I was just watching how the Uttar Pradesh government has asked shopkeepers and malls to shut shop at 7 PM and open at 11 AM to save electricity. The news channel was getting feedback from various people who have been afflicted by perpetual power cuts in various areas of the state. They were all talking about what hardships they are going through.
Predictably, nobody was enraged. People were ranting, but they were not angry. Nobody asked the government, what the fuck it is doing to provide enough electricity to businesses as well as residents? Its job is to guarantee power while entrepreneurs and business people generate wealth for the state, not curtail their activities to make up for its shoddy work and corrupt alliances.
This is the fundamental reason why as a nation we are always surviving on the minimal. We’re never enraged, and when we are, it is for the most stupid and nihilistic reasons. Raze a mosque or a temple, people are going to hit the streets and create law and order problem. Make a film, publish a book, or create a painting that “hurts” people’s religious sentiments and they burn shops and run amok. Even when a boy and a girl of different caste or religion run away, there is the danger of public unrest. Recently the so-called “oppressed” Dalits burned an entire train because somebody had said something derogatory about Ambedkar but the same people remain mum when their own leaders loot them in broad daylight and relegate their entire generations to poverty, backwardness and illiteracy.
But do you ever see people coming out on streets, burning buses and destroying government property because there are no roads, no schools, no hospitals and no electricity? No. There are Khap panchayats for hanging couples who dare to get married without their elders’ consent, but do they ever hang goons and political charlatans for destroying their entire lives? No.
Another example is the annual flooding of Mumbai. Every year there is chaos and not even once people who are really responsible for this are chased on the streets.
I’m not saying that there should be anarchy everywhere – we already have such a simmering situation to be frank. But unless we start showing rage for the right reasons, nothing is going to change.