Do We Protest In The Right Way?

Posted on June 26, 2011 in Society

By Kriti Pal:

These times are the best to live in. We have an edge over the generations that existed before, and a lot of incentives. One of the incentives is being able to voice our concerns, complaints and demands as and when the need arises. The recent times have seen an upsurge, a completely non-violent one at that. Starting from the Middle East, a form of protests, which can rightfully be called ‘public protests’, have taken over the centre stage. Ironically, the starting point of this wave was not a country with a democracy but a dictatorship. Nonetheless, the aimed goals were achieved in a lot of cases through the complete non-violent medium of protesting.

Coming down to our very own country, Anna Hazare set an example by gathering the huge amount of public support that he did while he took to fasting. The event of a common man going on a fast for the country, at the age of 73 was widely publicized. Facebook pages were made, e-mails sent out, messages flying in the air, asking people to give missed calls in order to show their support. Exhibit A, one man fasting went on to become outcry of the entire Nation. Although Anna Hazare’s cause was noble, we can’t help but notice people like Baba Ramdev using emotions of the soft and sentimental public of India to his personal advantage. Ergo, the following questions arise.

Are public protests, always, the solution to everything?

The answer will have to be no. One cannot just feel strongly about anything, take to fasting in the name of the country and the population and ask for people to come in to support him. Sooner or later, the reality kicks in and the cover is blown apart revealing the hollowness of the ‘movement’ that began in the first place.

How many people are actually aware of what they are supporting?

A friend of mine went to Jantar Mantar in order to support India Against Corruption because he thought it was high time India got rid of all the ‘corrupt politicians that eat away our money’. I asked him if he knew what the Lokpal Bill was. His reply: What’s that?

The zeal is utterly appreciated and we cannot condemn anyone’s efforts to make a difference but in order to make a difference for the good, one has to be aware of what is going on. Suddenly, fighting for an anti-corrupt India became cool, so people went on to show their pseudo-solidarity. Believe it or not, even one of the noblest movements cannot be successful till it is made up of people who are fully informed of the issue they are supporting.

How far can you take the public protests?

If tomorrow, a boy in Patna who has studied extremely hard for his engineering exams is not admitted to the college of his choice, the prestigious IIT for example, will his move of going on anshan be justified? Think about it, he is a very studious child, desperately wants to be an engineer; all he fell short of was a couple of marks. He wails and creates a hue and cry about not getting an admission and his parents, family, friends, people of the community, people who ‘feel he is right’, all come in support. Will it be okay for the college to grant him an admission? Of course not. This is because things don’t work like that. Gaining support and sympathy just goes so far.

As great as the non-violent-way-to-be sounds, it cannot be the solution to all the problems. What do you think? Do post your comments below.