Underbelly of the radical - The Soft side of the rough-shod

[The author, "Chandrasekhar A.B" is an alumnus of XIM Bhubaneswar]

After years of glorious revolutionary struggle and wanton bloodshed, a new rugged hero has emerged. He will lead the masses towards prosperity with the twinkle of a dream in his eye. The tormentors of the meek have been crushed and millions trapped in the clutches of evil have been liberated. The frailties of the past have been buried forever. Things will never be the same again. A new people in pursuit of a new dream will build a new world… There will be no more fear! Men, women and children will live happily ever after.

Alright, now that we are through with the climax, let’s start talking sense and attempt a viscera of the ‘Happily ever after’.

Denial of authority is central to every great revolution. Strange, however, is the fact that authority once denied, does not give in easily. Strife is thus, integral to revolution! Stranger still is how the denied authority is replaced by a whole new authoritarian system. Strangest though, is how this is suddenly acceptable to all concerned! The great masses fighting for liberation from control through absolute power will now hand the same absolute power to another control mechanism. Almost blindly too… Incompetence and corruption are crowned by the fear of anarchy!

Democracy is hilariously touted as the panacea that now justifies all previous sacrifice. As the spin doctors square off against the propaganda machine, a confounded public opinion desperately clutches to simplistic beliefs in an attempt to retrofit disparate events to preconceived biases. As it becomes increasingly apparent that democracy is at best an iterative exercise designed to fail, the preference for oppression over strife slowly emerges as faith overrules reason.

Well, as the holy book says, “Blessed are they who haven’t seen and yet believe”. It is one thing to have democracy as an option. Quite another to truly practice it in the spirit it was meant to be.

Reverting to the issue of authority, I now wonder: Is Man an inherently masochistic creature that submits consistently to such abuse ? Is history not replete with instances where we fail to study from it? Left to itself, civilization always degenerates until a new radical re-engineers it. As society is made of individuals, I reason that an individual left to himself will necessarily experience ideological atrophy unless external motivators intervene.

On that note comes the realization that I digress… This is not what I set out to talk about. Masochistic tendencies apart, this note was intended to be a sympathy raiser, a desperate outcry seeking reassurance that it is OK to be human even while aspiring to change mankind; because if it is indeed OK, then I should start trying!

When there is one great hero — He, with the twinkling dream in his eye — there has to be some motive behind him fighting for another’s cause. Does he become a great hero because he fights, or does he fight because he wants to become a great hero? Why do you frown upon him if he does fight just because he wants to be a great hero? Would you admire his great sacrifice any less if that sacrifice was intended merely to seek your admiration? Is it wrong on his part to tell you he dreams of a better tomorrow for everyone while, in return, he desires glory for himself in that better tomorrow? Is this desire less noble, or more human? or is it both?

This article is in the secret hope that it is neither…

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