Friday, March 31, 2023

The ‘other’ voice

It can be said that our collective response to some of our existential threats at best has been lazy if not criminal eventually. Sentiment is very much alive; there are no two opinions about this very fact. Had the sentiment not been alive, how was it possible for the struggle, braving very heavy odds, to continue to inspire generation after generation with the just ideas of freedom and justice. With due respects to our collective sentiments what we at present however lack is a structured response. This brings us to a most critical question. In the absence of a structured response, is it possible for a sentimental reaction alone to guide this struggling nation towards the safety of shores? Our predicament virtually resembles with a person trapped in mire. More he violently struggles to come-out of the death-trap, deeper he gets trapped in the quagmire. Obviously our dilemmas are quite stark and profound. The more we struggle in the quest to reach collective and cherished destiny, the more vigorous becomes the process of disempowerment. And there is no ambiguity about this macabre fact; the more intense our struggles becomes, equally gets the process of disempowerment expedited. Therefore, shall we continue with the hazardous journey in search of our collective destiny, still at some distance away, or meanwhile also strive to contest the process of disempowerment? This seems to be our real dilemma. The all-out struggle rather vehemently rejects any notion of acquiescence with the system. In the meantime, we also appears to have taken to intellectual bashing, accusing them of having failed to live up to some ‘expectations’ of the society, without understanding what they could do to take us out of the morass of political uncertainty? Blaming intellectuals alone for people’s hardships or miseries and for the unresolved issue amounts to shying away from responsibilities that we have to shoulder for changing our fate. Especially, the political parties cannot escape from bringing this state to the brink of devastation that it’s been in, especially for the past more than twenty years. In an impulsive society where ‘might is right’ is the rule, can intellectuals be expected to play any constructive role? It’d be naive to think that a small elite group could change the fate of our people by writing or speaking unless it is backed by the political system. Intellectuals are not superhuman, or do not possess supernatural powers to ameliorate the wounds that the society is suffering from? They belong to the same society and suffer from the same ailments. How can they be expected to shape the future of the society when all around them there are corrupt politicians and leaders? What are, then, the “great expectations” that intellectuals have failed to live up to? Unless somebody spells them out, it would be difficult for them to understand and, thus, give their best to the society. In fact, our ailments are collective which one group alone will not be able to cure! Our problem is not intellectuals; it’s the political leadership, both mainstream and separatists. They refuse to listen to the ‘other’ voice because that would mean deviating from their respective stands. And it is a fact that in our state, the ‘other’ voice has always become a casualty. Clearly our society today is replete with political and social fault-lines and each, as it were, is programmed to trip in a quick succession with the lingering political conflict enhancing the troubling potential of each incident. There is rarely a period of extended calm. And longer such a peaceful period is, greater the ferocity of the incident that breaks it. The turmoil has become so much a part of the state that it is difficult to imagine the state without rattle of guns, fevered mobs, border clashes and communal tensions. Does this scenario offer a hope that the things can be better in future? Perhaps not! The problem is that the situation as it plays out is not accidental but inbuilt into the DNA of the state.