Oh dear God, here I go into the dirty world of politics. If I get “roughed up” in the near future during one of my trips to Pune, I shall know that it was due to pious and religious people who believe in free speech and they were simply using their right to free speech to make a statement against me.
I have thankfully been isolated from many reports and interviews on this issue by various parties involved, and yet I found defenders of this cause quite weak in their arguments (or at least, not committed to them). From what I do know however, I can surmise some facts and I leave it up to my readers to correct me if I’m wrong.
Now let us first start with the rules of the game. As you all know I don’t believe in “right, righter and rightest”. There is “right” and there is “wrong”. Nobody is “more right” or “less right”. When it comes to the Law, I am not a Judge nor a person contracted by the Indian Judiciary System to act as a delegate, therefore I do not make up my own laws – I have only the letter of the law to follow.
When the law is inconvenient, people turn to “principles” (or invent a few if necessary) and if they are bigger cowards, talk to me about supernatural powers, God, religion, etc. For those who would use religion as a labeling mechanism, I would like to emphasize as I have done in countless other blog posts, that I never question the rules of any game, but I expect every player to follow them – especially the player who establishes the rules. A rule must be defined as f(x) where x is a person and no matter who that person is, the definition of f is immutable. Of course this is my interpretation of my religion, and since I’m neither God myself, nor a contracted agent of God given authority by God to decide between what is right and what is wrong (as so many people around me seem to be), I leave it up to each reader to make up their own mind.
Having established this fact, let us look into the whole violence that was caused in Maharashtra against “North Indians” (a label I have not assigned and am not capable of demarcating) and understand the facts. I would like the reader to fill in whatever information they have regarding one question. Specifically I want to know in short, what was the objective of this whole movement. Is it to stop all that is illegal? If so, I understand completely. The violence itself was illegal, and in retrospect, those who caused it, I assume, have turned themselves in voluntarily in their local police stations to fight for their cause. I would like facts on the numbers of people currently under voluntary arrest.
Now coming to my main point – I find it disturbing just how many literate (I do not call people with a ‘degree’ educated, but I will grant that they can read and write) people in my own state and falling prey to labeling. I am not one who would deny people the opportunity to fight for what they want – if they want jobs and others are taking their jobs, it’s fine to fight for them. I am afraid of people who try to present their personal convenience in a framework of principle so that they get a feeling of moral superiority over others. I recently heard that a certain leader of this movement in a televised interview stated that while all other leaders are donkeys (an imprecise translation), he is “less of a donkey”, and therefore people should support him.
The disturbing reality of such a leader, as history has shown us ever since history has been recorded, is that subconsciously we end up giving him the greatest power on this earth – the power of God – the power to Judge – the power to say what is right and what is wrong – a power I do not allow any human being to have over me. What makes this situation particularly dangerous is, by supporting such people politically we give them the power to execute their judgment – thereby making them Gods. I would prefer a leader who said, “I’m a donkey, elect me.”, or a leader who says, “I am pure, therefore elect me.” Heck, I would probably elect the donkey rather than the pure leader because I know I am a donkey too. I am afraid of anyone who thinks they are Agents of the Supreme Court of India or the Agents of God and can determine they are “less of a donkey compared to me.” Who is to say when they will change their mind on what constitutes “donkeyhood” and what does not?
A famous peom I would like everyone to read:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.
It is time we all faced our fears and admitted our own sins. When we break a traffic light, we convince ourselves that we are “less of a donkey than a murderer”. Over time we build a strong resistance against our conscience so that these things don’t bother us. Then we end up in a catch-22 situation – other people have played our game and gone Pro, while we still remain in the Pee Wee league. We built illegal buildings in our Mumbai and others came and they build them over thousands of square acres. Now we want to label them so that we are not judged for our sins. We crapped in our own house and now the stench of others crapping here is bothering us!
I am not saying what is happening is appropriate or legal, but I am certainly saying that two wrongs don’t make a right. There are better ways to improve the situation in the state and it is up to each and every one of us to exploit all such means. Imitation is the highest form of flattery and we cannot “teach them a lesson” by imitating them.
As for the job situation in the state, I am a standing testament to the real situation. Within Pune or within my own state I would not have been given a job two years ago when I passed out. And it wasn’t because of the “North Indians” or the “South Indians” or the “Caste X people” or anyone currently labelled as “them”. It was because I did not have a “B.E.” degree and I did not have a job because back then the B.E.’s were “us” and I was a “them”. Back then, I was a “them” for the very people who would now have me become a part of “us” because some other “them” came and took up all the jobs of those elite “us” in the state. If history has taught us anything, such people are the most dangerous sort of people you can ever hope to encounter. Tomorrow another community may come up and start killing a part of the Maharashtrians who form a part of “us” and have lucrative jobs. Can anyone who has lived in the state seriously tell me with a straight face that the have not seen this happen countless times in their own lifetime already?
This is my request to all those out there, I don’t wish to preach and I don’t wish to pass judgment, but I do want each and everyone of you to make sure that the day they come for you, you will have someone left to speak.