Monday 7 April 2008

Issue out of no issue


Binita Tiwari for Newstrack India



V S Naipaul in his book, India: A Wounded Civilization writes, “India wounded by many centuries of foreign rule, has not yet found an ideology of regeneration.” The agony is very much evident even today when our country is still grappling with various problems related to our day-to-day trivialities of life and when life tries to move on the fast lane we still get stumbled on myriad controversies created by political figures.
When we have many serious issues yet to solve, when we have problem like inflation that is likely to cost our pocket and peace; the problem of break down of law, and order are the outcome of our politicians’ unthoughtful act, which develops constantly in their factorial mind to create diverse controversy every other day.

The issue which DMK supreme, M K Karunanidhi bugled recently was Hogenakkal Drinking Water Project by airing his view “Hogenakkal project will be implemented at any cost.”

His declaration was followed by anti-Tamil protest in Karnataka and even a blackout ordeal was passed against Tamil cinemas, newspapers, and programmes on TV channels. Many public properties were destroyed during the protest and there was a current of shock among the people across the whole state.

The heat of protest was felt in both the states against the inhabitants of people who belonged to one and other state. The people who went onto rampage did not belong to preliterate society but they did what they would not have imagined.

The Tamil Nadu actors added more glitters to controversy after they took fast to show solidarity to support the cause of the state and against anti-Tamil sentiments in Karnataka. They spoke on this matter without knowing thoroughly about it.

While in Karnataka a bandh was organised to express solidarity with pro-Kannada activists on Hogenakkal issue. Temper soars and people from different walks of life came together to express their concern.

The way the issue was blown out, the way it was politicised, the centre as well as state machinery was questioned.

And, after creating the uproar at the cost of nation, Karunanidhi appealed to the people of the state to keep patience with the project till the general election in Karnataka gets over.

Again in Mumbai, the son of the soil theory created controversy, which was least vital to India as a nation, the ire of MNS against north Indian migrants became a national debate. Why not? For it (wrath of MNS) also questioned the existence of our constitution at the same time it violated human rights concerns.

In this entire scene Amitabh Bachchan was dragged for being not loyal to Maharashtra, for being not lending his voice to the cause of Maratha and ironically for being not among the reason that diluted pro-Maratha’s sentiments of MNS.

Shiv Sena awry of growing MNS hold in the region; in its editorial accused Amitabh Bachchan for the same and asked the actor to learn from actors like Rajnikant who showed his solidarity to the state which brought him name and fame. (What if he would have been a Maharashtrian and had stood against the state…would these Marathi manoos have shared the same thought?)

The drama was very much here, as the next day the party organ Saamna published its clarification, “Amitabh Bachchan is our family friend. I have neither said anything against him nor written against him in the editorial. The hue and cry, which has been created by the media regarding the news in 'Saamna', is condemnable. Our relations with him are not so weak that it can be broken by electronic media news.”

Saamna also condemned Mayawati for harassing Bachchans in a case in which Supreme Court recently refuted to take any action against Bachchan the senior.

Amitabh Bachchan has once said, “I just lead my life as naturally, as normally as I possibly can. But I can't help it if controversy is hounding me day in and day out. I'm quite amazed sometimes by the way they go about it. I grow a beard and it lands up in the editorial in The Times of India.”

Both the controversies though are significant but the people evolved and targeted looks only to meet personal gains. The issue, which could have been solved through democratic means, ended up becoming a savage garden where people risked their life without any substantiation.

Robert Maynard Hutchins has said, “A civilization in which there is not a continuous controversy about important issues is on the way to totalitarianism and death.”

The dust of controversies like these do settle but after creating rift in our social fabric. Public memories though are short but remain smoky throughout after such damage. However, in India, which was once wounded, still remains so with new blisters, the blisters that is not only painful but is outrageous too. It is shame that controversies equalizes both wise and fools.


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