Protests in Tamil Nadu – a lesson, a warning!
It’s not just a protest for overturning the ban on the 1000+ year old traditional event, Jallikattu but an outpouring of the disappointments of being ignored for too long and being treated as a second class citizen. It is a resentment of the establishment who have taken the Tamils and Tamil Nadu for a ride and the partial treatment meted out to its citizens on all inter-state issues. It is the culmination or start of their angry outpouring for all the real and perceived apathy shown by both State and Central governments. Jallikattu is just a touchstone that set off the current firestorm of protests across Tamil Nadu.
A leaderless protest conducted with the utmost dignity and decency even with the gathering running into hundreds of thousands at any one place. While a sight to behold, it is also an alarm bell sounded out to the lethargic governments at large. No longer can they take the power of the people, it’s youngsters and the student community for granted. The mobilization of the gathering at such stunning speed and its sustenance over a number of days is a clear sign of the high level of discontent prevalent amongst the population of this country.
This was collective leadership at its best and didn’t require project managers to manage and plan its execution nor it required approvals or guidance from executive management. It was each individual operating at a very high level not only on the ethical front (women and young girls have been sitting through the nights without lights and not one incident of misbehaviour) but in a professional manner that is definitely a lesson for the most rigid professional. A movement doesn’t require management to approve and initiate, a band of sponsors with a trusted project manager to execute. All that is needed is a sound and passionate premise and the collective will of the people to follow through.
What the people of Tamil Nadu have shown with this protest is something that can and will be replicated in the weeks, months and years to come across the country. It is the blueprint that will launch a hundred protests around India on issues close to their hearts. The political establishment in this country have had a free run all these years, now it’s the turn of the people to establish themselves and take control of proceedings.
We are seeing democracy as it should be – for the people, of the people and by the people. Mahatma Gandhi had a dream of Indian women walking on the streets without fear in the middle of the night. If he were alive today, he would have seen them not only walking the streets but able to hold their own in protesting throughout the night too. Truly a proud and historic moment to cherish for every Tamilian and Indian!
We will remember the Pongal of 2017 as the watershed moment in post-Independence India when Indian democracy truly came off age. Vaazhga Tamizh! Long Live India!
-contributed by Kannan Swamy