Let’s just blame it on the complex times that we are living in. Gone are the simple days when Indians were ceased with a single challenge – that of overthrowing the British rule over India and securing the country’s freedom.
Gone are the days when food, shelter and clothing were the USP of people’s aspirations and endeavors. and the system’s responsibility.
Sixty five years into living with that hard fought freedom, Indians have no unifying cause. What they have instead, are existential hazards challenging every single aspect of their personal and public lives; hazards that are essentially a creation of a corrupt system; hazards that have woefully devalued their lives literally and metaphorically; hazards that have only further fragmented them as a society.
As ordinary Indians grapple with that Frankensteinian system, the society’s elite – its intelligentsia, thought leaders, opinionators, media, and the judiciary are simply going berserk in trying to – forget understand the challenges – simply cope with the sheer magnitude and variety of the challenges arising with every passing day.
So we have today, on a single day, an activist cartoonist being arrested on charges of SEDITION for allegedly disrespecting national symbols in his cartoons; we have a few thousand people including scores of women and very young children being galvanized into a mob protesting against the setting up of a nuclear power plant at Kundankulam, a coastal town in Tamil Nadu; we have a traffic cop being beaten up in Kashmir because he dared to stop the guards of a State minister from running a red traffic light; we have the ruling political party – unable to explain itself to the taxpayers – questioning the credibility of the Controller & Auditor General for is findings in the coal mining scam.
Well, this is not even the tip of the iceberg, as they say.
In one of the television discussions on the cartoonist case, I heard veteran cartoonist Sudhir Dhar saying, “You have to be a critique, not a cynic. With freedoms come responsibilities. So don’t burn yourself out.”
I couldn’t have found a better advice for myself as I try to keep my own perspectives from drowning in cynicism.