THE OTHER SIDE
As it is with this great nation of ours, there are so many things happening simultaneously and also in succession. Some time ago it was people objecting to ‘Jai Shree Ram’ as a slogan while expressing selective outrage on incidents of crimes against members of a particular community while ignoring crimes against people from other communities.
In the meantime, there was major water scarcity in a southern state with its ground water also reportedly being depleted. Shortly after that various parts of India suffered from heavy rains and floods, which are still being experienced in some parts.
However, in the mass media, all these issues seemed to have been eclipsed by the Government of India’s move to abrogate Article 370 from what was then the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
This development has come as a welcome change for many supporting the decision or strongly opposing it, especially those with nothing better to do than bombard the public discourse and social media with their half-baked and judgmental views soaked in personal biases which also prevent their minds from opening up to hard facts.
Take the example of the many of the knowledgeable persons who criticised ‘Jai Shree Ram’ as a slogan while also saying that ‘Siya’ (Seeta) was removed from the slogan making it masculine. Obviously such people do not know the meaning of Shree which is one of the names of the Goddess.
When they don’t even know the meaning of Shree they will obviously not know why it is a practice in India to use Shree as a title for all males. The purpose behind citing this example was only to show the ignorance of people eager to broadcast their views based on fallacies as ‘facts’. Since the government’s decision on abrogation of article 370, the mass media is full of such views especially of those opposing the decision.
Apart from the politicians and others in the business of exploiting misinformation and conflicts for personal gains, the majority of those criticising this decision are those who have nothing to do with it and know little about it or choose to ignore the truth to suit their narrative. Observing some such people in Dehradun only reaffirmed my opinion about the stark hypocrisy and falsehood behind such expressions.
The politicians and ‘activists’ opposing this decision have themselves indulged in various undemocratic practices, have shown little interest in actively resolving local issues that directly affect them and continue to be either apathetic to or active in perpetuating the problems that ail the people on the ground in reality.
Whether it be larger national level issues or seemingly smaller local level issues, one of the factors common in most issues is the obstinate tendency of the masses and even the ‘experts’ and officials to abstain from the use of basic common sense.
And, in many of the cases, it is the reluctance of the people to use common sense that creates most of the issues that affect them negatively. Take for example the environmental degradation and traffic congestion causing major degeneration in Dehradun. Does one need to be an expert to realise that doing away with the trees and covering soil with buildings and tiles degenerates the environment?
Does one need complicated calculations to realise the effect of uncontrolled garbage generation on the environment and our lives? The recently appointed district police head has started some trials to see if the traffic flow in the city can be improved. Nothing wrong in it provided one first ensures the observance of basic traffic regulations.
Lanes are painted on most roads but not once has one seen the police enforcing the concept of lane-driving. Same goes for speed limits, silence zones and other basic regulations that one is expected to follow. It requires only common sense to realise that when the people are not observing even the basic rules, the trials and changes will not bear the required results.
However, neither the police nor the citizens will comprehend the basics and make the improvements to resolve the problems that continue despite various efforts. We are free to express our views on the Kashmir and other issues.
Unfortunately, we are also free to abstain from the use of common sense and continue to suffer the consequences of the problems we are creating and exacerbating.
It is up to us to use our right to remain ignorant and suffer or use some common sense and start resolving the problems that directly affect us here. Of course we can continue expressing views that no one has asked of us on issues that do not affect us here. Sooner or later, we will have to act on the local facts instead of blabbering on distant issues.
Saturday, 10 August 2019 | Paritosh Kimothi
Author: Paritosh kimothiParitosh Kimothi is the Deputy News Editor in the Dehradun edition.
Paritosh Kimothi is the Deputy News Editor in the Dehradun edition.
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