So, as the BMC mercilessly hacks trees, and the BJP government, completes three years of 'Acche Din', I wonder, if our CEO at all feels he's heading a Banana Republic. Well, let me rephrase that, because in most Banana Republics, there is planned anarchy on the streets pretty much orchestrated by its leader. Not true, perhaps in the case of Shri Modi, but at the moment, India sure feels like our leader is running one country and we're living in quite another.
Just take the last 10 days — In Kashmir, an alleged stone-pelter is tied to a jeep by an army man called Leetul Gogoi. Subsequently, Gogoi is awarded by the army chief for his presence of mind and bravery. The jury's still out on whether the action was justified or not. Still a man roped to a vehicle to act as a human shield, can hardly serve as a great tourist attraction for foreigners seeking a vacation in Swacch Bharat – "Wow let's go to India, always wanted to see the Taj Mahal and a man tied to the front of a jeep."
While gau-rakhshaks continue their vigilante-ism, in Jharkhand, acting on a Whatsapp rumour of child lifters, a mob lynch a father of three to death, images of the man covered in blood, begging for his life, a few seconds before dying, are firmly printed on Google.
No fear of the police, of the law, the killers upload this photo onto the Internet.
In Andhra, a man is hacked to death with a machete, on a crowded street. Bystanders watch, shooting the gory scene on their smart-phones. Frankly, I'm fatigued by the cliché, 'No one came forward to help'. How does your average bystander risk life and limb to wrestle a modern day Rambo, when the police themselves watch? Instead, the larger question to be asked is, How has the law and disorder situation broken down so badly that man can kill a fellow man, not in a quiet by-lane, but on a crowded street with no fear of consequence, of getting caught?
In Rohtak, a woman is gang-raped by seven men. The nature of gang rape has changed. It isn't adequate to merely sexually molest the woman, but smashing her face in so she will be unable to identify (and this gory incident happens a week after it is announced the Nirbhaya rapists will hang).
How do I feel about the country of my birth — I don't have the economic figures, which will no doubt indicate that we are second behind China and the USA. In an era where countries are judged on various 'quotients', where does India stand on the index of moral fibre?
I keep telling myself, that this toxic waste type phase can't last forever. And yet the questions remain: Were we always these toxic, violent beasts, desperate to be unleashed? Or have we spawned a new breed of merciless?
When did we become these brazen exhibitionists?
And, when did our leaders so desperately prioritise anti-Romeo squads and the selling of beef over basic law and order?
Maybe, I shouldn't be terrified. Just raise one cocky eyebrow a la Roger Moore.
But, gotta admit... I'm a bit shaken, massively stirred.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at email@example.com
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