Thursday, April 14, 2011

Talkin about a revolution...

‘We have a revolution going…’, so I was told a week or so ago, while I loitered around in a far flung village on some work, away from the happenings in newspapers and TV. Soon as I reached Delhi, the buzz hits me… on roads, in homes, on TV and print and even in bars and pubs. I began to gather the pieces.  Anna was on a fast against corruption. And corruption, we must rout out to become the super power.

The win in the cricket world cup, (which some believe to be rigged… somewhat like the WWF that people go gaga over inspite of knowing that it’s staged) has buoyed the nation into believing that we have really achieved something. Or is it just the upwardly mobile, corporatized middle class that believes that they, and their aspirations, are all there is to the nation? Strange is the power of money that buys the media and turns a simple game of eleven men against another eleven into a frenzy.

A friend I know kept predicting the results of each match with icy coldness. They came true. Not because he is a cricket expert or a bookie but, he seem to understand the way money works. He based his calculations on what wins and situations will fetch the most money to those involved in the monetary part of cricket. So, when I watched some of the quintessential games of the world cup unfold on predicted lines, I could not help but wonder at the naivety of the crowd shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jai  and the cunning of those who created such money churning, mind numb-ers.

An entire nation is led into believing that winning a cricket cup means attaining a super power status. A country of more than a billion goes around spending (read ‘giving’) their hard earned and heavily devalued money to those very giant conglomerates, who keep them enslaved. People slog to earn and then give it back to whom they earn from, in the name of cricket and our ‘deemed’ super power status.

There appears a bizarre connection between Anna’s fast against corruption (which appears to be a more serious endeavor) and the cricket world cup. Both are turned into ‘carnival times’ for the middle class that aspires to ‘live life king size’, the elite way. Corporate employees, actors, students of posh colleges could be seen shouting slogans and uttering pious convictions against corruption on TV, alongside those on hunger strike. With their bit of goodness done, many happily got down to gulping beers at their favorite pubs… while the fast still continued. Revolution, Gandhi, Egypt, Turkey… the debacle was likened to everything possible that the journos could lay their hands on. A sense of euphoria was palpable in the air. But something was missing in the overall scene. It seemed picture perfect, but there was a something lacking which prevented it from turning into a Monalisa.

The Pied Piper of Hamlin, they say, played a tune to get all the rats, and later the children, to follow him mesmerized in the daze of a beautiful music. It seems someone out there is playing the flute again and we follow it in a similar daze. We believe it is beautiful for we are told it is. We are mesmerized by the loudness and emphasis with which the world cup is pronounced ‘world' cup - while only a handful of countries on the planet participate in it. We want corruption to go, but we do not hesitate in working for those very corporates and governments who are the root of it all. In short what we lack is a ‘soul’ - the soul that can hold our spine and head straight and make us look the other in the eye with a clean conscience.

Parvez Imam

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