Thursday, April 21, 2011

Now is the Time

For last couple of years, i have been blogging  on topics that matter to me, on movies, on books, on social issues, on current affairs. I have been tracking the news closely, the scandals, the revelations in the media, the scams, the chicanery of our political class.  I have seen people rising against the tryanical regimes in Libya, Syria, Egypt, i have seen the power of the people in Egypt, where a corrupt dictator Hosni Mubarak was forced to quit. I have seen Governments in cahoots with big business and corporate media, cover up their crimes, using the excuse of  Strategic Interest  and the bogeyman of  Anarchy, to frighten people into submission. For too long, i have been just patiently watching the way Govts and political leaders have been failing to fulfil our aspirations. But there comes a time in history, when nothing can stop the anger of the people from exploding against the elite.   2011 is that year, it started with an Tunisian vendor immolating himself  after the corrupt police harassed him. That one immolation set off a spark of rage  against the Tunisian Government, which spread to Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak's  decades old rule of corruption and misrule was bought to an end, and now rages at it's  fiercest in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain where repression by the Govts has been unable to control the rage.

But the events in the Arab nations, Africa and now in India, have shown that the established order is not ready to give up it's privileges.  The establishment  consists of a whole lot of actors, apart from political leaders, it also has the business lobbies,  corporate media, "intellectuals and media experts" who are nothing more than glorified PR agents for their masters, the bureaucracy  and of course the hangers on who have benefited. Bloated on tax payer's money,  arrogant and condescending towards the masses and ordinary people, shut up in their cozy ivory towers, these people have their own cozy networks.  Don't get fooled by their isms and ideologies, be they right, center or left, all of them enjoy the same system that acts like a giant leech,sucking up the blood of the ordinary people. Their support to causes is opportunistic, guided by their own benefit.  When  the cause benefits them, they  will enthusiastically  support it, but when the same cause  hits on their benefits, they will vocally denounce it.  That is because they have no spine, no moral fiber, to stand up for a cause, to believe in something.  Making use of smooth communication skills, and using their lackeys in the media, they  have been selling us down the path for the last couple of years, making fools of us with their perceived "knowledge"  and "wisdom"  most of which is usually  imported knowledge.

But  as the Anna Hazare agitation, and it's aftermath has shown, these "intellectuals, media experts" have been shown up for what they actually were "Emperors with no Clothes".  Because these emperors have never ever left  the comfort of their Ivory towers, they never really had to work for a living, they never really had to live the life of a common man. Who are these so called "intellectuals and experts"?  Ex bureaucrats, diplomats, academics  all of whom have been enjoying on the tax payers money, doing precious nothing during their life time, and after retirement  sitting and writing  nice columns with fancy quotes.  These arm chair experts have never engaged with the ordinary people, never  led a mass movement in their life, never  ever stepped out of  their cushy environment to actually experience what we the ordinary Indians face every day.  And when some one is able to engage the masses, these people feel jealous, feel insecure, begin to make disparaging comments on those who do. Anna Hazare was not the first, these same "intellectuals"  also disparaged  Abdul Kalam, Mahatma Gandhi, Jayaprakash Narayan too, calling them "quaint"  and "obsolete".

For too long,  public discourse in  India has been hijacked by "isms" and "ideologies", these isms and ideologies have permeated right down to every section of  Indian society, making  it  rotten to the core. Issues are discussed and debated  not on the basis of  their merit, but on "isms". There is no effort to see the actual issue,  discourse has just become a favorite past time of scoring  brownie points. Most of these intellectuals are no better than those religious preachers who go about "My religion better than yours".  Now is the time for us to step in and throw out these people  from the discourse. And for that a total revolution is needed, we are only  focusing on political corruption, but the rot in  India is  deep.  Education, health care,  bureaucracy, media,  social sector NGO's, corporate world,  farming  each and every sector in India is  corrupted.  Packed with  mediocre yes men and women, whose sole qualification  is  sucking up to their masters, the institutions are rotting away.   

When I say we need a total revolution and change, it is not just  change of  people or institutions. It is also the change of  the mindset  that is prevailing.  We need to get out of  our existing mindset. We need to stop taking every thing for granted or at face value.  Would we buy  a car  whose  engine is malfunctioning  or  a dress that is  torn ?  Then why are we putting up with institutions and people who are perpetually malfunctioning. Why do we allow ourselves to be fooled continuously by charlatans?  It is because of our ignorance and apathy.  The politicians fool us with their promises, because  we are ignorant.  The business men exploit us, because as consumers we are again ignorant.  The  intellectuals and media experts fool us, into believing they are wise and knowledgable, again because of our own ignorance. And the ignorance is not due to lack of information, it is because we are too lazy to go and search for it. It  is ironic, that in a world where information is just a click away, most of  us  remain comfortable in our ignorance of  issues that matter. 

Is this the kind of  world we want to give our children and grandchildren?  Is this the kind of  living and thought that we want our children to follow?  Do we want to create a place where honesty and integrity are rated as "outdated"  values?  Remember one thing great empires collapsed, when their moral fibre became weak,  it  as true  of the Romans  as it is  of the Greeks or the Mughals or the Guptas. I am not a right wing or left wing or a left liberal or right conservative, those labels are for others to decide. I don't  even know what name to give to my ideas or thoughts. All i know is I am just an ordinary man, making a living, disgusted and fed up with the state of affairs. I can continue to keep making a living, but  something in me tells me to do so, would be self delusion.  Change can't be accomplished only by one person, it  needs a whole lot of people. I am not a leader or a hero, i am just an ordinary man, seeking other like minded people.  We need to create a new form of discourse, a new ideology or ism, where the focus is on the people first. We need to create a new society  where every one has a place from the humble rickshaw puller to the CEO of a MNC, from a farmer in the fields to  an intellectual in an university. We firmly believe that each and every person in society has a place to contribute, and no profession is inferior or superior. The work of  a sweeper who cleans the streets  is as much important  as that of  a scientist who designs space satellites.

Today i am asking all like minded people to join together, either as a movement or a group, whichever you feel free. The older ideas  have outlived their purpose and utility, this is the time for us to formulate our ideas, our thinking.  I am keeping my blog open for any who wishes to contribute. This is  only a step forward, we need more people, to come in with ideas, with solutions. 


RADHIKA said...

Ignorance is not due to lack of Information, it is because we are TOO LAZY to go & search for it.

Bandabairagi said...

Ratnakar Ji ...

Count me in for whatever you do ... Whatever you expressed here echoes what I feel ,albeit in different words ... Whatever you said can't be debated and is correct in all its entirety.... thankfully such ppl yield little or no INFLUENCE, it may appear otherwise.

It was indeed a pleasure to read ur expression which really seemed to be coming from my mind