Wake up India!
India needs more protests. It needs you.
Pilgrims died in Amarnath because of terrorists, a 16-year old Muslim youth was beaten to death on a train, with the attackers using his religion as an excuse, but West Bengal is witnessing its second communal riot in an year, however after protesting for over 40 days earlier this year, Tamil Nadu farmers will return to Delhi to renew their protests due to the inaction of the state government, and also, soldiers of both India and China are engaged in a face-off over a border dispute, while our Indian women’s football team has not played a friendly match since 2013, a show of the AIFF’s ignorance, at the same time in Nagaland-
Isn’t there just too much news in the world?
We are not even talking of the world actually; there are situations in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, USA…but the prospect of understanding our nation and its on-going developments is itself a daunting task.
Why are we talking all this? Things have changed in our world. Remember when Facebook used to allow you to change your DP color to the flag of a terror-struck nation? These were mostly European nations; so people asked ‘what about the Middle East? What about the African countries?’ So, FB stopped giving that option. Closer back home, when people protested against an issue, someone or the other would sit in a TV studio and smirk ‘Now they are angry, but what about when THAT OTHER issue took place?’ At some point, certain people started demanding of Pakistani actors to post on social media, expressing their anguish / anger / solidarity with respect to attacks involving Muslim terrorists in India. Otherwise, you know, they’re anti-national and should leave our country.
Moving on from the logic of that, we still have our essential question: if there is so much news about so much important happening (for now, in our nation), how do we sort out the ‘worthy enough to protest’ ones? On what basis? And hey, why is it my duty (a working / studying middle-class girl / guy) to be aware of everything wrong in the country? How many issues should I go out and protest against? I have my work / my studies / my fiance / my dog. Why should I bother?
The long-form answer is:
Everyone and everything starts somewhere. And the more you ignore it…today, our media is drawing attention to everything wrong in our nation, because God bless the Fourth Estate (including the consistently-outraged Arnab Goswami), the competition between them for the next big story is massive. But it can only draw attention; we are the ones who have to focus our attention and do something about it (and we have to account for the very real possibility of the media being biased). We have scheming (against each other) ministers and burdened judges, but even they leap into action when the people demand it of them; remember Nirbhaya, and the speed with which the new laws were drafted and the case was held?Who owns our news?
Additionally, we do not have other independent bodies for holding governments accountable to the public; we have a sort of Night’s Watch (our judiciary), but no great big wall to keep the threats out. There is no Lokpal, and Lokayukta, at least none with any teeth whatsoever. There is just…us.
There is truth behind the saying of ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’; we have to keep watch, to alert others when we see something wrong, and to make others do the same. Maybe this is not our job; maybe an institution will be able to do it best. But till then, we are the ones who have to do this job. And as with any job, we have to look at everything that matters. Because everything, every little place, every small news, matters. And if you choose to ignore it today, you will be the one crying tomorrow.
Originally published on my blog