By Kunal Anand:
Our politicians, if given a chance could be the best explosive experts. They are good at diffusing bombs. For almost a year, the entire nation talked about the Jan Lokpal and how corruption affects every common man. There was a spurt in the RTI requests being filed by the civil society. Scams were unearthed on a regular basis and some very big names, who thought they were beyond the law of land, tasted jail food. Doesn’t matter if you are a supporter of Anna and Kejriwal or not, you have to give it to them for making corruption a serious issue for the people.
The government scrambled. It was a new situation for every party. What followed was lathi-charge, ban on SMSes and online censorship. For once, even the diehard “Iss desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta (Nothing’s going to change)” brigade sat down and listened.
Then came the U.P elections. One announcement from one leader and the entire equation changed. Forget Lokpal, forget CWG scam, forget Bhatta Parsaul, forget even the lawlessness in UP, the only thing that seems to matter for the parties and the people is the minority quota in the OBC category.
I am not a supporter of blind reservation given in our country. It’s a sham until it’s complimented with robust education and employment opportunities. This is the reason why almost 49% reservation in India hasn’t been able to produce the desired effect.
The politicians have a point in keeping us illiterate, unemployed and divided on caste and communal lines. It makes their task easier. They can get votes en bloc. It’s easy to make a hungry man follow you blindly by showing him bread. The hungry man will not ask you why you can’t assure a constant supply of food for him. He won’t even ask why you can’t teach him to make bread. He is hungry, and he needs that loaf. Our netas know this too well. They know that no matter what wrong they do to us and this country, by the time they reach our doorsteps for votes, we will be hungry, thanks to their flawed policies since Independence. They throw us the bread, and we grab it, without realizing that it’s made from our own sweat and blood.
Coming to the UP polls. The Sacchar committee report had suggested that Muslims in India do not have adequate representation in government jobs. To an outsider, this might seem strange. How can the second largest Muslim population in the world be marginalized in its own country? This is the exact question the Muslims need to ask themselves and their leaders. They must ask why the government hasn’t tried to make them a part of the mainstream. They must ask why the same government that is over-zealous in granting funds for Madrasas has refrained from opening CBSE affiliated schools in their areas. They must ask why the government always plays to the gallery for the hardliners in their community and not the common Muslim whose daily concern is same as mine-a decent life. And at last, they must ask themselves, why do they vote and follow such leaders.
The Hindus need to get their house straight too. Do we realize we’re turning into a bunch of over sensitive sissies? When did Hinduism become weak enough to be offended by a mere painting of some old man or the words of TV commentator in the U.S? When did we start getting polarized in the name of saving our religion? The Ghajnis and Ghoris killed millions of Hindus, but not Hinduism. If we become just like them, they will have finally won.
We are not supposed to be like this. We are supposed to think sanely. Reservations might get us jobs. But knowledge will empower us. If the Dalits and the Muslims are properly educated, they won’t need the crutches of reservation. I won’t talk about the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb and the stories of friendship between Hindus-Muslims. I won’t even talk about that Ram in Ramzan and Ali in Diwali. I don’t think we are kids to be swayed by stories. I will just say that unless we do away with this mutual disrespect and hatred for each other due to religion or caste, we will be taken for ride by any and every corrupt politician. They don’t respect us because they know we can be easily fooled and made to bay for each other’s blood. They know we will fight for our Gods instead for our hungry kids. They know we don’t realize its God protecting us and not the other way round.
It’s time we refuse to be their pets. Let’s not run after every bread thrown at us. We want serious development in all spheres. We mean business. Do not look at our freedom fighters for inspiration. They were against a formidable enemy. The one we face today can be cut to size by a wise choice we make on that voting machine.