The Students Union in the University of Hyderabad is formed after yearly elections. The major players in the game are SFI (Communist Party of India), the ABVP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the Ambedkar Students Union.
The SFI-ASA coalition won the elections for a second consecutive term this year and formed the Students Union. Where do I fit into the picture?
I live in ‘A’ hostel. As the chronological naming goes, it’s the oldest hostel in the University, and has been chugging along in the age of modern buildings and wi-fi internet. The shitty condition that the hostel is in, provoked me to put up the following poster at different places in the University like Gops (the Food Court), the Students Canteen, and ShopCom (the amazing place with the amazing men’s saloon called Gaylords).
I spoke to a few people in the hostel itself about this issue, and asked them if something could be done, and here are the responses that I faced:
“Chhod na bhai, aur ek maheena baaki hai. Kyun jhamela kar raha hai?”
“What can we do? It has been in this condition for a long time now.”
“I know this is the condition, but I don’t know what to do about it.”
Nobody so much as bothers to call the hostel incharge, or even lodge a complaint. We’d rather live with water leaking from the tank than do something about it. Rather rely on your imagination than do something about the internet problem.
And that is when it struck me, that as a nation, we have carefully cultivated the Art of Not Giving a Fuck.
We are a country of vegetarians, but we love our scapegoats.
Whenever there is a scam, the amount of rupees is passed around, looked at voyeuristically, and passed around. A few jokes are made on Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, and images are ‘shared’ on Facebook, and that’s it.
Most of the people I know dont vote. Funnily, in the largest democracy in the world, to vote is seen as a sign of the poor. The images we are shown of elections is a 90 year old woman being carried to a polling booth, or villagers who have turned up in huge numbers to the polling booth.
Look up the ‘About Me’ of anyone, and in the ‘Politics’ section, you will see a response like ‘I hate politics’, or ‘Politics and Politicians Suck’. This pisses me off a great deal.
But then, as a nation, we have mastered the Art.
Now, there are many advantages in the Art of Not Giving a Fuck.
It is a constant state of Nirvana – nothing bothers you, because nothing really matters. We are taught values like hardwork, honesty, and sincerity. But never to raise our voices – to be heard, to speak. No.
Mastering the Art also makes it easier for you to fit in. Most people don’t give a fuck, so you will fit in seamlessly into a group of whining people who derive pleasure in talking about the great evil called ‘the system’. This hydra-headed, poison-spewing monster called ‘The System’ is responsible for all our problems. We need something like The Matrix, to deal with The System.
This was precisely the reason why I wasn’t orgasming when Anna Hazare was giving us our Second independence movement.
If you remember, it was the time of revolution – nations were rising up against decade-old regimes and fighting for their rights. The protests, both in the Middle East, as well as in India, were by the middle class – by urban, educated, youth who were sending out a message that something needed to change.
The result is out for all to see. Governments have been overthrown in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Jordan. Emergency laws which were in place for about three decades, have been lifted in Syria and Algeria. New laws have been formed and old regimes toppled.
What do we have in India? Nitpicking, mud-slinging, hateful personal remarks, and a lot of jingoistic bullshit flying around. The result being that the Anti-Corruption movement seems like a superhit film of the last year that has passed.
If only Anna Hazare asked each and every one of the protesters to file a complaint, request for an enquiry, or file an RTI application, we could have done something about corruption
What is sad is that the whole thing fizzled out. And we Indians are a funny lot. We can believe that a group of monkeys created a bridge by floating stones from India to Sri Lanka. But we cannot believe that we can do something to solve our own problems.
So if there is talk of a nation-wide movement once again, people will be cynical to even step out of their homes. What could have been the most important piece of modern legislation, lies tattered, like the blouse of the hero’s sister in a B-grade film.
But sometimes, just filing a complaint, asking for information, or writing a simple letter is enough. It hardly takes ten minutes.
But then, do you give a fuck??