All over the world, activists pick on topical important issues and find ways to rally more people around their view. Many revolutions have been started by these activists and some of them have had outstanding results – change of regime in Egypt for instance. The revolution started on FB if I am not wrong and just spread like wildfire. But, on the flip side, there have been several spectacular failures… the environmental issues that plague the Earth for instance. Climate change is a reality and there have been a series of Greta Thunberg’s who have spoken of the same issues at many UN summits, leading nowhere. Greenpeace started out as an activist organization … but has just morphed into something else.
Closer home, in India, activism has become a political tool. The opposition today finds a cause and rents an activist to front end it :(. The following tweet made me think of activists as a group and also about the causes they fight for…
I first heard of Ms. Patkar way back in college and I was very impressed. I thought I should read up about the Sardar Sarovar Dam and find a way to support her. I was in my third year of college and had several other things going on so the thought remained a thought. Then, in January this year, I saw Ms. Medha Patkar at the Thiruvananthapuram airport. We had taken a Spicejet flight and we saw her at the baggage carousel. Her luggage was the first to arrive. She took her bag and almost ran out of the airport, obviously in a hurry. As the taxi took us to the hotel, we saw a few anti-CAA posters and understood that she had probably come to address those folks. Obviously she didn’t pay for her flight ticket or her hotel stay… so where is the money coming for these anti-CAA protests? If they can pay for people to fly down everywhere just to lend their name, what sort of activism is this?
I have no issues with activists getting vocal about causes dear to them …. but I want to know the results ! Movie stars lend their 1000 watt smiles and beefy arms to causes just when their movies are about to release. The most famous star who started the trend is Aamir Khan. Turned up at some random rally for a random “cause” only when his movie was about to be released. Then the movie industry figured out this “cheap” PR tool and used/uses it fully – remember Padmavat(i) ? All that noise died down as soon as the Rajasthan elections or some state election was done and everyone went home richer. Sweet.
Cut to anti-CAA protests that took place in JNU … was it anti-CAA or was it a fee-hike protest? Pardon me as I am still unclear. But Ms. Padukone lands in the midst of it looking as beautiful as ever, without her favourite “Chapaak” look to support whatever cause the students were protesting for. Besides her tasteless, insensitive and utterly flippant comment about the “Chapaak” look (acid victims undergo tremendous trauma, its not a look) where is she now? Her movie released, don’t know if it did well or not, but she sure got a lot of people to watch it and hey, her bank balance got beefier. There were many at that time, who spoke of Deepika’s spunk and spine etc … did her movie atleast sensitise you to the pain of the acid victims? Is anyone taking up the issue of acid attacks and getting the laws changed to put an end to this barbaric revenge tactic used by some demons ? Watched movie – check, ate popcorn – check, praised Deepika’s look – check and remembered to help acid attack victims or take up their cause – what’s that????
Wait for the hullabaloo to settle and soon you find the cause forgotten, the activists’ have collected their rent and all is well and ready for the next election/change in law/change in president/change in college. Amidst all this, the Mango people like you and me, lose friends, waste time and grow older.
The biggest con-activism that has been done in the world, with fat salaries and even fatter benefits is the United Nations. Its toothless and sitting on prime real estate and twiddling its thumbs. It watches quietly as China gobbles up Tibet without a burp; it wrings its hands like a damsel in distress, while America bombs Laos during the Vietnam war, leaves Unexploded ordnance behind to continue maiming and killing people; it snores while GM crops are brought to Africa as a solution for malnutrition; it farts while child trafficking goes on; waits like a shy bride while ISIS goes on a rampage …. the list is endless. The UN is dead. High time someone unplugged it and replaced it with something that works.
Activists in India, wake up smell the cause ! You have unfortunately lost all credibility. Get your act together, work towards showing some results and then we shall see ….. did Karma catch up with Kamra? just asking.