CULTURE OF PROTEST
Recently about 35-40,000 farmers belonging to All India Kisan Sabha associated with Communist Party of India (Marxist) organized a peaceful 180 km long march, demanding complete waiver of loans and electricity bills, implementation of Swaminathan Commission report and Forest Rights Act. The march started on 5 March 2018 in Nasik and ended at Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha in Mumbai on 12 March. On the final day, when inside the Mumbai city, in a rare gesture the farmers marched in early hours of the day starting at 1 am so that morning office goers and children going to appear for the Board examinations would not face any commuting problem or harassment. This was in stark contrast to the usual mindset guiding even small marches to hold the traffic to ransom. A march is considered to be successful only if it can cause disruption of traffic. The AIKS march will be remembered for a long time for its display of civility and thoughtfulness.
In countries like India, corruption and negligence of duty is not only a norm but considered ‘smart’ thing to do. The honest and diligent are ridiculed and/or not allowed to work and obstacles are created in their path. People in influential positions practice rampant nepotism, casteism, and communalism. While merit takes a back seat, money power earns respect. It is interesting that most people in positions of power in our country today are still from upper caste background, who also opposes the policy of caste-based reservation on the pretext that it dilutes merit. But it is the same set of people that promotes mediocrity and corruption in public life. Their brains are put to work to camouflage corruption and to block genuine work at the behest of their political masters. It is not uncommon for a complainant to attract a false case if s(he) doesn’t have political backing and for a resourceful and well-connected criminal to go scot free. Laws and rules are bent to suit the interest of the influential and rich people. Political groups try to take advantage of the administrative-legal system to serve their vested interests. This is the model of governance that today’s India has created.
Since merit is no longer a criterion, except for minuscule few, and political patronage is essential to becoming part of the coveted system, even the education system has been thoroughly corrupted. Teaching is a work accorded the least priority in educational institutions and methods have been perfected by administrators, teachers and the students-parents, under a willing political patronage, to beat the system. The whole emphasis is on getting high marks through foul means, if not fair, with scant regard for gaining knowledge
The recent actions of bus drivers in Japan and farmers in Maharashtra, India, hold some hope for a better future. They are proof that seeds of the idea for a reformed society are alive and wait for an opportunity to germinate. The objective of all human activity, especially under adverse conditions when humans are likely to lose sanity, should be to create a supportive atmosphere so that the flower of humanity blooms.