It was quite amusing to the Man from Madras Musings when he began receiving or should he say was bombarded, by messages sharply criticizing the recent happenings in the United States of America. When we are ourselves such a divided society, how are we qualified to comment on what is happening in a faraway land? Is our house any better? Sadly, it is not.
It is very easy to sit in the comfort of our homes and pass judgement over what is happening elsewhere. This is of the same type as one variety of Non Resident Indian, whose only job, safe in the confines of his/her home in some foreign land, is to post remedies on all ills of the country of origin. And it is often the same kind that posts the most poisonous messages preaching religious and caste-based hatred. The ones locally based are no different – here again much of the posts on social media depict hatred of one kind or the other. For instance, the sharp spikes of the COVID outbreak in Chennai city are still being blamed on one community’s religious meet. These are also the same people who still fail understand what is it that makes a migrant labourer want to go home. In their view, these people came here on their own volition and therefore need no support to get back.
MMM realizes that by bringing this up he is pleasing none – the right will brand him derisively as someone superficially concerned about racist issues- and also accuse him of being pacifist. Their one solution is to be rid of all minorities, who in their opinion if allowed to exist, will one day become majority and dictate terms. That this has not happened in several centuries does not get into the thick skulls of these people.
The left wing too is not likely to be happy with MMM bringing this up. After all, MMM is a typical instance of a western-educated, upper class, upper caste person. It suits him to pretend to be supportive and so he does so. Moreover, is not his very concern or pretence of it an instance of his upper-class patriarchal attitude? Who needs MMM and his kind?
And so the argument goes on. In this situation where MMM is not going to please anyone, all he can say is that rather than going on about what is happening in the US and self-righteously express solidarity, it is best we sort out what is happening in our backyard, learn to tolerate and coexist and perhaps strive towards an understanding that ELM – Every Life Matters. Once we practice that, we can get on with passing judgement on what is happening elsewhere.