Sunday, August 10, 2008

Flying Lama, Hidden Banner

(Published in Zeitgesit, The New Indian Express, dated 9th August, 2008)

"Guess what!” a friend who works on the international desk of a news channel said, excitedly, “China’s gone and put up missiles near its stadium!”

“Whatever for?” another friend said, languidly, “to shoot down flying lamas?”

Quite likely . If a country could brand arguably the most peace-loving man on earth as ‘A Dark Force’, they might be quite justified in thinking he was building an army of Shaolin monks fighting with light sabers, an ensemble that could inspire a new generation of George Lucas movies.

But what one can’t fathom is the purpose behind segregating specially designated zones for protestors. I mean, come on! Let’s get into the semantics of ‘protest’. Surely, it is quite clear that the intent is to draw attention to something — a purpose that could be achieved in more effective ways than by waving a white (or for that matter, red) flag in a little park, which is a few hundred kilometres from the Olympic venues.

True, these games were intended to be China’s platform to showcase its progress to the world. And thanks to the Tibetan agitation, its not-soprogressive ideas where humanism and tolerance were concerned ended up being showcased. The idea of special zones for protesters in the same country where the Tienanmen Square massacre took place could be interpreted in several ways.

Is it a host country going out of its way to prove its hospitality? ‘We know you’re trying to worsen our already dubious reputation where humanism is concerned, but you’re welcome to protest in this park’?

Does it have a slightly sarcastic twinge to it? ‘Well, so much for your worldwide agitation against us; everyone’s here at the opening ceremony and you can watch too!’

Or is the motivation more sinister? ‘Well, now that you’re all packed inside, we’ll show you what those missiles were intended for…’

What next? A special spot where all anti-China banners can be kept for display before going through the shredder the next day? A video game called ‘Need for Free’ (some grammatical errors may be excused in an English-as-second-language country) where you get to play the protester, racing against the cops? Or maybe another one called ‘Hu vs Dalai Lama’?

Perhaps India should take a leaf out of China’s book, too. With the Commonwealth Games due to take place in a couple of years, and the million reasons the billion of us have cause to protest, perhaps Delhi should be divided into special zones, where each cause can be championed.

One can so picture the home minister and sports minister standing on a podium and calling out in turns, ‘all those wanting to conduct marches on the reservation issue, step this side’, ‘people upset about inflation, this way, please’, ‘all those protesting against spiritual gurus, this side’, ‘all those holding dharnas on Jallikattu, this is your area’, ‘all those for gay rights, here’s where you can sit’, ‘everyone concerned about infanticide and foeticide, here’, animal rights activists, this way please’… well, you get the picture.

More than anything else, think of the focused manner in which the media (bloggers included) could report on these issues. There would be no running from pillar to post to locate which activist is to be found, or searching for news. You’d know in advance what you could cover for entertainment or food for thought. You could even vary it up a little bit so you cater to the various groups of your target audience.

And then again, think of all the money that would be saved on ‘junior artists’ every time a Bollywood director wants to show a whole lot of people protesting about some issue or the other. Perhaps the government should consider putting in a nominal charge for all those who want to get a peek of these protests too. Might just solve the inflation problem!


Random traveler said...

Right! Having separate areas for protests. Would be cool, isnt it!!

I am not sure, why we have to even bid for such games, with so much problems to solve already. Including Commonwealth, the program to send an indian to space, rocket to moon!! Do we have to compete with NASA and ESA? I wonder sometimes.

But again, this view might be common to almost many of us in our country, but somehow, the polity does not recognise the common opinion. It is like, the government always acts against common sense/public opinion. I really wonder how that could be changed. :(

sadaboy said...

Hi Nandini,Your observations are to the point but then are you trying to view this duniyaa as a logical thing?China has but one logic--cannibalize Tibet under one pretext or another so that it can next set its bulls eye on India.
Dr SADA.Trivandrum
(welcome to my blogsites:

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