quote Martin Luther King - Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Be the change you want see.

2 comments:

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

Bravo. Very well said. Extremely clear and the train of thought so well organised...

On a lighter note, you should work yourself into an anger every time you decide to write ;-)if this is the kinda output one can get to read.

shazia said...

I was watching CNN's documentary - Scream Bloody Murder - when I decided to write this. It made me very angry. And I myself thought the same thing. Anger seems to be good. But words will be wasted without action.

And thank you for the compliment.