The headline said it all – three killed, sixty injured in Dalit protests in Osmanabad over the desecration of B.R. Ambedkar’s statue in Kanpur.

So an Ambedkar statue is damaged by someone in Kanpur and subsequently Maharashtra goes up in flames. The Deccan Queen – a train that runs between Mumbai and Pune is burned by Dalit protesters and three people are killed in a number of different ways. Around a hundred buses are damaged in Mumbai in the ensuing violence.

It really is such a global phenomenon. To mobilize masses for any kind of cause by politicians or miscreants ( in a vast majority of cases, the terms can be used extremely interchangeably) is such an easy thing to do. Whether its the war on Iraq, which at one point was thought as a great experiment by a majority of the American people or be it mobilizing the Dalit in India to somehow convince them that their interest as a community was under attack because some statue was damaged in faraway Kanpur.

The former results in monumental regional crisis and three thousand dead soldiers ( an overwhelming majority of who are so painfully young), the other results in damage to public property and more than a few people dead and injured.

My point is not to compare the two events. My point was to illustrate that it is so easy to control the emotions and feelings of the masses – in which ever scale desired by those in power to achieve their ends. Its not new – the masses have been manipulated into different areas for the benefit of power brokers throughout the course of human history.

We are made to believe that going to war is the only way we can ensure the safety of our children, the German nation during the 30’s was made to believe that the only way to protect the “Aryan” bloodline was to exterminate an entire group of people, the Islamic fundamentalists have made the millions of their followers believe that their causes ( real or wholly imagined) can only be furthered by killing innocent people in cafes, cars and trains. And the list can go on.

Bertrand Russell once said that humanity is composed of hordes of unthinking masses just waiting to be given a direction they could blindly follow. And these are but examples of that notion. We follow our saviours, our prophets, our leaders, our religions, our nations, our politicians – without expending that one trait that separates us humans from every other known form of life on this planet – the ability to think rationally – the ability to ratiocinate.

I suggest banning reality television to start solving this problem:)

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