Thursday, December 25, 2008

The 400-crore yacht, among other things - Part 3/5

We, the people, suck
There is a huge disconnect between different strata of the society within the limits of a metropolis, and one needn't look further than the city which is always in the limelight, and quite often for tragic reasons - Bombay. Now there's a city which has seen strife not only recently, not only during the serial bomb blasts of '93, '03 and '06 (among many other such sporadic incidents), not only during the flash flood of '05, not only during the riots of '84 & '92 and not only during the on-and-off bashing of minorities and outsiders ever since the Shiv Sena was founded in the mid 60s, till date (with its breakaway faction MNS joining in).

Bombay isn't a unique case but is definitely a classic example of the undeniable fact that we, the people, are already divided on numerous counts, whether we like to admit it or not. There are people for whom religion is of utmost importance; for some, there are castes; for others, there are regions. For my fellow youngsters, it is increasingly becoming "cool" to shun religion and denounce the caste system while citing both as an example to deride our elders and emphasise the importance of our generation (augmented by the random percentage figures of our population under a certain age), but given the urban setting that we are growing up in, we are unbelievably divided socio-economically, and by our very own logic, are no better than our seniors.

It is so easy for us to blame the politicians for dividing us, whereas we are an inherently divided people and they are simply taking advantage of this fact. The fact that the Sena (and now, the MNS) survive is because they have a substantial enough support base. A reader who on the lines of the chain SMS wrote about non-Marathi commandos vis-a-vis "Marathi kids playing cricket on the empty streets" was lampooned by other readers, who in venting their ire came out in support of those 2 parties, their leaders and their beliefs. Then again, a politician who voiced the first thing that came into my mind when I heard that the ATS chief who was a key figure in the Malegaon investigations had been killed ("how convenient") and who could have done without saying so given that he is a Union Minister is being ostracized by what is emerging to be a potent combine - showbiz and media. And the urban populace is firmly with this non-political coalition.

(to be continued)

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