Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A good bit of blackmail

Blackmail is all about fear and shame. It means that someone can make you do something you don’t want to do because you are ashamed of the consequences. When Gandhi-ji fasted, he persuaded colonial rulers and Indian mill owners to overturn decisions that hurt millions of people.Why didn’t they just let him die?... Mass murder was already happening — directly, like in Jallianwala Bagh, or indirectly, like the Bengal famine. If the government wasn’t ashamed of starving millions, why was it afraid of one old gent starving to death?

I think it’s because when somebody goes on hunger strike, his life is at the mercy of the collective. It is like saying — “I think my life is not worth living under these circumstances. You can choose to do something about it. Will you?”

You can argue. But you cannot deny that a problem exists and must be fixed urgently...

Which brings me to the question of why some fasts are ignored. Hazare’s fast lasted five days and the state blinked. But for 22 days in 2008, Bhopal gas tragedy victims and activists like Sathyu Sarangi were fasting at Jantar Mantar. When they were close to critical, they stopped and another bunch of activists took over. No blink.

Read the whole article here.

No comments:

Tweets by @anniezaidi