Thursday, November 25, 2010

Candle light- Mumbai's only way out

It will be exactly two years, two hours from now when the insanity that is called Jihad played havoc in Mumbai . And as we remember the innocent death due to the countless senseless bullets I am sure many of us will light candles at the busy squares of our cities.

Last year this lighting of candles happened in every city be it Mumbai,Delhi,Patna or Bhopal. At that time I was in Bhopal and I saw two radio jockeys standing under a pandal as they distributed candles to the curious guys that had gathered around them.

And like everyone I too noticed that the reason that so many candles were burning to death was not because of the cause but because of the girls who were distributing them.

I don’t have issues with it- lighting of candle nor I find forming of human chains a very senseless act of displaying oneness. But what troubles me is that why do we stop at such symbolic gestures. Why do we have this feeling of contentment and satisfaction after a hard night work of lighting candles.

Lighting of candle became an important sacrosanct of any protest march after Rang De Basanti became a cult. It was like a new age bible for many a protests and the numerous protestors.

And whenever travesty of justice is seen anywhere it’s the candles that are first to come out on the streets. It was on the streets in case of Ruchika, Priyadarshini Matto and it became a beacon of light for the kins of Jessica Lal.

And we would argue that lighting of candle is a symbol of our resolve to fight the darkness. But converting that resolve into action is a very different thing. Never has a litigant won a case with a candle in his hand as he argues in front of the judge. And no government or a state will or has erased or changed something that we have perceived as wrong. Just because the state is being confronted by 200 hands that are waving candles in front of the secretariat or squatting at a busy square. The light coming from hundred candles doesn’t cast a duty on the state to act more prudentially.

The lighting of candle is nothing more than a fake truth to satisfy our ego and the say that “Yes I did my part- Now the rest is upto the others and the state”. If you want to increase the forest cover, taking out candle light protest march won’t serve any purpose. For that you will have to purchase a tree , plant it and take care of it for the initial few months. Similarly if you think that Ruchika didn’t receive justice you have to write to the lawyers, the judges, the MPs. And you have to trust yourself that the words of protest will have a more deeper and long-term impact than lighting candles

The CM in Maharastra was not removed because ten thousand people came on street and drew a graffiti which had “ sponsored by Videocon-Reliance” written all over it. Admit i , in the end it turned into another media extravaganza, a page three protest in some sense. The lighting of candle was turned into a glamorised way of showing dissent for those who are less concerned. And for those who are more serious it’s an easy way out to prove that they care.

No one forces any of us to protest, its one of the thing that is born inside of us and that too not always. So burning candles to show that we are angry when we know that in reality what we are doing it just to become a part of a crowd that too is lost for reason like us is “pseudo-protesting”.

People will argue that lighting of candles is a way to show anger at the 'system'. But think honestly does it helps in any way? Does it achieve the end result for the very purpose that you or I were on the street?

You are the one who will perhaps light a candle tomorrow. Light it purposefully.


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