“MNS Mob fury!!”, “Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan for ST Status”, “BJP workers force down shutters, block highways”
These are just some of the headlines from our newspapers and news channels. Each headline representing some or the other political/social group holding a state or the nation at ransom to have their demands met. So are we turning from a peace loving, democratic nation to one that is ruled by hooligans of political parties?
The MNS rioting in Mumbai is a classical example of a political party deriving valuable vote bank mileage from its violent acts. When Maharashtra goes to elections next, Mr. Raj Thackerey would harp on his successes in making the life of the average Mumbai resident no less than hell. Yet the voting public would cheer, rather than condone, such acts. Who knows, it may even win him a substantial number of votes! After all, we Indians are known to forgive our politicians very quickly. Absolution is very cheap in our country.
The Gujjar agitation was a complete case in contrast. Without any direct political backing, a community led by a retired Army Colonel held the whole of Rajasthan and North India in its grip for a whole month. The reason, they wanted to be given reservation in the ST(Scheduled Tribe) quota. Roads and railways were blocked, with agitators damaging railway tracks to make sure rail traffic was disrupted till their demands were met. The Indian Railways incurred losses to the tune of millions of rupees. Now that the agitation is over, and the Gujjars have been promised of a special reservation quota, will the goverment send the Gujjars and their leaders a bill for the losses they caused? Naa, that won’t happen. Its not the government money, it is the taxpayers money that is laid to spoil. Our leaders sat in silence as several thousands of people had their lives affected with regional and national strikes!! And yet we forgive, forget and move on. What a great nation we are!!!
The most recent case is of the BJP & VHP calling a nation-wide bandh(strike) today. There are reports of protesters blocking road and rail traffic. The nation is being held to ransom again. People who earn their livelihood on a daily basis will go home with no money and no food to feed their families. Yet the political parties will gloat in their success at holding the entire nation at gunpoint!
So I ask, are we turning into a nation of rioters and hooligans?
There is one, and only one way to stop this menace. Make those responsible of such agitations to pay up! Ask MNS to pay up for every taxi its workers destroyed, ask Mr. Bainsla to pay those millions of rupees the Indian Railways lost due to the agitation he led, ask the BJP and VHP to pay up for the destruction and damage it has caused to property across the nation.
And while we are at it, send them bills for the lakhs of man-hours wasted by the police in controlling their crowds. Time that could have been spent in making our roads and our lives safer.
Some political leader, some political party needs to find its spine and take such action. But wait, is there any political party in India that HAS a spine in the first place?
George Lucas, in his movie Star Wars III made a very potent observation, in the form of a dialogue. I find it really apt as a closing quote to this post
So this is how democracy dies, with a thunderous applause