With several ‘disruptive’ protests going on against admission policies across various institutes, especially in Kolkata, I believe it is high time that certain words be said about it all. Recently, an online thread on Facebook interested me. What interested me, however, was not the exact cause and context of the conversation, but the data that came out of it.
Here’s two which I’d like to share:
Let’s speak about them through analogies. With the Football World Cup just getting over, what better way than explaining it all through images of ‘The Beautiful Game’?
So, think of any football match you like. The ball is in possession of the opponent team, who’s swiftly and dexterously passing amongst themselves in an attack run, bringing it dangerously close to your unguarded goal. To defend against this imminent shot, there are of course, two solutions. You, a defender, can kick the ball out of the field or in desperation, commit a foul to stop the strikers in their tracks. Momentarily, of course, because depending on your actions, the location of the incident or the direction the ball got kicked into, you just awarded your opponents a throw-in, a free kick or a corner; worse still, a penalty solidifying that impeded hazard. So sooner or later, you again have your opponents celebrating a goal. You disrupted the game momentarily, only to have the same outcome moments later. Only if you’re extremely sly and lucky, with a hand of God to your aid, might you actually get away with it and thus, gain an upper hand against your contenders.
Hence, I’d argue, student politicians and ‘activists’ act. You disrupt campus life, ordinary activities and the system’s structure momentarily, locally for it to only have an impact on you, later on. Of course, later only if you’re alive and well, not after bastinado and bullets, a silenced, martyr.
The walls you deface with your angry messages may give you freedom, but they scare the living shit out of newcomers from schools. If you’re a job seeker, forget about good campus placements, because job descriptions explicitly request against political activists because come on, why’d they want someone with a free will and an agency, when all they want is just a dumb, ‘intelligent enough’, unquestioning, paid slave? And such vandalism? Well, that’s as good as throwing a shoe at your recruiter’s faces. If you’re an academic, forget decent MoUs because any representative from any institute will get immediately turned off seeing the mess you’ve made out of your campus. Do you really think they’d like the same happening there? Would you, if you were in their shoes? Finally, do you really believe that good teachers would really remain on your campus instead of seeking better pastures abroad if you fail to create the academic atmosphere they deserve? No, right? So unlike most things, please realise how it may often actually be ‘your fault’ itself.
Opponent 4, you 0. You still hope to win this way?
Of course, that’s not your only option. If as a team you’re organised and have trained together then it’s those situations that would erupt into your victory laps. Remember Belgium’s final goal against Japan in the round of 16? That’s how you change the course of a game. That’s the disruption of ‘disruptive innovation’. It’s that kind of disruption that actually changes social structures, a circumstance’s outcomes, life-styles and develops the world. It’s precisely that kind of disruption, my friends, that you lack in your actions, assuming you’re capable of it at all.
Think of the online media services you daily consume. YouTube and other media streaming services have given cable television proprietors and the censor boards a run for their money. Even popular faces in the industries have now shifted almost completely to Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and even LBRY. Alexandra Elbakyan’s SciHub (and yes, she’s a girl and a hacker, if you’re wondering because “Girls can’t Code” ), has given gluttonous bloodsuckers like Elsevier and similar for-profit journal publishers, the slaps they truly deserve. Library Genesis, Wikipedia, MOOCs and one Dark Web’s Library of Trantor has liberated and democratised knowledge through millions, if not billions of books and other media from the voracious book publishing houses to the masses. Open Source Movements, starting with Linux based Operating Systems, even Android, has proven serious competition for even the giants who’re finally starting bowing down. Media platforms as the one you’re reading this article on, along with Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Steem have disrupted the news industry to a point where selling newspapers is just irrelevant, meaning reading it is free for all now. Even the Internet itself is evolving to a become ever freer. And that’s the start; we’ve progressed so much that now, we’re on our way, warring against corporates creating Open Source Economies, that are Environmentally Sustainable & Circular, robust, decentralized & distributed, needing or even allowing no authoritarian control, whatsoever.
Distant dream of an Utopia? Well, trusted veterans of yore have acknowledged this, even welcomed this, against cancer we’re dealing with today.
Do you think that’s not disruption? Not protest? Not revolution? Say not no, for if you do, deafer than the dead alone, in our eyes, stand thou, for we too are ‘disruptors’, only not your current, kind.
Wake up dear reader, wake up from your slumber, puke out the poison from that tipsy mind for “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Break down the walls that prison your mind and venture into the beautiful world outside. And most importantly, let’s learn and labour with our able minds, hands and feet, aiding each other, create the Eden in which we yearn to live.
Some final notes as I conclude, having heard names railed against myself and my peers, I ask you, aren’t you supposed to be creatures far from those unquestionable priests, who cease dialogues, term you heretic and outcast anyone that chooses to differ? Aimed at those in pursuit of being professional politicians, please ask yourselves, how by becoming another of those brainless, bloodthirsty, bureaucrats, who caused your problem in their self-interest, for their survival, for their clan’s needs and desires, would you be of any help to the cause you fight for or to anyone at all, whatsoever, by replacing a well-oiled, perfectly functional cog in a contraption of death we name a nation?