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The General Apathy

31 Jul

       The world has been engulfed with a self-centred perspective where ‘I’ has become dominant and ‘We’ has turned into a subdued principle. This is manifested into the various exploitations that affect us may it be social, political or environmental.  

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      We are becoming competitive day by day where the idea of self-development is interpreted in terms of monetary achievements. As we must have observed, the disparity between the rich and the poor is widening and the former prefers maintaining the hierarchy and exploits the latter. Since, Capitalism and consumerism are complementary hence the capitalists by increasing the cost of living create proletariats, who for satisfying needs and fulfilling greed, would work for them to buy the products of their labour. This is very apathetic as the bourgeoisie simply want to become superior and subordinate the people belonging to the lower strata. In a very Marxist sense, we need to channel a revolution by removing the false consciousness of living in a good world.

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       Social apathy in India is not just because of classist views but also because of casteist prejudices. Here historically, those who were poor also were people belonging to the lower castes thus they were victims of double exploitation. I agree that there has been a shift in the situation now but that is mainly congregated in the urban populace but in the rural locations this is still vivid. It certainly is a shame on the political system if caste still is a dominant principle after so many years of independence and reservation policy. However, it may also be apathetic when we deny someone the right to education or employment by the accident of belonging to an upper caste or a majority religion but lack financial strength whereas those who reap the benefit of the reservation policy may also be economically strong.

caste-systemIndia

      Women are also susceptible to being exploited because of the hierarchy initiated by the patriarchal setup which culminates into incidents like the Nirbhaya rape case or incestuous sexual assaults or eve-teasing etc. This patriarchy is insinuated by the various social institutions especially family where there is mostly a segregation of females from an early age and religion which divulges different codes of conduct for both women and men where the former faces immense amount of restriction. For instance, menstruating women are not permitted into places of worship believing that they would affect the purity of it. Even, politically, to exercise control over a particular region the mechanism that is mostly used is to exploit the body of a woman or to use rape as a weapon in war. The other victims are the persons belonging to a minority religion. I presume that there can be a prominent change if we stand, as John Rawls says, behind a “Veil of ignorance” from where all the attributes of class, caste, sex, gender, religion etc. would be absent.

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john-rawls

John Rawls

          Political apathy can be understood firstly through the treatment of the first world countries over the others. For example, USA for its desire to acquire the oils reserves in the Middle East is strategically conquering the countries by creating internal strife and then appearing as a messiah to solve it for the sake of human rights. Also, such powerful nations try to economically subdue the lesser developed ones in terms of various aids and infrastructural support. Secondly, through the politicization of any religion; generally, to gain power political parties ascribe to religious sentiments for acquiring votes. In India, for instance, the Babri Masjid demolition was a sinister act of the BJP-VHP alliance for the support of the Hindu populace and for the flourishing of Hindutva or we have politicians making hate speeches against a particular religious group.

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  To understand environmental apathy, let’s imagine ourselves to be part of a web of life where each component has an individual and an inter-relational role to play and through these various functions we develop a harmony. However, futile components should be replaced or removed for a smooth channel but if one component becomes dominant then there would be a chaos. For instance, mining in the Niligiri Hills by Vedanta Resources has caused ecological imbalance also, displacement of the tribal; at the same time we cannot deny that raw materials are essential for industrial production for which mining is necessary but there should be a limit set up which can be best done by self-regulation. Another example would be the excessive use of plastics by us humans which is certainly harming our surroundings. All this human-centrism will definitely lead to environmental degradation and it has begun. Here, the Kantian idea of treating others as an ‘end in themselves’ should be viewed in a broader context consisting all of nature’s creation as we are just a part of the ‘Whole’.

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      The people who are worst hit by this attitude are the youth. It may be so because of the constant exposure to the apathetic adults or by inheritance but I seriously doubt whether attitudes can be transferred through genes. We merely live in the shroud of consumerism that we limit our purview to brands, goods and fashion and forget to notice the serious socio-political concerns. The ‘chalta hai’ way of life which has engulfed our generation prevents us from looking beyond our selves until something affects us directly. However, revolutions can only come forth when the youngsters become conscious regarding the various corruptions around and determine to change as we are supposedly the most energetic ones. So guys, let’s rise up and transmute from being apolitical to political and set an example by treating people of lower and higher status with sameness and fighting for social justice similarly.

