Cracking the cocoon
Why Mumbai anger is not just a knee-jerk reaction
by Dilip Cherian
DEMOCRACY is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage. But clearly our Union Home Minister didn’t quite make the ringmaster. Monkeying around with security did finally take its toll and his head has rolled. “Who will cry when you die?” though is probably the question that must have struck Shivraj Patil as he handed in his resignation, which was accepted with embarrassing alacrity.
The levels of anger and resentment in India’s public reached a crescendo in the aftermath of Mumbai. And it extends across a much broader wave-front than will be appeased by one or two rolling heads.
It is now welling up against the entire mass of politicians. It is perhaps one of the most serious and powerful residues of the dastardly terrorist strike on Mumbai. This syndrome of deep anger is no longer hidden and it will have an explosive impact in the near future. The chances are that this will be dismissed rather lightly by sanguine politicians themselves who are its target.
Some like Jaya Jaitly rubbish this as a knee-jerk reaction triggered by a hysterical media. When politicians complain that TV turns everything into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained. But this is an angry public as never before. Dismissing this shrill attack on the entire political class as an attack on democracy is just one more aspect or effect of the cocooning syndrome that seems to inure the leaders from even the thought processes of the very people who have elected them.
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