Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mandal II Strikes Back

Images of a Managed Strike .

The 'strike' of the 'meritorious' professional students, spearheaded by the medicos, stole the limelight of the media during the last few weeks. They were protesting against the 'unjust' system of reservations and vehemently arguing for the 'recognition of merit'. Termed M II (Mandal two), it was full of events and spectacles, and the belligerence of the strikers. It may also be the first major 'event-managed' strike in Indian history. According to reports the strike was managed by event management companies who carefully orchestrated the movements and actions, the media hype and the coverage. The message was loud and clear unlike the M I which was more of mindless passion, fervent appeals and crude gestures. The tragedy of history this time repeated itself as a farce. This time the orchestration was evident, with everything planned and executed systematically. The message was 'we' can't wait and 'we' don't bother about historical wrongs or social justice. We want what we want here and now. If 'we' are in high places, it is because we deserve it; and conversely, if 'they' are down and under no one else is to blame.

But not in so many words, but very much in their body language and some of their 'agitation' methods. For instance, the press carried front page reports and photographs of the 'meritorious' whizkids cleaning floors. Some others polished shoes by the roadside, while others sold vegetables and fruits on the streets. What do these actions and images convey? If 'we' the meritorious are not given our due, we will have to 'fall' back on such manual (read menial) jobs, which 'they' are born and meant to do.

So, the message was, 'Can't you, the public, see how odd and out of the world these jobs appear when 'we' do it'? So much for their attitude towards labour and manual work, which flaunted disgustingly 'brahminical' attitudes. Ironically, it is this very mindset that assumes higher callings as private property or natural right, that led to a situation calling for reservations. So, these actions of the so-called meritorious once again empahsised the need for what they were fighting against. For, they themselves were the living (and agitating) examples of the evil they purport to fight.

The increased seats, it seems, will only take this 'struggle' and such attitudes to the inside of the campuses.

C S Venkiteswaran


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home