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      To conclude, apathy has become a part and parcel of our lives and it is detaching us from our responsibility towards our fellow beings also making us exploit them. Thus, we are required to imbibe empathy for a better and harmonious living.

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Secularism and India

1 Oct

                 What is secularism? That is the concept we primarily need to expound. In the west, the term denotes the separation of the church from the working of the state. In the Indian context, it is the freedom to propagate and practice one’s own religion without being interrupted or interfered and when the propaganda doesn’t hurt the religious sentiments of the others.

                But are we secular? Is India a secular nation? I agree that we are taught in educational institutions that it is and this is also mentioned in the constitution but in actuality are we? I don’t think so. We are predominantly a Hindu country and that’s the biggest dilemma.

                    We constantly come in confrontation with examples of communalism that challenge secularism and one of them would be the ‘Ram Janmabhoomi issue’. Through this we would be able to provide a distinction between the two opposite forces. If the ’Vishwa Hindu Parishad’ had solely requested for the proclamation of the land as the ‘birthplace of ram’ then that could have been termed as a secular demand but the demolition of  ‘Babri Masjid’ turned it into a communal one. It was clearly visible then that the whole issue had been a political mockery staged by the B.J.P in collaboration with the V.H.P to assert their victory in the ’93 elections.

'The demolition of Babri Masjid'

‘The demolition of Babri Masjid’

                   Their success lies in their ability to instigate people and this instigation motivated the public to commit the demolition. The documentary ‘Ram ke Naam’ by Anand Patwardhan reflects the naive mentality of the locals who were involved in the triggering of the issue and especially that of the youth enrolled in the ‘Bajranj Dhal’. He interrogates people regarding the date of the birth of Ram but none are able to provide a definite answer and they won’t be ever able to as there isn’t any evidence to prove it. If this was the case, then how could they make an assertive claim that Ayodhya is the place where Shree Ram was born and also that the masjid was erected by Babur after razing a temple? It isn’t valid. Even if we consider that the Mughal emperor had destroyed the mandir (which is a colloquial term for temple) and constructed a mosque instead, still it must have occurred some 500 years prior to the obliteration. When the incident had occurred the masjid had become a part of the rich heritage of India and to demolish such a structure is criminal.

English: Film maker Anandpatwardhan

English: Film maker Anandpatwardhan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The documentary 'Ram Ke Naam'

The documentary ‘Ram Ke Naam’

                   The documentary had become crucial in the trial conducted by the Allahabad court and moreover, its importance lies in the fact that it was shot prior to the demolition and covers the various factors which contributed to it including the ‘Rath yatra’ conducted by the B.J.P honcho, Mr Advani.

'The Rath Yatra'

‘The Rath Yatra’

               With the above mentioned example we can describe communalism by saying that it is the act of linking politics and religion and causing harm to people belonging to another religion.

Secularism

                  Another example to support the view that India is a Hindu nation is that of our reservation quota. The policy as a concept is an ideal one because the weaker sections will have greater chances of acquiring seats in government institutions with lesser competition but in practice, it’s purely sectarian. The people who benefit from this; scheduled castes, schedule tribes and other backward classes are nothing but the minorities of the Hindu religion and that’s very unfortunate because persons belonging to other religious communities are denied reservation in institutions, other than those where the management is held by that particular sect, even though they too had to enroll in conflicts with the dominant religion; Hinduism and they still have to.

                 I don’t think that when Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had included the term ‘secular’ in the preamble while drafting the constitution, he had thought about the fact that it’ll never be wholly implemented. Even he didn’t appreciate the dominance of Hindutva and had converted to Buddhism as that’s more peaceful and more loving and more importantly a way of live than a religion. Even Hinduism was once conferred the same title but that was centuries ago.

Dr. Ambedkar

Dr. Ambedkar

                   To sum up, India is a great country and there is no denial about that but its greatness is constantly threatened by sectarian politics. Secularism had been a cherished virtue in the past; it has its mention in the various scriptures and documents. Thus, it’s inherent to Indian culture. In the present day, the secular outlook is constantly challenged by communal uprisings. For a better future, for the betterment of human kind and for the being of a harmonious society, we should strive to revive and strengthen the virtue and also to make people realize it’s value.

col_gurcharan_das_20040329                 harmony

The End…

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