No ban, please

Democracy promotes and revels in disorderly chaos, and thrives on the order that emerges out of this ruckus. However, every now and then things spin out of control, and it is then that the state intervenes. And if it’s an organised outfit to blame, the first thing we seem to seek is a blanket ban on the activities of such organisation. But what exactly do such bans do? Fundamentally, they seek to choke the banned organisation into submission. And this runs counter to the principles on which democracy – any democracy – is founded upon.

The violation of peace and order must be seen as a law and order problem and should necessarily be dealt with accordingly. To assume that the very existence of an organisation is against public interest is like saying that only ‘meaningful and productive’ talk is allowed and one should remain gagged till the time he or she comes up with something that makes sense. It’s after lots of nonsensical thoughts and words back and forth that something seminal emerges. To muffle the stupid is to kill the genius.

Therefore, banning an organisation – be it SIMI or Bajrang Dal – is a completely undemocratic exercise. And irrespective of the justification tendered such bans gnaw at the very foundation of the democracies across the world. After all, as Martin Luther puts it, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Let’s not do a disservice to the plurality of opinion innate in the very concept of democracy. In the long run, tolerance to unpalatable opinions would pay well.

The article was originally written for Merinews

Raj, The Puppeteer

I am not sure if my forefathers liked the Raj or not (my father surely didn’t), but it seems that bypassing my father the genes of ‘Raj love’ managed to sneak into my system. I like all things ‘Raj’, including its Thackeray version. This bespectacled, boyish man looks like a hardboiled, nicely-fried and thoroughly cooked politician who has taken upon himself to give the new generation a taste of ‘Divide and Rule’.

And he is doing it by administering a political injection of pride and identity to the people, who like him for the perceived sweetness of the medicine. So, if he stopped saying what he says, nobody would listen to the poor guy. He just wants to be heard, and is doing all that it takes to have willing ears. He is no Mahatma Gandhi who would come with a nearly-unique political ideology and instill a sense of purpose into the masses who, for the most part, behave like a herd of goats.

But then, why single out Raj? Who, among the politicians today, has a fraction of Gandhi’s strength and conviction? Who has the moral courage to take on the high, mighty and unreasonable solely with the intangible force of truth and virtue? Who would die for the ‘greater common good’, if there is such a thing?

Raj represents our loss of identity as one nation. Thus, to regain it, is the most effective remedy against such cheap. Let’s cease to be puppets and kill the puppeteer, once and for all. That’s what we did during the Raj; let’s do it to the likes of Raj, too.

PS: Don’t take the first sentence too seriously. I don’t like Raj at all, any of the varieties.