We Indians are emotional and our memories are short lived. This makes us a dangerous combination. The lynching and outrageous mindset are result of the high sentiments and low rational thinking.
COVID19 has brought the entire world to its knees. India too has it's fair share of issues. In fact, despite the quick decision making government and supporting citizens, due to versatile economic backgrounds and sheer population, some of us, especially poor, started suffering.
However, this also exposed certain weak spots of us as society. We have been honing our morality at the wrong place and on wrong things.
In past also we have misplaced our morality on several occasions. We have glamorized suicide and failed to highlight that suicide, end of the day, is a crime. We failed to highlight that false allegations of sexual offences on men are immoral too. We failed to highlight lack of basic discipline as common citizens, when we question administration on failure to control violence, instead of targeting the violators.
Governments have their responsibilities and we citizens too have our responsibilities. When we see poor kids die in Bihar due to eating Litchee, empty stomach, we question Bihar government, which we must for Health infrastructure, but don't question the parents, which we must, for sheer responsibility of the kid's death. When we see the plight of a rikshaw puller, who earn ₹ 200 a day to feed his family including eight children, we question goverments, but not the parents, why they gave birth to poor kids, when they can barely feed them twice.
In recent times, two incidents have invoked these thoughts again, and both of them sounds highly insensitive and arrogant. But if you think deep, they are not.
First one is the death of sixteen labourers on railway tracks. They were not committing suicide, but were going back home on foot. It was a tragic and heart wrenching incident. Made my entire day sad, feeling for their families and friends. It also made me angry for their foolishness.
We can question Governments, both state and center as per our ideologies and we must, about the plight and suffering of the poor. We can also question them on the suffering of poor and their failures on providing timely facilities or rather lack of them during these testing times. We must also question the lethargic approach and incompetence of government and administrative machinaries.
However, we also must question ourselves and our duty during this pandemic. Railway tracks are not comfortable sleeping beds. A person sleeping on railway tracks are not getting any comfortable sleep, which they cannot get outside of those tracks. Hence, the argument, they were tired and fell asleep fall flat. I don't consider it even an argument.
So whereas, we can question the incompetence of government, we must also highlight the boorish, rather idiotic act of those labourers. Instead we glamorized them. Top of that, the government of home state of these deceased labourers announced to pay each of them Rs 5 Lakhs. We think these acts are moral. Is it really?
Think this way. Aren't we promoting suicide. Tomorrow, a man, who see complete failure in his life, and may decide to act in such a way that his family is paid after his death. Where is our morality in saving those precious lives in future?
Second incident is of Itarasi railway station, where labourers fight for food. People, media and almost everyone is talking about plight, hunger and what not, justifying their behaviour and cursing administration, railways and government.
I agree on cursing administration, railway and government. But I disagree on behaviour of fight for food. And I have reasons.
The trains, Shramik Specials are non AC, and hence the government cannot provide food for entire duration, else food will get stale. So the food can be provided at pre decided stations. Then, the running hours of trains from Mumbai is not more than 12 hours. Even if you are hungry since 24 hours, you are not supposed to behave like that with the food. Third and important part, they looted the food, which were supposed for them only, so why not take it in disciplined manner? Fourth and most important one, the looters were taking more than enough food, which was also meant for other fellow co-travellers, who were not as aggressive. So why we highlight the idiots and not those sane people, who despite of hunger, were more disciplined?
We must accept that our morals are misplaced. We, in order to show ourselves concerned and humane, often cross the line of sane thinking.
Just because there is a mob, which behaves in certain manner, won't make its behaviour right. Just because we have to question administration and governments, won't make their behaviour proper. This is the basis of mobocracy, the mob justice, the lynchings, where a herd of like minded idiots does uncivilized behaviour abd justify it.
I hope, the sensitivity and morality are placed properly. I hope, we can understand the difference between plight and uncivilized behaviour.
I hope we sympathize with the poor for the right reasons and I also hope, someday, we have the courage to go against the tide and show mirror to ourselves for our misplaced moralities.