By Dilip Laxman
The world did not end, and we are still around. But the idea may not be too bad: it’s not one, but several worlds that need to end so as to leave a better world
We do not quite know what is in the Mayan calendar that leads people to interpret the 5125 year-old document as predicting the end of the world. There is pretty much of a frenzy being built up in Mexico and among some individuals in America who believe in the ‘end of days’ myth propounded by some religious zealots. Previous ‘definitive’ projected dates of the events came and went with not a dint of the apocalypse. But that does not prevent some fanatics to still cling to that crazy belief.
Be that as it may, the world did not end, and we are still around. But come to think of it, the idea may not be too bad: it’s not one, but several worlds that need to end so as to leave a better world. Here are a few that we thought of:
The world of corruption
It is pervasive, feeds on itself, and involves the high and mighty in a mafia-like network that crosses the boundaries of geography. People seek favours small and big, and both the corruptors and the corrupted are to blame. But it so happens that often many small people are forced to give bakshish – by other small people too perhaps – for services that are due to them by right. Big people have connections, and get things done even without having to move sometimes. Why can’t we have user-friendly systems that are neutral and citizen-oriented, irrespective of their origins or social class, or their means of living?
ICAC continues to fail to impress. Do we need to change the model? Something to think about seriously.
The world of drugs
Related to the above in many ways, and also enjoying mafia-like circle and circles within circles. There are notorious drug-traffickers who are known to the authorities and to their neighbours, yet they are feared because of their ruthlessness and their grip on the power structure. It is only too well known that the big fish get away while the small fries are caught in the net. The trail involves known nodes and countries. For Mauritius, Madagascar is notorious. And yet we are still not taking the bull by its horns. Nothing less than the death penalty for traffickers will help to put a halt, and much-cited Singapore has demonstrated its effectiveness.
Let us stop quoting Singapore, for heaven’s sake.
And before we become like Mexico, where 30 mayors have found their deaths at the behest of drug lords since 2006. The latest victim is Maria Santos Gorrostieta Salazar – what a beautiful name, and she was a beautiful person too – aged 36, abducted, beaten, tortured and killed, and her body thrown in a ditch. She had survived an earlier attack with three bullets that ripped through her, and had responsibility for her three children after her husband was murdered.
Men, the beast of the world.
The world of conflicts and violence
It is true that they are age-old, and that we have made much headway. Relatively, Europe is peaceful. So is North America, and generally South America too. But the middle-east does not want to settle down to a similar state of peace. In Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan are forever in warring mood, finding pretexts and to fuel terrorism both at home and in their neighbours’ territory when they could have used their scarce resources in more productive ways, and let their people live in peace, among themselves to start with. The tribal and feudal antagonisms have gone on for too long.
When will hope replace despair in these regions?
The world of violence against women and children
We have a shameful record locally, the numbers speak for themselves.
But we don’t need any numbers: just one case is too many.
In America, the gun culture and end-of-times paranoia has driven a 20-year old to exterminate his mother and 20 of the pupils in his school before killing himself.
In India, its capital New Delhi is also notorious as its rape capital. The latest scandal is the gangrape of a 17-year old medical student in a moving bus by three young adults who battered her to almost death, last week. She is now fighting for her life in hospital.
Elsewhere, paedophilia rings, with the involvement of priests and shielded by the Vatican, have made the headlines in the series of law claims against the perpetrators and the compensations disbursed.
But wherever they exist, it is lecherous adults who are the culprits. Who will stop them, if even the trusted guardians of morals, namely the religious people, are themselves the perpetrators of such crimes?
Who will end this world and protect our mothers, daughters and sisters, wives and children?
The world of political violence, lies and hypocrisy
We have witnessed one aspect of its ugliness in the National Assembly last Tuesday, with dirty, gossipy and below the belt exchanges among our so-called honourable members. Tell us about the occult land deal, Messrs the leaders and sundry politicians. Come clean about the marchands ambulants, the allocation of stalls in markets, the selling away of the national assets and all the other undercutting transactions which come to surface months and years later. The MCB scandal and the NTan report: where do matters stand? Why was the NTan report never made public? What is the truth about Jing Fei, other than what VPM Duval has stated? Was Jin Fei worth the brutal chasing out of legitimate occupants of their land?
Instead of making more tall premises, just take this one, to end that world. But who will bell the cat?
* Published in print edition on 21 December 2012