I admit I do no longer derive happiness from blogging. I sometimes feel it is futile expression of my thoughts. Buck stops at just expression of thoughts.
These are helpless times. I have read hundreds of blogs condemning comments by Sanjay Dutt/Manyata or condemning Managlore incident or condemning NDTV’s patronising of a blogger. Needless to say, I support all these causes. I, too, want to put a stop to criminalisation of politics. I detest all the regressive thought processes. I detest hurting innocent people irrespective of gender/region/religion in name of ‘culture’. I detest it that a very-champion-of-free-speech spawns to seize freedom of speech of other, when faced with criticism.
Now that I have firmly established that I am with these thousands of bloggers, what else can I do? We need to do something else, because our politicians are clearly not listening to us. Ours rants are limited to blogosphere, at best we find a tid-bit space in newspaper. They are ineffectual.
Did any political party leader come out in open against Mangalore incident? All of them made soft, dubious remarks about ‘cultured women’. Bottom-line was that women in pubs are taking away ‘culture’. Why didn’t they say the right thing strongly? Prepetrators walk free and there is no hope of getting Ram Sena banned. Instead it has established itself with one act of publicity. Because they don’t want to lose some of ‘our votes’. Yes, some of us do support them. Do not just blame it on all males being MCPs, what about millions us women who choose to be silent, either by will or ignorance. Even us, what did we do to actually deter them other than blog. Our ineffectual rant has ensured in future some other political-wannabe will again resort to such tactics for their 5-minute-fame. I wish we join hands to do something that scares away all such publicity-seekers-political-wannabes from trying such acts again.
Did any political party openly condemn MNS? Was any real action ever taken against MNS? Even Bal Thackeray got into action, into his old ways for fear he doesn’t lose all Marathi Manoos votes to MNS! Surely, some of us support MNS, Raj Thackeray and other such factions. Don’t tell me it’s not you. It is one of us, us common men. (Common man is also gender-biased word. Where’s the woman in it?)
MNS tactics were ticket to specific vote bank. They survive because they find believers. I will find you some silent supporters right in this blogosphere. Tomorrow there will be new political party for some other faction or religion that will bash up us calling ‘outsiders’. Are we waiting for this to happen first before we decide to take things into our hands?
I don’t know what to do other than cast my own vote. We all vote for best possible candidate out of limited choices we have. I do not vote on basis of caste, religion, gender or region. I try not to vote for criminals. But I hardly have right to reject the candidates if none of them are good (which is usually the case). Government doesn’t let me. Even though most of us want it, government gets away with turning a blind eye to it, because we let them. Criminals are being elected left, right, and centre. WE elect them. Blame lies on us.
I can neither influence the decision of people who are blind to flaws of a local government, they have their reasons. Nor can I influence those who do not come out to vote. But question lies that why are our voting choices limited to just each of us, when we all want the same thing? Why we are not united for our causes, if we believe in them so much?
What are the more actionable things I can do that WILL have impact? File a RTI. One alone can not follow up RTIs all the time, specifically when we are faced with government institutes. Why don’t we make up citizen groups that take care of it together? We can run to offices for each other. In truth every cause brings collective benefit to us. Why not do it together?
We all have supported NGOs some time or other, one that supports the causes we believe in. I too support a few. I taught slum children. I created job aids, colourful bright charts, examples to make education interesting. But every weekend, my students changed. They continuously dropped out. My effort has been zilch in my zeal to spread literacy. I can’t boast of being effective. Main problem is not to get the kids learn, but to get them regularly, voluntarily inside the class. I can, alone, maybe influence one kid, maybe 2. For I take out time only on weekends. But imagine, if we take up a cause like this in groups our free time, what wonders we can bring. I urge us to write about all NGOs we work for. Honestly, list their positives or negatives, with solutions if you have any.
I, like you, have donated money for some causes. Sometimes I too have not been convinced about how my money has been spent. I gave up tracking after few follow ups. Together we could have followed up on RTI crusades to find where all our money went. Most of us are unwilling to donate because we know our money will not reach the intended. Corruption has prevented us from helping our own. Yet how many of us have really challenged corruption?
We grease hands even to get our passports and driving licenses made. I too had a tough time getting a home loan from a National bank because I won’t bribe. It was nightmare. I thought of doing a sting operation on the bank manager, but I had time limit to pay off the house owner. So I got busy arranging funds and applying in other banks for I was determined not to bribe. I wish there were a citizen’s group where we could work together to get an expose. After I arranged loan from another bank, it was too late. National banks had covered their tracks. Either my application number no longer existed, or they had changed their reason for refusal. I will soon write a detailed post about the matter, though.
When I got robbed, I too complied with police. Foolishly. It was not until later I realised that police must have known culprits all along. There are so many robberies happening to people, even to us bloggers, that are not being reported. That are being pushed under the carpet by police by our ignorance and also because we are alone, scared to fight. My granny still screams, never ever again go to police. Your uncle was right to dissuade you. Its general attitude. You and me alone can not change it. But together we can.
Point that I am trying to make is that we all need each other at some point of time to take real action. Why can’t we like-minded, educated bloggers set up such a citizens’ forum that actually acts rather than just rant? Here I may have only painted a vague idea about citizen’s group, but I am this can be worked out if we want to. What say, folks? Any ideas if we should create such a workable group? If yes, how?
Disclaimer: All the cartoons have been created by RwB. The captions and interpretations are all mine. They may be different than what RwB may have originally intended.