We did start the fire

Bangalore was in the news last month for wrong reasons. A very popular local film actor died of natural causes. And mobs, apparently mourning, indulged in arson and violence.

First of all, Rajkumar was a wonderful actor, wildly popular for many reasons. We are all sad to lose him.

But why the arsons and riots? Some said people got angry when they could not manage a last glimpse of their hero. And some said few fans chose to mourn this way. And the CM said rival political party planted goons to show him in bad light.

Rajkumar fans
Whatever. But I saw few arson incidents live on TV. Guys who burnt cars and buses were all laughing, giggling and enjoying it. Some even whistled while playing lets-see-who-breaks-that-first. I definitely could not find a sad or angry face there.

There is this feeling that if you are in a mob you can get away with anything. And for a reason, perhaps because no one ever gets caught as long as there is a semblance of – usually political – justification. Well, just one of those India-special things.

CM said they will do things like watch video from TV channels to nab the culprits. Good intentions. But, even if he delivers on this, be sure our great media will not air this commendable act of justice. Who will pay to watch that, people like to see fires and fights on TV, right? And arrests and trials make boring news, unless its a celebrity being tried.

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One Response

  1. […] When a political group declares a bandh, it uses real muscles to enforce it. They use paid vandals, and the "mob can always get away" reality to enforce their diktat. I remember seeing it all while growing up. Jeeps full of hooligans would drive around the town to force down shutters of all the businesses. A journalist would usually follow with a camera. Once the drama was done, many shops would return to business as usual. And next day, we would have reports in the news papers – "XYZ party's bandh peaceful and successful" – followed by pictures of shops that were forced shut! […]

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