Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I was just reading the most recent buckets of rain post and happened to recall an article that I'd written for The Telegraph way back in April 2006. Ahh, nostalgia seeps in...


Jo log uncha sunte hain,unhe dhamakon ki zaroorat hei.
- -- Karan in Rang de Basanti

They say the youth are the backbone of our country. Well, unlike the friends of Rang de Basanti, I cannot conjure up any miraculous, not to say radical idea to make our politicians sit up and take the notice long overdue of our collective grievances. Honestly speaking, I don't see how we can make any overnight difference in the moribund political machinery of Bengal. Assassinating a minister doesn't really appeal to me. Bengalis are notorious for their inertia anyway. Neither will any of the local TV or radio channels care to put me on air to air my views (literally) since I don't resemble a celebrity, actually or potentially. Nor do I wish to die prematurely like Flight-Lieutenant Ajay Rathore in Rang de Basanti. Who knows – maybe I'll be remembered for my bad deeds rather than my good thoughts ! Not implausible, considering the fact that Veerappan and Abu Salem get more media mileage than the recent research proposals of Jadavpur University, where I occasionally take the trouble of attending classes. And of course,please don't offer me the alternative of student politics. Been there, done that. A rare SFI supporter in my graduation years, I soon suffered the shell-shock of Lakshman Pandey during my apprenticeship period and withdrew just in time to save my ideological spine. The shock of disillusionment was more severe perhaps since I had hitherto been cushioned from day-to-day actualities by the solipsistic Romantic poetry of Keats and Coleridge. I realized that I had been too estranged from practical possibilities. Like DJ, Sonia or Karan, I needed a Rang de Basanti to jolt me out of my complacent stupor into an urgent desire to matter, to shape (however ineffectually) the course of events rather than just be shaped by them. To be a good citizen and not merely a good student. Maybe, I thought, I should just vote.

Hold on. I'll pre-empt the arguments you'll offer to invalidate my choice. One vote cannot make or mar a government. True. If fake ration cards abound, so do false votes. True. Besides,the option of not voting for any of the projected candidates, a 'neither of the above' alternative is yet to materialize. (My mother's suggestion of 'not feeling like venturing out in the heat' doesn't count, by the way.) But the problem is tha tif each of us come up with similar excuses, as a mass, we are being apolitical and that itself is undoubtedly a dangerous political stance. Remember the proverb 'united we stand,divided we fall'? It still holds good, I've learned from my limited political experience. Neither Gandhi nor Bhagat Singh could show the path to utopia in Rang de Basanti. The passive protest before India Gate wasn't allowed to take place peacefully. Neither did the murder of the defence minister ultimately qualify as a cause for glorious martyrdom. What held the eye instead was the shot of multiple TV screens offering a collage of students voicing their disturbed diatribes on the immediate issue. In terms of ground realities,this would translate into voting. Change, like charity usually begins at home. And I for my part am still idealistic enough to speak through my vote. Maybe you could join me. Maybe we could create our own dhamaka. Think about it.

Well, it's a bit late in the day to comment on this perhaps, but I'd still say we do need a lot of fresh and young blood in the political arena right now to make a real difference. So I'm with you all the way, buckets , if you think my cheers would help urge you onto implementing your idealism some day soon !


Discovering M said...

united we stand. why cant we be united and NOT VOTE? you think that might make a difference ?

little boxes said...

i really cant thank you enough for this post...it makes me feel so much better.
i may or may not contest elections ever,but i shall remember these words of encouragement.
and to reply to the comment above,i dont really think there's anything as ridiculous as that.it's our right...not voting would be like trampling our right underfoot.we wouldnt give up our right to expression,would we?then why should we compromise on this right of ours?

Casuarina said...

@ Discovering M : I think Little Boxes has stepped in and spoken quite effectively for me. So I leave you to ponder over that ! :-)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin