Saturday, December 6, 2008

We are a Lawless People

Now that the smoke and dust after the terrorist attack in Mumbai have settled, the blame game has started with the govenment blaming Pakistan, the different ministries blaming each other for intellegence failure or lack of action, the political parties blaming each other for being soft with the terrorists and the people blaming the politicians!
It is time for introspection. How about blaming ourselves? Isn't the common Indian citizen also to be blamed? We are a lawless people. Every individual who gave sound bytes or was part of any organisation that held rallies in the aftermath of the attacks is a part of his lawlessness. How many of these celebrities who vied for attention in the media have never broken the laws of the land or helped breed corruption? Have they never jumped the red light at the traffic signal or gone over the zebra crossing at the intersection? How many of these people have been very proud that their underage children are ace drivers?
Spitting on the road, smoking in public, breaking the queues at bus stops, greasing the palms of policemen and officers in every government or municipal office. Small ofences- but commited by us everyday.
Then there is the trend amongst the people to take the law in their own hands (ofcourse with the backing of political parties). Armed with the news and TV channel crew, they crash into the offices of hapless victims, who have been branded by the mob as the perpetrators of crimes, blacken their faces and make sure that the television camera has the best angles. What is a disturbing trend is that most of the time, they use the services of matronly homemakers who seem to enjoy being the upholders of the law.
In this state of lawlessness, the government and its machinery are mute witnesses. They do not even make efforts to curb this because they might antagonise their vote banks.
My student died last week due to this lawlessness. A girl who had a promising career ahead of her. She was standing by the door of a local train when a mobile phone thief, who was waiting on the tracks, hit her with a stick so that she would let go of her phone. Unfortunately, she lost her balance and fell off the train to be severed into two. And the authorities- they expressed their helplesness- the city's population is too big for them to handle esp. since they have a very small work force.
"Such small incidents happen in a big city like Mumbai"- R.R. Patil, ex Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
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