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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

India: Overwhelmingly a nation of the shameless, heartless and sadists; well on the road to be the next America

On August 14, 2004, Dhananjoy Chatterjee was hanged in Kolkata for the rape and murder of Hetal Parekh, a teenaged schoolgirl. The way the guy was hanged brought about a sense of revulsion in me. It was almost choreographed like the lynching of blacks in America that went on well into the 20th Century. There was a great debate on whether the guy should have been executed at all and I followed the lively debate in the Sify Discussions and you can see how it went. I was particularly impressed by the post of goldenarcher and was amused by the replies it got.

That was two years back. This is 2006 and we see the same old sadistic mentality, this time not by the 'System' but by vigilante justice. The lynching of four youths in Bihar’s Ara district in the presence of police is testimony to the fact that somewhere deep down our hearts, we are sadists. The bloodcurdling scenes of the youths being beaten and then choked to death in front of hundreds of people, media and the police have left me with deep doubts on whether I am a member of a civilized society. If I go by the definition of 'being civilized', I can see no reason why I shouldn’t categorize myself with the savage. And, we criticize the Taliban, the Iranians for barbarism!

Then comes the tragic death of five people who drowned waiting for help for eleven hours (!) in the River Khari in Pali Rajasthan. Eleven hours and a distance of just over 100 meters to cover, yet nothing done to save the ill-fated guys. If you put yourself for a couple of minutes in their positions mentally when they were waiting to be rescued, crying and waving for help for eleven long hours, you can imagine the horror they went through. District administration officials, police, firefighters, soldiers and the hundreds of onlookers were not enough. There was no aerial attempt to rescue them, no full-hearted effort at all. Eleven hours, just imagine it didn’t happen in a flash before anyone could understand! Then came the classic from Vasundhara Raje – 'Should the on looking minister have jumped on the rampaging river to save them?' Thick-skinned people have no shame, no remorse, and no emotions at all. Khulla Panga has an emotive article on this.

A few weeks back, the rescue of Prince captivated the national imagination. Tears were followed by prayers all over the nation by all the faiths, which was followed by overwhelming good wishes to the rescuers followed again by tears – this time of joy when the boy was eventually dug out. Similarly, a few months back, when a certain TV channel showed how an old woman was treated by her daughter-in-law, it invoked some strong emotions across the nation.

What does this show? We are same (or maybe even worse) than what Americans were until it suddenly metamorphosed itself to a great country championing freedom and human rights (at least on the surface level). However, if you scrap the surface a little you would find that the criminal justice system in America is one of the harshest in the entire world. But then, it is reminiscent of the barbarians they once were (not so long ago). The more evolved than the rest were able to convince the lesser evolved into doing things covertly and thus we see America the way we see it now. Guantanamo Bay, secret prisons, Abu Ghraib and Afghanistan is the hidden face of the monster.

Great Britain became the superpower that it was after a history of disemboweling prisoners, torturing and swinging them from the docks of Greenwich and all over the world. It became successful but then America succeeded Great Britain as the next superpower following a campaign of public lynchings, racial discrimination, juvenile executions (that the Supreme Court banned recently in 2005).

Does that mean India is next on the line to be the next superpower? Well, the signs tell all and we indeed are on the path to become one in the next 50 years or so. Nah! It won’t be China for all the nations that became true superpowers were democratic from the start and with a thriving intelligentsia with the freedom to change thoughts. China can become the next superpower, but it is destined to be doomed like the Soviet Union, unless of course it goes for a full and true democracy. So India it will be!

The Guru will be back soon with his thoughts and view. Au revoir.


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