Wednesday, December 22, 2004

When a big tree tree falls….

Let me begin with a frank question. How many of you ever knew that something bad happened in 1984. I did not until yesterday. If you did know about this then you will have to excuse the naiveté of your shameless friend other wise read on.
In the October of 1984, the then prime minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards for being stern on Sikh radicals. All the hell broke loose in the following 3 days. Thousands of Sikhs were butchered by congress-sponsored hooligans. Police remained mute spectators while truckloads of corpses were hauled away. What Delhi was in 1984 was Ahmedabad in 2002.
During those dark days, my temperament was fortunate enough not to understand those horrible things committed.
Indians have somehow learned the knack of overlooking the significance of the deaths of thousands of its peoples. Someone put it euphemistically as learning to live in the face of all odds. But the stark reality is that we let incidents like this happen all over again. The government has done a meticulous job of wiping all instances of its pogroms from its history textbooks. I am amazed that I did not come to know about all this for I was not a very bad student after all. It took two films ‘Kaya Taran’ and ‘Amu’ on this subject for the matter to come up any where near the top of the list of items in the news aggregator. I went around the net in a shameful gait looking for related articles. I found many. I saw them all. Agony of a bygone era screaming across the Internet. A truck load of bodies hauled away. A mongrel having its day out. An orphaned child looking into an uncertain future. Gurudwaras been vandalised. The Shame still lingers on: After the violence, all the gurudwaras decided to have a defense of a 10 feet high wall. This practice is continued till date. Protection from its own country and from its own countrymen. As Khuswant Singh said, to be a Sikh in Delhi during that time is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany. How can this horror be muted. If only the government showed this kind of diligence into less barbaric endeavours…..
It is more than obvious that the government encouraged this vandalism. They let the hooligans loose on to the streets of Delhi for 3 days and when the last of the Sikh community was wiped out, they called the army which immediately put the horror to rest. Had they done this simple and obvious thing 3 days before, so many lives could have been saved. Who knows probably we could have had another Khuswant Singh.
I did not specifically consider Rajiv Gandhi a scoundrel. But I am still coming in terms of the reality. For, this is what he said when he was asked about the violence against Sikhs in the days after Indira Gandhi’s death: “When a big tree falls, the earth trembles”.
One can only get misanthropic after going through all the horrors in its most mind-numbing details. Then there is Hope.
With the advent of the Internet the kind of ignorance engineered into people’s minds by the government is hard to sustain if not impossible. Where else can one get to the most democratic source of information?
If you are convinced that Internet is the elixir of democracy, then join me in a moment of adoration: For all its failings, God bless the Net.

7 comments:

Parthiban said...

Dear Antoji,
True, that internet is a real source of *true* information, till date. But do u know that ppl (educated and socially interested ppl) thougt your way when print media came out in the early 20th century. They used it to fight against the British. But do you know that the same media was used for spreading false newses(what is the plural of news) in the last quarter of the 20th century, without which the *MKs (parties) wouldn't have become famous in TN. Simply said 'repeated lies, repeated by more ppl, will become true'.
Again that is what happen with the TV and radio today. I simply cant control my anger, when I hear the way some of the news are *read* in SUN TV and for that matter, I never watch Jaya TV.

Hope the net doesn't become a place like that. But beware! our ppl have all the potential to make it a hell of lies.

Anonymous said...

All these strong views that we hold, innumerable articles that we read and write...all these fade out in comparison with what an individual faces when he/she is forced to come face to face with reality. We talk endlessly about these things....secularism, riots, politicians and what not....all the time we have a feeling that these are things that happen in some distant lands and we are supposed to just hold views and pass judgements about these incidents. But I would like to put myself in the shoes (literally) of that individual who is in the middle of a riot....I am an honest religious individual leading my own sweet life in a small private world and here I am dragged from that world into the dirty reality on streets of rage and naked fury of nameless faces bent on proving a point by sacrificing my life!!! It is really difficult to get a sleep after imagining something like that....

Newspapers, TV, radio and the internet...all these are undoubtably great instruments of shaping public opinion....but this insanity would never stop until we learn to value human life...though I hate to make this comparison...in US, every individual's life is valued very highly and a murder in some small county would attract lot of public attention and the justice system would deliver a quick and fatal blow to the perpetrators of the crime. Here to make news, atleast 30 people have to be dead and we take it with a lot more casually than it ought to be. We would never succeed as a race until we learn to respect the value and beauty of a human life.

This generation has failed and I sincerely hope that with the inroads that the education makes in the future the next generation atleast might be able to stand up to the challenge.

Fathima said...

Net gives free information????? S. Only to a certain limit. Hope everyone knows that last year, as a yahoogroup was discussing something against the local government bodies in that North-Eastern state of India, it was banned.So Yahoo was asked to ban the group. But Yahoo denied it.So order was issued to all ISP providers in India to ban the site, and some ISPs dint know how to ban that particular yahoogroup alone & hence restricted the whole yahoo groups for a few days, until ppl started opposing the restriction.
Then after 3 or 4 weeks, the restriction on Yahoo grps was removed. I still dont know what happened to that particular yahoogroup(as I dont remember its name exactly) now.

Rams said...

Somehow, the "anonyomous commenter" leaves a haunting impact on my mind. What he says is true, we take a "spectator's view" of whatever is happening. I read about gory deaths every day, but then never have I imagined to be in that nasty place...The very thought sends a chill down my spine...Our attitudes need a dramatic change, but then, earnestly speaking, I don't know when/what will bring upon us the attitude change...

Gokulakrishnan S said...

dude... I totally concur with you. Two points. When this is where conventional teaching methods fail, academics and intellectuals with first hand knowledge of that era could take the onus to sensitise the youth to the actual course of events. I remember one Prof telling us abt the Sikh pogrom in Delhi and the Emergency before that when we listened in shock for the first time.
And secondly, while the Internet is the most democratic source of info, it's also the easiest way to publish sleaze and lies. Along with Tehelka there are also rightist 'magazines' which feed swelling pride and 'righteous indignaton'. But with all its failings... long live the internet.

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