Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why India can't do an Egypt

As I watched the television screen flash breaking images of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt stepping down from his presidency, dad beside me murmured, "this should happen in India too".

An overjoyed Egyptian boy kisses a soldier
I thought, could India do it too? It could, but it never would.

It took 18 days of protests in Egypt for the ouster of a man who imposed a 30-year emergency rule on the country, snatching basic liberties of millions of Egyptians!

Reason 1: Flashback to Emergency rule in India, the Indira Gandhi regime. "Not a dog barked," said Indira to a confidante, soon after the rule was announced. Forget any resistance. And the rule came to an end when she lifted it. Nothing new. India usually watches when people are jailed, killed or raped.

This is not to say that the change for Egypt happened in a fortnight. The storm had been building for years. It just needed a spark and perhaps Tunisia provided that.

Reason 2: It is next to impossible to get India united as one because of the sheer geographical vastness and diversity. A spark would probably just create a hap hazard 1857 kind of a revolt that'd extinguish as soon as it had started. Though again, not the whole of Egypt was protesting.

"We will never give up", "He doesn't care about Egypt", "Egyptians have had it", "We demand end of the regime,"

Reason 3: Aah the regime. India too has a regime of corruption, political hierarchy, social injustice and more. But, does India care enough about India? We've had corrupt governments and rulers for years. But Indians never seem to say, "we've had it." The boundless endurance that is revered in our society.

The protests in Egypt were largely peaceful, though the Egyptian police used tear gas and even opened fire in many places. Still, protesters were willing to cooperate with the army troops, but not the police.

Reason 4: Given the passion and high emotional quotient of Indians, I doubt peaceful protests can be carried out. A mob usually transforms into disruption of public property.

The Egyptian army took control over the situation in Egypt. It didn't stop the protesters from protesting, but brought order to the chaos that had broken out. It did not support the ruler.

Reason 5: In India, the army does not act on its own (I'd like to keep it that way), but on the orders of the government, President being the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces. It would be called in to "bring order to chaos" and orders will be followed.

There are more, but I'd let you sleep on these for the day. I sincerely wish India proves me wrong some day :)