A very dangerous example has been set by the Gujjar community of Rajasthan. If you want something, just get out on the streets in hundreds, burn buses, burn effigies of ministers, stone offices and police stations, block highways. In the process, you ofcourse lose some 'martyrs', but however outrageous your demands might be, the government is forced to negotiate. These are similar to the tantrums a child throws when he wants something, albeit on a larger scale. But what is shocking is the loss and destruction of government property during this.
The Gujjars wanted to be 'promoted' from OBC to ST status to avail better benefits from the reservation system. But starting from the government to the sociologists, everyone was against this as they didnt 'qualify' for the ST status. As thare was no defining criteria, the Gujjars did a weeklong protest in Rajasthan, which in its final stage extended even to Delhi. Now the Meena community, which has already been accorded the ST status didnt want to share the pie with the Gujjars, protested against their demands. The two communities clashed and conditions had worsened to a near civil war when the government intervened.
Now who did really suffer because of all this? Who else but the aam aadmi. Thousands of passengers were kept waiting in the railway stations and on the roads because all the rail and land routes were blocked. My heart goes out for those AIIMS aspirants, who could not give the test after a year's hard toil, because the trains to the exam centres were cancelled. Jaipur was completely cut-off from the rest of India. Buses were burnt, shops were destroyed and many people died in the clash. While all this was going on, the government looked on helplessly.
These violent protests are so common these days that I bet that you switch on your television and you will find at least one of the numerous news channels flashing something like 'PROTESTS IN PUNE' or 'STUDENTS GO ON A RAMPAGE IN BANGALORE' .
Some of the political parties so these to gain mileage. Shiv Sena will surely top the list. These self confessed moral police think they own everything and thus they can destroy everything. Recently, it bashed up computer cafe owners in Mumbai in the presence of the police. Their fault? Someone had created a community in Orkut slandering Bal Thackeray and Shiv Sena. Now, cummon guys, say that you dont need a reason for doing this, you just do it for fun right? And after creating havoc in the cafes, they said smilingly on screen, "We are mards". Of course, they are.
A sabjiwala was hit and the entire trader community went on a protest. A guy was killed in a hospital and the whole locality destroyed the hospital and heckled the doctors accusing them of negligence leading to his death. Every doctor then stopped working saying they have been mistreated. Now what we are doing is killing others because one guy was killed. Burning of theatres because of objectionable scene or dialouges in some obscure fim has become commonplace. We recently saw the destruction of a famous Art museum because some of the paintings didnt go with the taste of a political party.
I believe every country has attained its freedom through some kind of protest or revolt. The sepoy mutiny in 1857, Gandhi's non co-operation movement, Bhagat Singh's heroics all justify that. But the difference is that they had something against them. When are we going to understand that this is our country, this is our government, these are our people. What are we gaining by destroying our own property, by destroying ourselves? If we are against some policy, cant we resolve it in a peaceful manner without any wreckage and havoc?
A cult movie, Rang De Basanti surely inspired millions of Indians to come on the streets and seek justice for Jessica Lal. Candle protests were organised, uncountable SMSs were sent on moblies. No-one had expected the ferocity with which this social activism spread. And didnt we succeed? Where has that Indian gone? Are we taking out our frustrations on ourselves? I am not asking others to just become silent spectators. Their opinion matters as much as that of the President's. Everyone should come up with his views even if he is against the highest authority. But we should also take care that this country is ours, what we destroy is ours...