By Vinay Bhat
Time Magazine termed “The Protestor” as the person of the year in 2011. Protests in the middle-east overthrew tyrants; the Occupy Movement held the world’s attention spreading like wildfire and Europe was ablaze against austerity measures imposed. Clawing their way through, facing bullets, batons and pepper spray, the protestor influenced global change and made the world stand up to take notice. It wasn’t that the establishment wasn’t prepared for this level of an uproar, but had more to do with the fact that no amount of preparation can subdue the voices when they reach this decibel and in unison. As the Occupy movement has beautifully phrased this – “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come”. Yet there are millions of other voices which have not attained the chorus to cause the fundamental changes they would like to see.
While back home in India – Adivasis, Dalits, Kashmiris, farmers, fishermen and slum dwellers continue to fall under the State sponsored bullet, the level of public attention continues to be marginal and the middle class gladly turns a blind eye. While Team Anna managed to become the 24×7 reality show that was soon cut off due to other TRP priorities, protests for survival continue to be ignored.
Children lying on the hot grounds of Jagatsinghpur in the middle of summer were ignored, and the State continues to push the undemocratic POSCO integrated steel plant to completion. Dalits protesting against the heinous casteist act of Made Snana in Karnataka were ignored and caste violence continues to escalate with complete apathy from our liberal champions. Muslims protesting in Forbesganj,Bihar against a road that blocked their access were shot down. Hundreds of people march across states from Kashmir to Delhi against the archaic AFSPSA, and the State doesn’t so much as engage a few words with those who marched such large distances. Perhaps the most glaring case of State benevolence in India is where Soni Sori a tribal teacher is sexually violated, while the perpetrator SP Ankit Garg is honored with a Gallantry award.
- Posco Said to Consider Lower Capacity at Planned India Steelmill (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Ghatkopar’s Ramabai Nagar: Where the Republic still lives (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- IMMEDIATE Release Oppressing Women, Supporting Sexual Violence: The Other Meaning of Bravery! (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Made Snana: Dalits slam police for ‘failing to prevent attack’ (thehindu.com)