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 :)


  1. You do realise that worse could happen for Egypt right?

  2. I think it is possible to unite India. Mahatma Gandhi did that and under his leadership we got independence in a non-violent way.

    The only quesiton is who will be the next Gandhi.

  3. Monster post.

    If I was a teacher, I'd have given you five, plus one bonus mark. (for neatness :P)

    There are way too many mini-indias in India. And as you said in reason 3, people adjust, and find alternate ways of living, rather than protesting.
    Again, as you so aptly put in reason 2, a revolt would be like a group song in school; everyone'll catch a different tune and the song will never resonate. never reverberate. never heard.

  4. @ Tania: Yes, I do. But that is not good enough reason to not protest against a corrupt government. You just got to plan it better.
    @ Akshat: Don't know about that. Nationalism was still revered in those times. Now, not many care about the idea of "India".
    @ Quizzard: Thanks for being a regular visitor to the blog. Keeps me going :) ha ha and five out of? Which school did you go to? Our choirs were pretty harmonious ;)

  5. Well you answered a 5 mark question. :P
    Not the choir, I meant when the whole assembly sings. You get the point :P

  6. Hail America! Teach me how to get my way out.

  7. Don't you think something is afoot with the pressure being put on government over corruption? It may not be a street revolution, but I think we may be seeing an important evolution. Corruption is now the top concern of voters and, importantly, the business community is fed up -- it's starting to hurt investment from domestic and foreign sources. These are powerful forces converging.

  8. There goes a saying Ben, "Scratch the surface of any cynic and you'll find a disappointed idealist". Perhaps it is the beginning of something new. But I am too afraid to harbour hope. And I thought the business community (domestic at least) worked hand-in-glove with the corrupt government. I would be so happy if you're right :)


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