Sunday, March 22, 2009

Justice? It’s just ice after all

They call it justice, cold, hard and heavy, but Digambar and his friends have proved that if enough heat is applied, it melts away. Justice = just ice. This is the paraphrase of a quote I borrowed from an email from Satish Sonak who asks us to get up in large numbers and stop this Land Acquisition (Goa Amendment) Ordinance 2009. It spells doom for civil society more than anything this government has thought of. If they can shut the Judiciary out in one blatant illegality, they can do it for tens of thousands more. And if they can do it for tens of thousands more, you and I are up the creek without a paddle, because it will take away our right to fight for justice.

Even if Cidade de Goa did the decent thing and demolished their structures on Vaiguinim beach and returned the beach to its rightful owners: the people of Goa, the Ordinance still has to go.

Consider the horrors this government has unleashed on Goa in the few years they have been in power. This is my opinion and quite possibly no one else’s, but this government including the Opposition, is the most feral of all governments Goa has been afflicted with. I include the Opposition because they were struck with the Three Monkeys Disease of being blind, deaf and dumb, when Goa needed them most.

I have been speaking to people of different degrees of awareness and their reaction to the infamous Land Acquisition Ordinance has varied from a sideways wag of the head and “This gummint, no? Like that only dey is…” to “We should stand up and stop this!”

What made the hair on my head stand straight up, was a weary, “There’s so much to fight and so few of us. Which fight do we choose? SEZ land scams? Casinos? Casinos in the Mandovi? CRZ violations? Destruction by mining? Sewage in our drinking water? Plastic blocking drains? Landfill sites we do not have? Gated communities? Law and order? Corruption from top to bottom in government and civil society? What can we do? It is too much to handle. Everything is geared to destroy this place and this people.”

So what can we do? Not voting these particular clowns will not work, because once anyone comes into power, the grey matter in their brains turns into greed matter. We have to find some way to exert control over them. Media exposure does not help because maybe just 10 percent of the population read the part of the news that matters. Only one news channel carries news analysis with vim and vigour, the rest are quite uninteresting. Tiatr and natak help to bring some awareness, but they too have self-imposed restrictions when it comes to the forty-one monkeys playing with the future of the state. Yes I said 41. Think about the 41st, because his signature can cause havoc.

After awareness of the danger we as a people face, comes the difficult part. We have to get up and act. How do we act and what do we do? Do we gherao the monkeys? Do we gherao the Supreme Court and tell it to act as fast as it did in the AIIMS director case? Do we boycott all public functions of not only the monkeys, but also their handlers and assistants? Do we ostracise their families? Do we do a Dilkush and fling bags of dung at them? And the toughest of them all ¬– do we first give up corruption ourselves?

We have to exert some kind of control because they are elected to protect us and help us achieve health and happiness. To those readers who most kindly send me emails praising this column, let’s hear your solution for reining in our public representatives. And more urgently, a way to stop the Land Acquisition (Goa Amendment) Ordinance 2009.

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