I have been restless the whole of last week and have read the several outpourings on the Mumbai riots. Majority of them centre around anger, rage, despair and compassion. Much more than in 1993 or after the serial blasts that were witnessed some months back. This is necessary. But is this enough? Just enough to propel into action.
Considering the normal way we have behaved, and if past is any indicator, it will be not be surprising that there is calm after the storm, and we recede to predictable indifference. In such a case, anger, rage …. will die in no time. Indifference is, then, easy to set in. We can have innumerable reasons and justifications to fork out for our indifference. Our own work, the daily travel, inadequate time even for ourselves, reasons unending. Indifference places us on the comfortable zone since we are not asked anything out of the way to do. Indifference does not ask of us to be unreasonable with ourselves, and take the less treaded and more difficult path. Reasons, justifications and stories that we spin serve as wonderful cushions and crutches to put us into inaction. But we need to remember that the events of last week are the culmination of our collective indifference.
So, the million dollar question is ‘what do we do?’ I was on the telephone with my dear friend Hari and he was talking of ‘people’s movement’. He beautifully summarized and said let us take on what is meaningful, purposeful, measurable and immediately achievable (mind you Hari is no MBA). In this regard, he mentioned (a) availability of trained commandos at least at all the metropolis and other sensitive cities and towns, (b) educating and training people for such situations, and (c) galvanizing people into action ‘here and now’. The third point hit my chord and propelled me into action. I asked myself what was I doing? Am I also indifferent and do I continue to be so? If I am indifferent to acts that cause suffering, am I being ‘human’ at all?
Such questions do not leave me to rest, and no wonder I was restless. Answers did not easily come, and such answers never easily come for me. I said to myself ‘ proof of the pudding is in the eating’, and let me begin. I decided to enroll to the “Times of India – Mumbai Cares initiative”. I have decided to spend eight hours in a week for the victims of the blast and offer my personal services. I have decided to render all help to a child orphaned due to the latest attacks. And I have decided to undergo special training to sense and identify in advance such threats and happenings. A small but satisfying beginning.
The bigger agenda will be to galvanize ‘People to move the government into action’, and I have some good friends like Hari and Kavi to take it forward. The need of the hour is action, and a lot of accountability on our people and our government. Of course!, if the government does not act, like Hari said, responsible citizens will have to resort to the famous ‘Satyagraha’, which Indian history testifies has worked. Let us act so that so many of our loved children, grand children and great grand children can be saved.
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