SMS Y to 5782711

Do you remember the time, not long ago, when people, at least here in Bangalore, formed human chains? When they had fancy stickers on the mudguard of their bikes, at the back of their cars, wearing black on a certain day while proclaiming their love and support for a man who they had never heard about ever before? Besides the things people did to show the support, there was one thing constantly making rounds: If you indeed supported him and really wanted the bill, his bill, to be made into a law, a piece of paper that could suddenly transform the times that we live in, for better or for worse only God can tell, you had to give a missed call. Yes. A missed call.

Anna Hazare asked the country for a missed call (A far cry from Subhas Bose’s demand for blood in return for freedom but hey, this is 2012). And we all obliged.

Hazare did something that no one in recent times could. Of all things, rekindled that fire, channeled that anger. We all had always thought that we deserve better politicians, now we were sure. But somewhere he also managed to create a beast out of the whole political system and made us believe that this external entity, this bad thing that could bite us all off, had to be tamed and put on a leash. We were our own heroes, the good guys. Those holding office, those ministers, the bad guys.

So we continued to live our lives as we always had. On one hand we put pictures of Hazare on our car bumpers and on the other we bribed traffic policemen, registrars, brokers and everyone else who could make our lives a little easier than standing in queues or visiting courts. But yes, we always were proud of supporting Hazare, our demand for that bill that most of us never bothered to discuss the internals of, forming human chains and giving missed calls.

And now we would be continuing our good deeds every sunday morning. Just like we believed Hazare would eradicate corruption, Aamir Khan has arrived with a bang to put a full stop to all social evils, one evil at a time, every week. The convenient time of a lazy sunday morning: all we would need is to press “Y” and send an sms — that’s it.

Did that just sound that I am against Satyameva Jayate? To many it did. Well, here’s my credo: I believe Anna Hazare and Aamir Khan have done all within their power to bring about a change. But I also believe that social evils can’t vanish when a celebrity hosts a tv show or writes a letter to a state’s chief minister.

I went about, asking people, about this change they were expecting. I was given many examples, quotes that startled me — like compared to America, there’s no incentive to be honest here. I have pondered on this for sometime but I can’t understand, why would someone need an incentive to be honest? And if that indeed holds good, lets say it has merit for we have an argument at stake, won’t you understand if your local politician comes up with a mini-scam?

And then there’s this golden excuse: Let them at the top change first. A top-down approach: The change for the good should begin at the top, why bother until then?

There will be many times in our lives when we are not on a couch and when it’s not a sunday morning, when we are not thinking of Aamir Khan that we’ll have two choices: one would be easy, all we would need to do is look the other way and the other would be tough, way out of our comfort zone. If for once, when we choose not to look the other way and take that tough call, we would have made an impact to our society in our own way.

So, Power to Aamir Khan and his show. But an “SMS Y to 5782711” will only take us so far.

4 thoughts on “SMS Y to 5782711

  1. I’ve just smsed “Y” to 1231888234 to say I like this post.

    Ooops. That should have been 1231888235! Now what do I do?

    In other words, spot on. More later. As you know I’ve gotta run this morning.

  2. Haha yes, like Dilip, spot on and I must send that sms too. I think we should stop underestimating the real problem and get far more serious about it. Which means going beyond TV shows, however well-meaning, that are still caught in stereotypical thinking.

  3. I agree Aditya – while these programs build good awareness – their ability to actually effect change is restricted. The change will begin when each of us individually and collectively make the right and honest choice of not bribing officials; and holding them accountable.

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