Cattle Class :Are We?

Each morning, as I dreamily open my eyes (I am sure like a million others), my hands stealthily reaches out for my most loyal and loving companion- my smart phone. It was just yesterday ,over coffee, that I had a Eureka-esque realisation that during my stay in England, my phone Pip has been my most loyal companion. Pip (also the name of the hero from  Charles Dickens Great Expectations) , too fuelled in me hopes high and mighty and hence the name!Scrolling through my newsfeed ,  the other morning , a news report of a woman being raped in an auto in Gurgaon (india)and her being infant killed failed to rouse any interest in my curious mind. . Bold headlines that spoke of how the victim carried her dead child in her arms in the Delhi metro to the hospital was also not met with any further  reaction. And as i browsed through my own profile, carefully looking at my profile picture , I smiled scanning at the host of notifications and went back to start my day.As usual. Well , if you think I am empty and hollow – think again. Ithink i am just a prototype of our hollow generation.

As I embarked on a moment of introspection, later in the day, I was filled with guilt and remorse. I hastily tried to allocate a few minutes to the story of the Indian woman who was raped – probably trying to compensate a sense of uneasy guilt and shame.I was feeling ashamed of my own ignored attitude towards the horrors of a raped woman carrying a dead child after being violated . I wondered at the lack of shock, disgust, fear, and horror.

Why did I not react to such brutality?Why did it take my phone battery to die and a moment of idle past time to register the horrific brutality of such incidence which afflicted a fellow sister? Have I become more immune to the violent world we live in? Above all, what will it take to shock the daylight out of me? When did the definition of shock and disgust really change?

and it was then when i realised that I, like millions others, have slowly lost our sensitivity. In a world where terror attacks are norm of the day rather than exception, and where women ceaselessly continue to be violated- i believe we are all in a process of slow desensitisation.The Nirbhaya rape case, that shook the conscious of an entire nation did nothing to deter the commitment of such heinous crime after that. While the internal organs of Nirbhaya had been mutilated through the use of a rod, the recent victim had to pay with the life of her infant the desensitisation because of our knowledge of the apparent failure of the govt in tackling such issues?or is it because we as a generation have just learnt to shrug it of as ‘somebody else’s problem’. In both cases, there is a lack of agency and empathy and we need to acknowledge that somebody needs to bell the cat!

As a nation that has the potential of such global greatness, I hang my head in shame as my friends in Britain ask me to explain what is the entire brouhaha about ‘eating non vegetarian food’ .I struggle and stutter to answer how the meat of a particular animal have captured the imagination of the entire political class and a seemingly innocent and politically disinterested animal is now caught in the crossfire amidst the corridors of power. My personal opinion and religious affiliation, mind you, are absolutely private and not for public consumption.And it should be the same for every informed citizen. I shudder to think that as rapists turn Indian women into ‘slices of meat’ completely violating all standards of humanity , my leaders and policymakers decide to squabble about what ‘meat’ should be legalised for consumption .I am ashamed that we have a corrupted electoral process, vote banks that can be bought by distribution of cheap liquor, politicians that use religion as a brand to promote communal-ism, and above all , the growing sense of utter ndifference amongst the educated and preveliged.

Opinions of a billion people are two loud to ignore even if it is a soft whisper or murmur. The key is to not to disengage and shrug rather engage :the need of the hour is actively engage ourselves to change the obsolete political system and not necessarily through mouthing slogans or beating chests.The need is to be aware, to engage the self and be a vocal critic of the current crippled socio political climate.The key is to wake our self from our indifferent and lackadaisical attitude and  question – let not religion , caste, class dictate the choices of the educated class .Instead lets embark on a journey of enquiry  – of the self and the state of the state.


Jai Hind.


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