Demoralizing Democracy

A man in Mumbai creates chaos over a statement by a respected artist. His orders to his goons are.

· Not a single film involving the Bachchan family would be allowed to be released in Maharashtra.

· Maharashtrians must boycott all products endorsed by the Bachchans.

· “Whatever films and advertisements this family wants to do, they should go to UP and do it there.”

All these have come because Jaya Bachchan spoke in Hindi, and not in Marathi. “Hum toh Hindi mein bolna pasand karenge. Hum toh UPwale hain. Mumbaiwale humein maaf karein.” (I would like to speak in Hindi as I am from UP. Mumbaikars please forgive me.) What is wrong in this? Is speaking in Hindi a crime? Can’t I say with pride that I come from Bihar?

I see a young man tearing off the poster of ‘Drona’. The premiere of ‘The Last Lear’ with Amitabh Bachchan got cancelled. PVR in Mumbai that was the location of the première got vandalized. And more worrying was a procession of seemingly smart young men and women of Mumbai marching on the road and shouting slogans against Bachchans.

As a nice man Amitabh is, he apologized for Jaya’s statement. Finally, sensing some trouble Raj publicly agreed to excuse Bachchans and withdrew the agitation. Can one understand the agony of Amitabh?

Should this sort of affair be allowed? Should educated and smart Marathis select Raj as their icon? In name of democracy that provides the right to protest and agitate, these agonizing incidents are increasing in number and frequency. Should not the democracy and its leaders mature by now?

In one corner of the country, Mamata is hell-bent on derailing the revival of the industrial development in West Bengal through one of poorest way to protest in which Anuradha Talwar was reported to threaten the engineers and workers of Tata Motors at Singur. Look at one instance: “See that is my land, I will not let this wall be completed. Not for any sum of money,” declares Proshanto Singha, a Singur farmer, pointing a finger over the western wall of the Nano plant. Singha can’t do much since the project site is manned by a large police force. For Mamata, even the court order doesn’t mean anything.

In another corner, Kashmir’s Mahbooba is playing in hands of secessionists.

Is it the democracy that we adore? Is it that right of expression provided by our constitution that we respect? Who will abide by the duties of a democracy?

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