Protests are a consecrated right in a constitutional democracy. But to what extent radical/violent/illegal forms of protest can be accommodated without the breech in peace. Protests are crucial. But violent protests are more like Arnab Goswami’s debate coming into life, exhibiting facts but the mode of execution is defacing.
Democracy is defined by the event of disagreement. There will be difference in thought and opinion for every issue and amendment presented before the nation.
They have political agendas and game plays, whereas we common people resort to protests to express our resentment. Protests are essential for depicting public accountability and transparency in the government.
Why violent protests?
There is this myth in the Indian society that unnoticed/suppressed/peaceful protests are a sign of inefficiency of the protestors and failure of democracy. People don’t acknowledge the fact that in a developing country like India, destruction caused by violent protests will have a proportional impact on the economy, which will be remobilized through taxes liable by common man.
To what magnitude is this beneficial? Statistics show that the failure rate of violent protests is 73%. That 27% success rate at the cost of countless deaths, destruction of properties with emergency declared in nations.
Violent protests have changed the grammar of protests in India, it has become a strategy to defame and destroy the triangle of Indian Parliament-Executive-Judiciary. Also, sad reality of current political scenario is that the political mafia is guarding the constitution (can’t speak much about its sanctity).
There seems to be an unformulated contract among the political parties that violence is a mechanism to vent out legislative aggression.
Social constructivists might be proposing beliefs and ideologies of change. I do agree with the fact that change is the essence of progress and evolution, but just believing won’t elicit any response, actions will.
The 21st century politics are at cross bars with 20th century politics, so the way to deal with the contradictions and resentment also should change. Violence has accompanied all protests since pre-independence period and it’s high time to change the approach.
The prime purpose of the government is to maintain law and order and that is preferably to be done without breach in peace and serenity of the nation. The need of the hour is peaceful and non violent protest.
We should show resistance in a constructive way i.e. by forcing the officials to bring a turnover because there is a colossal difference between force and rampage (what happened with Dwayne Johnson and George (albino gorilla) in Rampage?).
It’ll be irrational of us to be a rebellion for the order that we are desperate to restore. You want something to happen; there should be a consistent and nonchalant way to get it done. Violent protests just threaten the social order and not reform it.
In such an inclination, we cannot expect a significant and positive change in functioning of the society. Speaking of facts and reality peaceful protests are more successful and impactful than violent protests because they bring widespread integration.
Who is responsible for provoking violence, the protestors or the law enforcement agency is yet another topic to talk about, but the essence of the protest is getting overridden.
Whatever the stimulation could be, when there is violence, it is the duty of the police to contain the violence and nobody can pass comments about it. When one is all prepared to go frantic and destructive, he/she shall be prepared for the aftermath too, because for every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction.
If we look at major protests and movements all over the world, for an instance; the Civil War and the present Black Lives Matter movement, the inconspicuous ethos was peace. And that is how there is a phenomenal wave of change as a consequence.
Quite contrary to this we have the Syrian war, where the driving force was violence. What did we achieve out of it? Middle East, a state of unrest. Violence can be the easiest and quickest way to attain salvation, but it comes with extra baggage of coercion and constraint. It acts as a widget imparting the fear of penalty, rather than celebration of victory.
This goes without being said, that it is high time the government realises that brutal and ruthless punishments should be incorporated as an amendment for a few crimes, considering the declining graph of humanity.
That is the judicial perspective; I shall not focus on that. But talking of the thought process for initiating a protest, our minds are not under our voluntary control.
Thoughts can be violent, the urge to sustain victory can get aggressive; but translating all of that into a peaceful and rather a non-violent protest is when democracy wins.
You cannot suppress everyone, nor can you surpass every contrasting opinion and move ahead. You have to amalgamate and coadjute every such thought to settle all scores and bring an affirmative change. That is when we can see a true constitutional democracy operating with indulgence and reimbursement at maxima.
Sometimes, I get into this paradox trying to understand the root cause for bureaucratic violence in establishing resilience. The vigilance we trot out while being a rebel, must be regulated at the time of electoral polls.
The democratic constitution of India has given us the right to choose our representatives and that depends on how observant we are. There is a major percent of population who are unaware of the current politics and are in a way vulnerable to political games.
One cannot talk about suppression, if he/she hasn’t exercised their right to vote. It’s easy to preach peace without having the intent to make it prevail. I shall not talk about the wrong doings now, but we ought to be unanimous with one voice.
One can resort to many strategies as an ignition for a peaceful protest. Political gatherings witness people in huge numbers, irrespective of it being the ruling or the opposition party. This should be the primary step in expressing our protest; social boycott of all political meetings and events. Democracy isn’t a cricket match, where we can support parties and expect an end result. One should understand that it has to be a collaborative effort of all the parties to deliver the best constitutional democracy.
In today’s world if there is something that has become a tangible necessity of survival, then that is social media. Social media campaign is another mode that is completely “duti-free”. There will be a monstrous reach of the cause and can get mobilized without much energy consumption. If you run out of options, you always have the conventional method of silent marching, setting up banners with slogans and caricatures.
As George Herbert rightly quoted, ‘where there is a will, there is a way’. Protestors for the right cause and with the right intention will not connect along the path of violence, if their struggle is for the good. Violence is only chosen when one wants to be in the limelight and get maximum media coverage.
I’d like to emphasize on the statement that protests and marches are necessary to effectuate change, but they ought to be peaceful and non-violent.
Considering the current political scenario, a lot of things have to change for moralistic and judicial reasons, but causing violent outbreaks just adds fuel to the fire and not put it off. Violent riots are blemishes in the canvas of a congenial society. It brings disruption in maintaining harmony and order in the society.
We should be considered lucky to be living in this era of evolution. The nations that adopted the democratic form of governance have seen commendable and productive amendments.
There is the hope of affirmative progress and sustenance. As we enter into a new decade, it’s our prodigious responsibility to transform India into a zero-tolerance zone for violence and violent protests.
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Another good one Vaishnavi. Like the way the thrust of the article is presented. This is a more abstract type of arricle I guess. It would be nice to state a couple of significant examples at the point of “Speaking of facts and reality peaceful protests are far more successful”. It is left as an abstract statement (e.g. Nelson Mandela’s personal strugge against appartheid)
But overall like the idea and good article. Want to ask you to think about the other side of the coin. What makes peaceful people turn to violence. How can our institutions evolve to increase such a threshold for people to turn to violence? Is zero tolerance the right approach?
Love it and keep them coming!!
You touched upon a topic that we all have been thinking for a while now. Why protests become violent nowadays and reasons being it? This is a delicate topic and handled well. Years of poor governance, neglect and lack of issue resolution and political/executive leadership have resulted in people attempting desperate ways to seek notice. I liked the content.
Avery sensitive issue.It has lot of relevance in todays scenario.good perspective.