my article that got published in Asian Age/ Deccan Chronicle on Jan 01, 2010... YAY
Cheers to New Beginings.. can I call myself a freelance columnist... Not So Soon...?
The whip and the gun ruled 2009. The whims and the fancies of the fanatics were in full glee, there was a sting of disbelief all around… the pain was newfound and profound. Irreverent blame-throwing and the fear of imminent danger ruled the roost, a year so callous that we bid good riddance with no regrets. Terror continued its ominous trend in 2009. In a dead end, ignorant of our present, how could we forecast a future? When I say terror, do I mean the ultimate villain —Kasab? Nahi, Nahi! Terror was omnipresent… in every cause, in every mind, every day.
Which cause needed more focus? Whose pain needed immediate attention? Was it the damaged environment that misunderstood November for July? The women who were slapped in pubs like cattle by petty male chauvinists? The emergence of the Maoist? The common thread in all of these was hate — refer the Mumbai Attack. As Mumbai was under siege in November 2008, we saluted commandos, we squealed and belched slogans, demanded action and compensation for the families of the affected. Six months later, when I requested people to join me in a thank-a-thon, to remind the people who protected us and lost their lives in the bargain, I went alone. My SMS was no SOS now.
Was I dejected? Yes. Did I stop? NO! I realised, I reasoned we had moved on. We had not forgotten, but our responses had changed. Causes were piling up demanding our attention. What was THE cause had become a cause? As I said earlier, we are a reactive nation not a proactive one — “Response to the stimuli” is what we demonstrate best. But am I resigned and cynical? I can’t afford to be. I am happy that the internal dialogue has begun. We are in an era of cause
branding! Advertisers and activists need to use innovation to help keep their cause ‘Top-Of-The-Mind’, especially in this day and age, when our attention spans are just higher than a goldfish’s. And when we take up a cause, we need to remember that not all effects will be tangible and measurable.
Let us not pull down people who work at keeping the causes alive, in what ever way they can. The best way to put down a person who is working for a cause is to tell the person that he/she is wasting time and should shift focus. Especially when it comes to environmental and animal causes, people often say, “Why are you focusing on animals or saving mangrove forests when people are dying”. Well good question… Get up and do something about the causes you feel for rather than shamelessly and ignorantly berating others who are at least working for causes they believe in.
Let’s begin our new year with a promise to ourselves, that we will not belittle any cause, whilst we follow our own. Also that we will not be violent in expression and disagreements, but benevolent in heart and deed.
And remember all the year through — hate is a relation too — but no one is worth it.
The writer is a social activist.