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Saturday, March 04, 2006 

Protest against Bush Vs. Public Opinion

The American president was on a visit to India, and if one is to look at the media, it seems that the peoples of the entire sub-continent are up in arms against him. At the same time, the government heads, and the oppositions are seen shaking hands with the president with a big smile on their faces, welcoming him with open arms. And this is the largest democracy in the world. Isn’t there a contradiction here? In a democracy, isn’t the government supposed to reflect the will of its people?

But the question is: Do the protest actually reflect the will of the people? Do Indians actually hate Bush? Do we hate America? Do we really think that linking up with the US is against India’s interests? Or are these protest the voices of a very vocal minority, namely some sects of India Muslims, and the Leftists? Are these protests actually against the deplorable human rights record of President Bush?

A poll conducted by Outlook Magazine may hold some answers. In the poll conducted in major cities of India, 66% agreed that Bush was friend of India, something the president himself quoted. Only 19% disagreed. Similarly, 46% said they loved USA when asked their feeling towards the country, compared to 14% who hated it. People who hated US or were neutral to the country were asked if India needs the US, surprisingly 54% agreed. And yet, with all this love, 72 % Indians think that America is a bully. And if it was about human rights, why weren’t the same people protesting when the Chinese premier arrived in India? What was Ms. Arundhati Roy doing then?

What does this poll indicate? That the protesters are completely out of sync with the public opinion. That the leftist are only addressing their constituency. That the protesters are playing to a gallery, just strengthening their vote-banks. It doesn’t matter to them, if in the process, they project a poor image of India, or even if they disrespect a state guest.

I remember General Parvez Musharraf using the term silent majority to reflect the Pakistani feelings towards the 9/11 terror attack. Why is the Indian majority silent? Why not let the majority voices be heard?

Alas! The answer lies in political correctness. The attitude of the Indian polity is such that speaking against the minority, irrespective of how wrong they are, becomes a symbol of communalism. So our political parties, in order to retain their "secular" structure, turn a blind eye to their excesses.

The best part about the protests was, it was all mixed up. Some were protesting against Iraq, some against the American hegemony, some against Danish Cartoons. It would have been more of a joke if not for the fact that this prevented Bush from addressing the Parliament.

I believe Bush is used to seeing protestors outside the White House everyday. He would take it as just another expression of the freedom of speech. All said and done, I think they should be allowed protest albeit it should be civilized.

And about the Arundathi Roy not protesting against China stuff. Well, being Anti-Bush is an 'in' thing. 'Opposing business is big business' as the saying goes.

Very well written... I believe, its hightime, politicians stop 'playing' politics and starts understanding the silent majority... Too much attention to minorities just for seeking votes is not in favor of a nation's overall development... Its time people start thinking about the greater numbers. Just as Mahatma Gandhi says, "That happiness is the greatest which seeks greatest happiness for the greatest numbers"... Let us not jus be 'India One'.... Let us become 'One India' instead.

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