Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Every day, I find new things to be angry about. Yesterday it was the Kerala Chief Minister's over-inflated ego, that responded to a distraught father in such an immature and hurtful way. The father was Major Unnikrishnan's, killed in Mumbai while fighting against the terrorists. Perhaps he did not want politicians using his grief as a Public Relations opportunity. Perhaps he was angry at the people whose governance (or lack of) were partly responsible for his son's death. Whatever the cause, he was justified in asking them to leave, and, when they continued to push on, to shout at them to get out.

CM Achutanandan's response, on camera, was to state that he had gone to the Unnikrishnans' house only because of Major Unnikrishnan's death, and that "even a dog" would not go to visit them otherwise.

Achutanandan is an old man. He proves delightfully the adage that while growing old is mandatory (unless of course you are gunned down in the name of duty), growing up is clearly optional.

When will India learn that respect must be earned? Whether it is the politician with an over-inflated sense of his importance, or an incestuous grandfather - age does not and must not buy respect that is undeserved.

Another adage: When you point a finger at your neighbour, there are three more pointing back at you.

India, wake up. We can rave and rant about our politicians and our messes, but at the end of the day, we need to look at ourselves honestly and see what we, the individuals, have done - or not done - to help create the mess we are in today. To borrow a quote from I-forget-who, we are meeting the enemy, and it is us.


pRiyA said...

this is such an excellent and thought provoking post. i am putting a link to this on my blog.

Unknown said...

Yes, I agree with Priya. This post is great food for thought. Thank you.

Mriganayanii said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mriganayanii said...

Interesting piece !
That anonymous comment at the end inspired me to give words to this feeling of frustration I've been feelign for quite a while but couldn't, somehow, put my finger on it..But I did, and now it's on my blog for you to read :)


Selvan said...


A comment bigger than the post, thanks to my inarticulacy. But this Mallu had to talk. Wonderful post but...

Malayalis seem surprised why the rest of India is blowing this incident out of proportion. Here's how a lot of Malayalis, some of the most socially and politically aware people in India, view this incident.

Apparently, the CM was asked what he thought about Mr. Unikrishnan's comments that no 'political dog' should enter his house. His answer was no 'dog' would go there if it wasn't for the Major. Because the question and the answer was in Malayalam, it got misquoted in other languages.

This is the time when everyone in India is going for the politicians' jugular, not realising that the political class is a necessary evil. We cannot afford to be another Pakistan. The Chief Minister of Kerala, with all his frailties is viewed as a people's man. His 70 year track record in public life, kind of, proves it. His age hasn't stopped him from his crusade against the politico-business mafia in Kerala. His irresponsible comments can't take away all that he has tried to do for the people of his State. He is definitely not a Modi or a Lalu. We must learn to differentiate the good ones from the bad.

Malayalis are also wondering why Mr. Unnikrishnan was silent when the BJP politicians of Karnataka organised a Hindu funeral for his son, who is from a nonreligious family. In Kerala, it was the BJP which started agitating on the issue of the Chief Minister not attending the funeral. In fact, across the country, the BJP tried to use the attack and the aftermath to score political points. We may have unwittingly fallen into the hands of the these 'Hindu Talibanis' and the impetuous electronic media, which runs from one breaking news to the other like headless chickens.

We only seem interested in news that spices up our otherwise mundane lives, news that makes us feel 'I'm better than thou'. How many of us have bothered to find out if any CM attended Havaldar Chander's funeral or visited the homes of the 195 people killed in the attacks?

The audacity of the attacks in Bombay cannot be downplayed, but these attacks too would have been forgotten by India had it not been for the many high profile Indians affected by the attacks, the upper crust of society. Anyone barely remembers the train blast in Bombay that killed almost the same amount of people. No international pressure was mounted on Pakistan then, was it because those who perished were faceless commuters?

The media ignored the victims at CST all through the seige at the Taj and Trident Oberoi. Was it because the 50 odd dead at CST were not businessmen dining at some of the finest restaurants in Bombay but ordinary Indians spending their night sleeping on platforms, as they could not afford decent accommodations. An ordinary Indian is definitely not news, he is mere statistics.

Our reactions are so dependent on what is fed to us by the media, especially the mindless carpet bombing of our electronic media, and in the process we run the risk of losing objectivity. We only react, maybe it's time we 'proact', but do we have the time. This alert state of mind will definitely last till India wins the Test series against England and then we have Dhoni's captaincy in the second session of the third day of the fourth Test to talk about.

You are right, we are meeting the enemy and it is us.


Art Earth Ink Soul said...

Long post, Selvan but worth reading and seeing that thereis no black and white, and opening my eyes to other perspectives! Thanks for taking the time to share ..