In the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, I have witnessed in graphic detail the many aspects of socio-political crisis. On one hand, there is the actual terror and consequent military action. On the other is the political shakeout because of mass opinion that reflected in the local elections and change of power positions in the state.
There is also the role of the media as an agent provocateur, irresponsible in its behaviour and indicative of the explicit power mass media has in shaping opinions. In fact the media took upon itself (through its famous media icons), to show their bias and partisan nature, a shocking revelation of the lack of maturity. For example, when the Muslim groups in India expressed their shock and anger at the terror attacks, one media channel anchor said it was a “welcome change”, not understanding that the channel was not a medium to voice her personal bias.
What did the people do? A famous ex-actress, and there were more of these who were interviewed rather than thought and opinion leaders (of those leaders that were interviewed, it wasn’t a dialogue but more a diatribe anyways), stated that taxpayers in Mumbai should not pay taxes next year in protest! That probably is liable to be branded a seditionary comment. Ironically, these people rail against such comments made by people who are really seditionary and communal in nature!
What this all really exposes for me, is the lack of reflection, the lack of serious thinking on serious issues have large geo-political, social, economic and other impacts. Even more the lack of practice, of social action that an individual can contribute to.
For me this reinforces what I am only being able to appreciate in-context now – that our education system needs ecologies where diverse influences are made available – not awareness courses, but strategies for engendering critical thought and refection and avenues for actuating practice through social action.