Saturday, December 6, 2008

Enough of Indifference

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.

10 comments:

Babu Bhaskaran said...

Absolutely! I agree. But, the ways that we assume will help us may actually not. I have tried to think of what can and should be done. All options from all corners seem to tell me that it is either the terrorists or us. It cannot be both. Weeding them out right from the roots is probalby the answer.

Ubheydeep Singh said...

I am amazed how people have got affected when it happened in Mumbai. I was thinking about people of Jammu and Kashmir! For them its is something that they must have witnessed several times. But then we never thought about being into action when they suffered. Its now that when we are feeling vulnerable we are talking about some action. I feel the problem is rightly the indifference as mentioned by Iyer Sir. But to me that indifference is towards unity or India as one nation rather than collection of states and communities. I am feeling amashed of myself when i used to watch tv and hear people cry on attacks in J&K. I feel ashamed how indifferent i was to their suffering. I think we should learn some patriotism from the western world. I feel we Indians were never patriot. We always lived in communities and in religions rather than Nation. They were britishers who made us patriot at that time also. I believe we as humans beings should stop being concerned about ourselves only. Lets not talk about action only in Metros. Lets not talk about help to people of Mumbai but whole India. I believe Unity is the only way by which we can tackle terrorism.

Amit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amit said...

Hi...NSIyer...happy to see you here...for past ten years there have several events which have rocked Mumbai the cowardly acts of terrorists...whther is was stock exchange or it was the trains, the riots...and then...the flooding of parts of Mumbai... and as always Mumbai would be normal just a day later of the event as if nothing ever happened in ths city and mumbaikars prided themselves by calling this as RESILIENT mumbai....and I would call it insensitive or coward Mumbai....Mumbai which started behaving as if its just I, me and myself....One silver lining post this times' terrorists attack has been a change...becoming sensitive and united Mumbai..Mumbai and the country asking for action...meaningful and definite action...I hope our zeal and resolve to have it lasts ...I hope we do not again give up..and start focussing on daily chores... do not end up having a short memory, a weakness on which our politicians thrive...
One more thing we need to change is stop blaming the politicians...but start partcipating in politices and let the best of the talent go in for politics and not look at it as if its a career only for scoundrels fo teh society....How I wish it was like the USA, where in the best of business leaders, prfessionals would be in politics....How I wish Ratan Tata was one of the ministers / political leaders of this country...

Kavi said...

This is such a beautiful post and the resolve that you have demonstrated in terms of meaningful implementable action points are so fabulous.

We need to carry it through and forward. I am more than eager to get started.

It is indeed wonderful to stay connected and learn from you sir !

Rabiya said...

Mumbai has remained indifferent for a very long time...it is not good to forget and forgive always...

nsiyer said...

Thanks Babu, Ubheydeep,Amit,Kavi and Rabiya for your very different thoughts and way of looking at things.
Let us get started - small drops make an ocean. Why don't we create a vision and rally people around it?

VEDVIKAS said...

Your Blog is quite interesting and refreshing with your candid and clear expression

Dr.S.Kannan
http://www.vedvikas.blogspot.com/

Sania Mahajan said...

The fact is that though the attack on Mumbai did raise the hackles of the middle/upper-class Mumbaikar, the assembly elections which took place across our country soon after actually gave the party in power extra seats! While saving-our-country-from-terrorists might be an election winner in countries like the US, looks like the 'real India' has much bigger worries than the possibility of a terrorist strike.

nsiyer said...

Thanks Dr. Kannan for your valuable comments.

Thanks Sania for those distinctive thoughts.Yes,that is why, earlier too, the 'India Shining Story' did not work for the BJP.