Where change has no chance

Uneasy liasions:

The term ‘ally’ has the ring of commitment to it. Hence the preference for ‘liasions’. ‘One night stand’ and ‘strange bed-fellows’ too are no longer metaphors but reflect reality, given the orgy of political promiscuity on parade.

So, now that the law courts and people’s court have been ‘propitiated’ with Raja’s head, the Hand will henceforth shield the Sun from prying eyes with fresh gusto. What a mutually rewarding liasion! Of course, none expected the two wily partners to mate on a platonic plane. And their dalliance could cease anytime, pre or post poll, depending on numbers and power-spoils but certainly not on principles, policy or public interest all of which, though, may be put forward as alibis. For the present, however, the Cong and the DMK have no choice but to continue with their none-to-cosy wedlock: A marriage of convenience that has already extracted a hefty dowry from the exchequer!

The PMK’s sideshow, as usual, is a polltime charade, and could well be orchestrated by the two bigger players as a bargaining ploy. Not that the Dr himself is new to dilemma: Gopalapuram and Poes Garden are destinations separated by just a turn on the main street, politically and geographically, and Ramadoss has always alternated between the two. But the affair to watch is the one between AIADMK and V’kanth. J had in the past described the captain as some kind of a ‘vice’ captain and the latter had retorted in an equally tipsy tone. Add to this cocktail their competing claims to the hallowed MGR hangover and we have a truly exotic black and white pot boiler in the works.

Revolution, a revelation:

Momentous upheavals of people have marked the march of history. The American, French and Russian revolutions are so much the stuff of textbooks and historic lore that any such contemporary happening will likely not qualify for a similar halo. At best, they could be breaking news and get trampled by the advance of more news breaking. North Africa and some other Arab nations may now be bucking that notion. Not just news, but history too seems to be in the making, if the chain of events from Tunisia to Egypt are proof. All the ingredients are there: Entrenched dictators, the famed stereotypical images of masses thronging the central squares in multitudes, a few fatalities and fires here and there, army on the streets and of course, slogans, songs and solidarity. Yes, the Egyptian Revolution, circa 2011, is well and truly on its way into history books from primetime. One only wishes the pages do not get torn away by the ‘notorious tendency of Arab nations’ to never be at peace with themselves or with the rest of the world.

Now, how about an India Revolution? The closest we have had to a mass uprising was the First War of Indepencence in 1857. The British, however, degraded it as a Sepoy Mutiny and our colonised minds have swallowed that slight till date. Since then, India’s long and painful freedom struggle may have had other redeeming features, but certainly does not qualify as a revolution. Whatever revolutionary fires were ablaze in the likes of Sri Aurobindo, Azad, Bhagat, Bharathi, or Subash Bose got doused by the overwhelming deluge of Gandhian ahimsa. That, I suspect, actually catered to the collective Indian proclivity for lazy, cowardly timidity but got passed off as a virtue. So, forget milling masses in markets, even a few hundred aggressive protestors could not be rallied to storm the nearest collectorate that was guarded by a handful of English officers and some local sepoys. The British left at their convenience after some deadly mischiefs and were actually given a warm send-off without as much as a scratch on their starched attires, a courtesy that real revolutionaries do not offer their tormentors. A few of those masters actually stayed back to ensure that the Raj continued in an indigenised version.

Of course, there is this view that a revolution can only be against a domestic rule. In which case, post-independence Bharath is even less ‘revolutionary’. All the provocations are actually there: Dictatorial foreigners masquerading as local messiahs, entrenched families, political mafias, terrorism and insurgency, border issues, all round exploitation of the poor and needy, rampant loot of public money, hoarding and blackmarketing, runaway inflation, disgruntled masses and what not. Yet, an Indian Revolution is not even a distant possibility, probably because most do not even know that they can protest: That gene is extinct. Is it at all possible to bring our people to the streets for a common cause, not necessarily lofty, but say something even as petty as a broken drainage line? Well, only if there is an offer of Rs 100 per hour with an additional bata of Rs 50 thrown in for some extra sloganeering and a short outing in the police jeep. Or if some filmstar’s latest flick is stopped from being screened in the theatres.This when we have around us so many ‘revolutionary leaders’ but with nary any known revolution to their credit!

Lingering suspense:

The guesses for last week’s quiz cover all the usual suspects. But let the author of those quotes remain anonymous for now. Meanwhile, here are some more pearls of wisdom from the same fertile brain for you to savour:

‘When nations are struggling for their existence on earth, when the question of ‘to be or not to be’ has to be answered, then all humane and aesthetic considerations must be set aside; for these ideals do not exist of themselves somewhere in the air but are the product of man’s creative imagination and disappear when he disappears.’

‘Sometimes, pacifism is the worst and most virulent form of poison imaginable, particularly when it is inoculated into our people at a time when others were preparing slowly but surely to pounce … ’

‘The exclusive intellectualism of the education in vogue makes people unfit for life’s struggles at an epoch in which physical force, and not mind, is the dominating factor … a strong mind can reside only in a strong body. Nearly in every case physical weakness is the forerunner of personal cowardice’

Any closer now to the author?

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Jawahar T R