Monsoon of discontent


It is inexplicable that human beings have not fully understood the ambiguity and the multi-dimensionality of the word “change” as yet. Linguists would be able to explain the ambiguity and multi-dimensionality of the word better so for today’s Editorial, suffice it to say that there has never been a more seductive word than change for human beings, especially in the political, economic and social realms. Indubitably, succumbing to this word, the human race has made giant leaps in all spheres of human activities but the very same changes have also brought us down to the depths of despondency. Perhaps, nothing substantiates this more than the changes capitalism has wrought, which epitomizes “free” economies that India aspires to become. But capitalism comes with humongous excess baggage ~ an example being “nationalism” including this “sons of the soil” concept, which has changed the political, economic and social discourses in India and the USA ~ the world’s two largest democracy ~ both of which have completely turned democracy upside down today and have made it stand on its head. India today is beset with threats to the very ethos of the guiding principles of the Constitution ~ we see and experience it every day. The most frightening is the threat to personal liberties ~ which are pitied against skewed concepts of “nationalism”, by using technology irresponsibly to haunt the lives of citizens. If you are keeping yourself updated with the political, economic and social policies and proposals in the last four years or so, you do not need elaborations and explanations. If you aren’t keeping yourself updated on what’s happening around you, and even to you, you better wake up ~ and pronto. Yes, all sections of society begin agitating in the last year before parliamentary elections in India but this time there appears to be a confluence of agitated Indians ~ irrespective of the reasons for their protests. Farmers, bankers, traders, students, teachers, corporates ~ everyone is drenched by the Monsoon of discontent because the GDP doesn’t reflect anyone’s reality and oratorical skills no longer console and comfort. This has nothing to do with the recent by-elections to four Lok Sabha and eleven Assembly seats across the country ~ this has more to do with emptier pockets and purses, fear for one’s life and limbs seeing that one cannot hope to live a free life ~ in fact, nothing can be taken for granted as was the case for Indian citizens for decades. Yes, the aforesaid by-elections results were an indication of the confluence of agitated Indians. But these results are not a long term trajectories simply because we are still very enamoured by the word change and the problem is we are still in denial of the fact that political parties and politicians are incapable of ushering in change simply because when they use the word, they do not describe, define, elaborate and explain what exactly they means by the word “change”. When political parties and politicians are unable and unwilling to change, how can they change anything? When lies, promises, distortions, discriminations and downright disrespect for the citizen are their credo, how can they bring in change? And the worst thing is when even citizens become prisoners of ideological, economic and social habits and beliefs, how can they expect change from political parties and politicians who reinforce these habits and beliefs as the very foundations of “nationalism”? Change can be positive or negative but we don’t ask whether the promised change is either because we tend to internalize the misconception that all change is positive. And it is also true that in the face of utter desolation, we hold on to the last vestiges of the promise of change ~ and that is where political parties and politicians hold us by the neck and throttle us ~ paralyzing our vocal cords and our ability to reason, to question, to demand. Petrol and diesel prices were raised by rupees but reduced by paisas, prices of food and all other commodities are sky-rocketing ~ what we had taken for granted is not even our dream any more. This is the change we voted for; this is the development, unarticulated whether progressive or retrogressive, we voted for. To be fair to those we voted for said “change”, not silence. So we will have to live with their silence till the next elections ~ unless we want more silence to the arcane change that will always be promised.