It’s been a busy few days, hasn’t it? No, I don’t mean me… just folks at Calcutta, Varanasi, Lucknow and Faizabad. Something tells me there’s more to come.
Blasts in small towns. Protests turning ugly in the City of Joy. The sleeper cells are waking up, and how! Moving into bustling towns and big cities. Merging with the local populace. Fanning violent emotions. Playing on people’s prejudices. Using the smallest of excuses to cause widespread violence and loss of lives. And causing enough confusion to almost make fast cities go up in flames.
It’s not new. Remember at one point of time there used to be a riot in Bangalore every other month? And what excuses… The death of Annavaru. Saddam’s execution (“There was hardly anything happening in Iraq itself… people will outsource ANYTHING to Bangalore”, said a friend of mine). And if you reading this thought it was coz Bangies simply love rioting and burning buses… well, LeT seems to be having its way.
I lately got my hands on half an audiobook of Haroun and the Sea of Stories. A nice fantasy story for kids, which at the same time, makes a powerful statement about freedom of speech, and why dictators fear it. The dark villain Khattam-Shud kidnaps Princess Baat-Cheet. “Why”, Haroun asks, “Why do you hate stories so much? They are so nice…”. Khattam-Shud replies, “I want to rule the world. And in each story is a world which is beyond my reach”. Holds true, doesn’t it, for Ms. Taslima Nasreen?
And we found a mirror of our blog . Tuna and me were taken aback at first… but then it turned out to be a mirror service for WordPress in Turkey – WP is banned in Turkey! And why? Well, so there was this guy who was famous enough to have blogs making disparaging remarks about him. And his lawyers asked WP to remove the offensive sites, but WP didn’t. So this guy gets a Turkish court to block access to wordpress.com from all of Turkey. Reading the reason behind the mirroring, I remembered there had been a post on the WP blog about it not very long ago, and an update, too. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk must be turning in his grave.
The time seems ripe for another revolution. Not the RDB kind… that only serves to make martyrs out of people. We need education. Freedom of Speech. Truth, and please, not by just repeated assertion. A Renaissance. And it should start with the Media and primary schools, and that’d take care of the rest.
Tailpiece: I found this bit somewhere.
“Aaj Tak harped on the same old refrain that ‘Modi did not call the Army until three days had passed’. When the TV channel contacted me on phone to get my response, I told the anchor that the Godhra carnage took place on February 27, 2002, that the Hindu backlash commenced on February 28 and the Army was doing flag march on the forenoon of March 1… He cut me short by saying that ‘This is exactly what we had said, no action was taken by Modi on 29th, 30th and 31st thus giving three clear days to the murderers…’ I had to cut him short by reminding him that the date 28th was 28th of February 2002 and there were no 29th, 30th or 31st in that month. The phone was of course disconnected.”
Leave aside Godhra, leave aside Modi, leave aside talk of pogroms, carnages and holocausts. Just February of the 28 days (29 in leap year) fame. And we depend on such folks for our daily dose of what’s happening in the world… I don’t know whether to feel more sorry for the ignorant dodos in front of the cameras and behind the mike, or for me and the rest of the Indian populace.