Nation Current Affairs 31 Jul 2017 Public silence is ki ...

Public silence is killing

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | MAHINTH
Published Jul 31, 2017, 1:28 am IST
Updated Jul 31, 2017, 1:28 am IST
Political vendetta is not new to Kerala.
The charred remains of a bike that was burned by miscreants on Sunday in front of the University College in Thiruvananthapuram. (Photo: Peethambaran Payyeri)
 The charred remains of a bike that was burned by miscreants on Sunday in front of the University College in Thiruvananthapuram. (Photo: Peethambaran Payyeri)

A life departs
the dirge wafts
ashes smolder
 
In a sickeningly predictable pattern, the political leaders (who thrive on pitting one group of Indians against others) by now would have condoled the death, offered a sacrificial compensation and promised swift action against the ‘perpetrators’. The numb civil society asks; how can someone do this for the sake of a differing ideology? On the fabric of everyday life, these events rarely protrude. After a few news cycles, the crows cackle, the temple bells ring, school children crowd buses, the street cop directs traffic, revenge laced WhatsApp memes are forwarded and life goes on. For the grieving family however, all that remains are memories of a lost ambition, the need to carry on with the loss, and the endless crusade of navigating courts for justice.

Political vendetta is not new to Kerala. But this is not petty fights, people are getting murdered.  What is most distressing is the inability of the state to surface this topic, prioritize actions and implement a broader solution.  Like eradicating poverty, why has combating political killings not become the topmost priority of Kerala’s government? And who are these foot soldiers who pay with their life in supporting failed ideologies? Our most capable and exceptional police officers dread to be posted in Kerala’s northern districts. Social inclusion, healthcare, education and infrastructure are falling apart. Given the current situation, the government should openly accept its inability to defuse the situation and maybe seek external help? There is nothing wrong with not being able to solve a problem, especially when the problem is cancerous in nature. Clever management is about seeking help when a situation is lingering for a long duration and statistics clearly show an upward trend. Wishful thinking from politicians and hollow statements will not pull Kerala out of this!

 

One way to address this for the longer term is, for the Society, Government and Political forces to work in tandem, diagnose the underlying issue and recommend and implement a tailored solution. An aspect of the solution has to be statewide investments where the youth can be productively engaged, socially respected and impartially recognized. Surely the state can achieve this by providing opportunities for quality education, meaningful employment, and encouraging family support. Why not take steps in this direction? On the other end of the spectrum, for the shorter term, the government can initiate an active and professional implementation of law and order, along with quick and fast tracked investigation that punishes the guilty and doles impartial justice to the affected families.

 

Social mobilisation has long been recognised as one of the crucial steps for developing communities that require recovery from conflicts. It allows people to think and understand their situation and to organize and initiate action for their resurgence using their own initiative and creativity. This process is a jarring gap in Indian society today and is leading to a dichotomy between the politics and the people. One major reason is the lack of trust in Government’s ability to protect their own people! Also, everybody is selfish, cocooned and broadly distracted by manipulative depressing TV serials or Kohli’s batting performance. Kerala cannot afford this anymore.

 

If we want to call ourselves a democracy, then people need to break out of their world-proof bunkers and tackle issues through a participatory process. How long can we crouch like rodents in walled-up safe zones waiting for a ‘superman’ to come and change destiny? Good or bad, we saw some sort of citizen engagement in Tamil Nadu for Jallikettu. Why don’t the citizens of Kerala do this? Lack of true participation from the civil society is what encourages politicians and bureaucrats to get away with poor performance. The day the affected populace (instead of paid protesters) openly come out and demand action on promises is when there is going to be change and progress; whether it be government action on uninterrupted power, good roads, affordable healthcare, betters education or waste disposal.

 

(Mahinth works as a management consultant advising Fortune 100 companies)

...
Location: India, Kerala




ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
-->