What are we becoming
December 31, 2009 1 Comment
Yesterday the curtains were drawn on a legendary actor from the Kannada Industry Dr Vishnuvardhan. After an illustrious career he finally died of a cardiac arrest on 30th December. It is genuinely a moment of grief for all film aficionados as much as a moment to recall his contributions to kannada cinema.
I can perfectly understand the sentiment of grief coupled with a celebration of his contribution but I cant quite fathom the ‘need’ for violence.
I am carefully choosing my words here. Yes, in India we feel that there is a “need” for violence to express our remorse or grief caused by the passing away of someone beloved.
Interestingly the violence is reserved only for 2 categories – politicians and film stars. I don’t know whether in India we believe or want them to be “really immortal”.
The film stars especially have brought us to the edge of the seat or regaled, depending on your point of view, with their “death-defying” stunts. With bare hands they have taken on an “army” of men brandishing polished knives or sickles or just with a pistol they have finished off bad men having automated weapons. That is daredevilry at it’s best or er…worst.
But what can one do against a cardiac arrest ?
Who is to be blamed for a cardiac arrest ?
As Indians are we getting to a point of insanity with our hero worship that we cannot even come to terms with a natural death ?
And how is that we link “respect” with a complete shutdown ? What respect did many of the citizens of Bangalore show by staying indoors, watching movie on their home theatres and sipping beer or vodka ? If this is respect, this must be “some respect”
It is ironical that the victims of this senseless violence are the poor people like small time shopkeepers or road side vendors for whom the deceased actor was a messiah in his movies.
Why is our administrative machinery so afraid of taking any action against the senseless violence ? If we cannot handle a crowd of a few lakhs, how are we going to manage this nation which in a few years down the line would be the most populous nation in the world ?
What is the yardstick for being a fan ? Is violence the ultimate yardstick ? Is forcing the poor traders to abandon their livelihood the only way to express grief ?
How long can we be mute spectators to this outlandish reaction to a normal event ?
Like I said before it is interesting that such violent reactions are reserved only for film stars and politicians, as if these are the only two categories of people who matter for this nation.
If someone would want to couch this as spontaneous outpouring of grief, I wonder why the tear glands don’t seem to work when an educationist or a sportsperson or a scientist had deceased.
It is the responsibility of the fans to ensure that miscreants don’t use this as an opportunity to indulge in loot. Most of the violence actually to me seems to be emanating from sections who actually begrudge the upward mobility of others.
Though this can be a psychological explanation, it still smacks of nepotism towards those who have managed to break-free of the shackles of poverty by their own efforts.
There is a distinct under-current of making use of such “opportunities” to get back at those who have made it.
The onus is clearly on the Government. The Government should make it clear that while the passing away of a hero is certainly a loss to bemoan it would not tolerate attempts to ‘take over the city’ and become quasi authorities. Governments should stop doing a disappearing act emboldening the miscreants.
We have a long way to go in becoming a “responsible nation”. If we cannot handle the natural passing away of a prominent person, I think the “demographic dividend” that we keep referring to sounds very hollow.