© Santosh Subramanian – Some rights reserved - Under Creative Commons

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Religion, Politics & Criminal Opportunism

Religion, Caste, Politics, Attacks based on race & creed - I am terribly disturbed on the events going on back at my home town. In July this year, a school teacher who was attending a cluster meeting was beaten to death by a group of 'protesting mob' against the 7th standard social science text book. It is not yet time to forget what happened in Marad, The attack & the counter attack in Gujarat (only the counter attack gets attention in the media & politics - minority appeasement), the outrageous acts of religious conversions in the North-Eastern States, Orissa & Karnataka and the counter attack waged by the Hindu extremists (even here only the counter attack gets attention in the media & politics - minority appeasement).

When do we wake up to the reality that the caste politics and the opportunism will not take us anywhere? The statements that some of our politicians made to the media after the school teacher incident was really disgusting.

A select few compiled from the web media is given below: -
  • “The incident is deplorable…”
  • “The incident is unfortunate”
  • “Opposition should take responsibility of this incident”
  • “Educational Bandh on Monday”
  • “Mob, React!!”
  • “Panakkad Thangal should apologize to the public!”
  • “The deceased was actually ill & he died of cardiac arrest”
  • “The government is responsible for the teacher’s death”
  • “A strike force will be formed to protect the teachers…”

Now, read through all these lines. Do we see a pattern of irresponsibility? Do we see a pattern of pointing fingers? Do we see a pattern of trying to extract political mileage?

This is what I like to call as “Criminal Opportunism”.

We can see opportunists in all walks of life. They are the people who do not have an opinion or position or stand on any of the issues around them. They just go with the tide. But what we see above is taking this into a totally different level - Of being "criminally" opportunistic by being insensitive to the feelings of the deceased family. Did the government succeed in bringing the criminals to justice? I have a feeling that they would be walking down happily because, at the end of the day, it is a political crime.

My friend Biju had written a short-story interlinking the various aspects of religion and the politics around that. He uses the life of a couple who comes from two different religious backgrounds to narrate the story & he has intricately woven the theme, the message and the point into the story. I could personally relate to the most of the challenges mentioned there. If you are interested and can read Malayalam, please read the story here.

The story ends with a question - When would we be able to live in a society where religion is personal in nature and politics is social in nature?

The true problem that we face in today's society is that we try to make religion social (all social interactions based on the caste & creed of the individual) and politics as personal (being silent or not vocal about what our expectations are from the fraternity called the government - Isn't that why we see all the dirty politicians going scot free? )

Side Note: I watched the movie - A Wednesday - last weekend and was delighted to see a good bollywood movie after Taare Zameen Par. The central theme was again revolution, on the similar lines of Rang de Basanti. Wonderful performance from Nasrudeen shah & Anupam Kher - It was a welcome break to see Anupam Kher in the powerful role and I am sure there are a lot of takeaways from the film on crisis management, control, strategy and over and above execution. The best part of the film is that it does not portray the police machinary in a bad light which adds to the strength of the film.

Now, for the leaders: - Before crying out that the movies are spreading wrong ideas of violence and revolution, try to fix your home. Set it straight and right - otherwise the days when what you see in the movie becomes a reality will not be very far...


SP said...

Santosh, the religious situation is pretty pathetic with the attacks on church's in different states and India is known all over as a secular nation.. hmmm... i guess there is lot of maturity lacking in people and they interfere in anothers activity. People are yet to learn "live and let live" policy

Seeing ur review, am inspired to watch "a wednesday" :)

Santosh said...

Thanks for stopping by! Live & let live? Only in the talks, never on actions.

'A Wednesday' is probably the need of the hour

- Santosh