This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 6; the sixth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
It is late night. It is dark. I am sitting on the terrace of my apartment block as I key in this. I am in a terrible state of mind. When I get ready for Blog-a-Ton 6 I am supposed to be excited as usual, thinking about the number of people who are going to visit pagedIN from tomorrow, the number of comments that I are on my way. But I am not that excited today.
I was getting my post for Blog-a-Ton 6 ready in the evening. I wanted to try and see how the word ‘writer’s block’ evolved. I was putting together my post and was on the third paragraph when TweetDeck brought up a shocking news and a graphic video clip along with it, from @ndtv. In a clear case of mistaken identity, a Tamilnadu Police Officer was brutally murdered in Thirunelveli. More pathetic and brutal than the murder itself was the attitude of the two Ministers and top-notch Government Officers who stood there, watching a helpless man bleed to death. It seems that the ministers never bothered to get out of their car and it took eight minutes for the Collector to get out and call an ambulance. The government convoy waited next to the dying man for twenty minutes, for the ambulance to arrive. I was shocked. I was angry. I was agitated. I was disillusioned. I felt terrible. I forgot Blog-a-Ton. I forgot Writer’s Block. The image of a dying man, with no one to help him next to a fleet of white cars was all I could think of. Shame on you India, I thought. Shame on you Indian democracy, I thought.
I can understand why no one got out of the cars to help this man for the first eight minutes. Our times are really bad. The police had to make sure that this was not a ploy to harm the VIPs in the cars for security reasons. I can really understand why they waited for eight minutes before getting out to find what was happening. But, after that? When there were at least five to eight cars at the place, they waited for an ambulance to arrive. Leaders who are elected to serve the people, two of them, were at the spot and they never bothered to get out, they never ordered the policemen to rush the victim to the hospital.
Where are we heading to? How meaningful is a democracy of this sort, if the leaders do not have even the sensibility to help a man dying right in front of their eyes? Whom can we blame? My mind was reeling with questions on questions, when all of a sudden I remembered a situation I witnessed a few months ago.
I was in Kerala, in my hometown. I had to go to another city for something very important and I was walking to the bus terminal. It was afternoon and the sun was blazing. As I was walking, I noticed an old man struggling by the wayside. Everyone who passed by him never bothered to stop and take a look at what was happening. They just passed him by as though nothing was going on. I was on the opposite side of the road. I noticed that his face was covered in blood. He was an old man. He was trying to get up on his feet and it sure looked like he was not going to. And the City Hospital was a few feet away from there, where he was lying. What did I do?
I wanted to help him. But was he a drunkard? Or was he attacked by someone and were I going to end up in trouble if I went ahead and helped him? Or did he really need help? And why would I be bothered when no one around seemed to be bothered? I was going to be there only for a day or two and I didn’t want to end up in trouble, called to the court as a witness for things like that. I could have drawn the attention of the people around to that old man and told them I thought that man was in trouble and needed help. I could have run to the hospital and informed the Emergency Ward about the man dying [I wish he was not] right in front of their hospital. What did I do? I did nothing, I walked away.
Now as I sit to judge the elected representatives to tell them they don’t deserve to be our leaders, the dying man I did not help stands there, laughing at me. When I tell them how shamelessly inhuman they are, he shows me my own inhuman tendencies. I cannot judge them. They are my leaders because I deserve them. We are living in the most insensitive era of history. We just do not care. How can I expect my leaders to be sensitive, when I am not? “Be the change you want to see!”, the shadow of the frail half-naked man who lived and died for Indians whispers in my ears.
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