Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What’s “Larger Than Life”?

"Larger than life" is a very common phrase in the English literature; we have got a music album also with this name and whenever there arises a discourse regarding any commited goal, the phrase strikes the mind. Let me ask, what is larger than life? A very individual question, but may be answered in a general framework of the dialectics between life and death. Last day, 22 medicos asked for mercy death from the President of India just for the sake of their protest against quota.There seems no discourse on this incident in our culturally great society.
Is reservation such a matter, say "larger than life" that one can ask for mercy death? There are many aspects of this nuisance. Don't forget our rebellions and independence warriors like Bhagat Singh. They never asked mercy death rather sacrificed themselves for the noble cause. Asking mercy death for the cause which can be, say the most important in the lives of the Indian students, is a cowardice in this respect. Protest and demonstrations are alright and there must be a conscious solidarity of the people against/for the issue, depending on the personal stand. But this is the height of escapism and cowardice which is is being rapped in the hypocrit colors of Rang De Basanti.

It's as simple as anything to understand that life may be experimented in many ways but you can't experiment with death. It never gives a second chance if the experiment succeeds. And after all, knowing that the provision of mercy killing has not yet been a part of the Indian social, political and cultural process, it is being asked for. The simple reason being publicity and the greater reason being the increasing alienation in our culturally tolerant society due to the consumer culture pervading all over.

India is not Japan or U.S. If a bunch of young people have asked for mercy deaths, this shows that the new era of civil protests is rather going to be more defensive and the leading middle class is blunting the whole youth spirit. If there is a disagreement with my views, let's wash it out. A simple recipe. See.

Let the reservation question be a launching pad for the civil protests in India on a much broader scale. Mass needs a slogan, so let this only be the starting point. Forget about poverty, unemployement, eviction, displacement, tribal killings, imperialist suppression and many more. (Let it does not depend on any personal agreements/disagreements including me) But then, two questions will always remain unanswered.

Firstly, the demand of mercy deaths is being asked in the same political system which is going to implement quota. This is a major contradiction. If the system has become corrupt and the whole political scenario needs a revamp, then why to seek mercy from the ruler class? Is the President of India working in an isolated system? Is he not a part of the ruler class?

Secondly, hope that some student from the medical community gets a decisive place in between the rulers, say becomes the HRD Minister. Let's assume that he can curb all the reservations and quotas on his own. But then how will he tackle the upheaval arising from the SC, ST and OBC protest? The argument seems circular, and definitely this is a viscious circle from which mercy death could not provide an exit.

Basically, as far as I have my own understanding of the protests and issues, the doctors are losing the grip against their own interest only by doing these type of populist activities. They will never appeal to the masses because the hospitals are closed and people are suffering. No propoganda will work out, although they have largely circulated a news of the death of a doctor, some Srivastava of AIIMS. No one believes, and the media is not such a fool's foul play at least that it will ignore and not cover a big news like this, if it is true.

We need a right direction and framework to analyse things around us. Don't let the whole issue break up into pro and anti. Rather thinking rationally from a social stratification point of view will sort out the ways. And please, my dear Doctors, don't let your lives wasted to the mercy of the ruling class. Understand the class politics and decide your stand at a macro level, if you are really a rebel. Otherwise, you will be solely responsible for spoiling the whole possibility of any left out and much awaited social revolution in your country, India. Let's care of the revolutionary future. You are our comrade in arms!

Abhishek Srivastava

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