top of page
  • Raghav Sand

Protests, Peace and Progress

Peace is the paramount pursuit of human life. It has many dimensions and has a wide range. We hope for peace and harmony in society and most importantly within ourselves. People tend to reflect and mimic their environment over time. As much as we may be influenced by the sights and sounds around us, we are both passively and actively reciprocating. If peace has to be attained in families, workplace, communities, or countries, then we have to realign our moral and behavioural compass. Substantive work is needed at the micro level and only then can we hope for a domino effect at the macro level.

Has the human race always been this violent? Or have we become more restless and vulnerable to developments around us? Historians point out that we live in a far more peaceful world. Should we be content that our generation is less rowdy as compared to a few hundred years ago? Let us just think of the present and the impact it can have on future generations. The divisions in the world are so apparent that it is like the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about.

Barometers of Progress

Gross domestic product and per-capita income have been accepted as one of the most reliable metrics for gauging development. Since the end of second world war, most parts of world have experienced some form of agricultural and industrial revolution. Millions have been lifted out of extreme poverty, yet millions have not found their way to dignified prosperity. Inequality is a major factor for protests. The lesser advantaged are used as pawns by vested interests and provoked to disrupt law and order. Occasionally, common citizens, who are neither paid or provoked, take to the streets after exhausting all the peaceful modes of expressing displeasure.

Us Versus Them

People have happily or hopelessly taken sides and are hardwired regarding running the world in a certain way. Someone with a slightly different thought is seen as an adversary, and is kept at a safe distance. This attitude has suffocated rational discourse and is pulling us further apart in opposite directions. Reaching a consensus is not the same as reaching a compromise on beliefs and ethics. We can make an effort to look at the world through a different prism and can still be our own selves. Even after all the polite enquiries and debate if people living in a place cannot come to a reasonable and mutually agreeable solution then democratic processes should be resorted and respected.

Norm Without a Form

There is no space for violence in protests, but sadly it is the most prevalent way of getting things done. Nobody likes being away from home and shout on streets or march for miles. Later, to quell the dissent, law enforcement takes recourse of violence. There are excesses from both sides and one more round of blame game commences. Sometimes people disagree to feel superior or better and, on some instances, they conclude that enough is enough. Humans have made path breaking innovations in almost every field, but they seem to lack individual and collective ingenuity when it comes to resolution of disputes.

Democratically elected governments make pre-election promises and usher in changes with passage of bills. Is it necessary to disregard the will of majority and then create disruption all over the country? No statute will be ever be able to satisfy every person because when a change is proposed and / implemented, it will disrupt the status quo. New way of doing things will empty the coffers of those who have abused their position. Few protests are fueled by those individuals who risk losing future cash flows.

Every Life Matters

Protests which are against racial injustice have a different background. People have been discriminated for ages in western countries and colonial powers have an ugly history in this regard. Even in independent and democratic western nations, there is a constant under current of racial abuse. The psychological and economic effect of this one-sided hardship has been going on for too long. Countries and corporations look to diversify their organizational set up, but a more humane approach is needed to sensitize everyone concerned.

There are some nations which do not entertain any form of uprising or interference by their citizens. This extreme will not hold good in the long run and one day the strength and voice of these enslaved people will revolt against tyrants.

Let Us Talk

Referendum is the best way to get forward in most disputes at community and country level. Every party should be given the opportunity to make their case and responsible citizens should pay attention to contrasting views. After listening to the views from the other side, rational individuals may try to reach a just course of action. Lack of information and awareness about a policy or law is the biggest reason that makes citizens anxious and apprehensive about a change.

The Silent Majority

A vast number of people do not like being violent in their speech or actions. This does not mean they are weak or mute spectators. Damaging public property or hurling abuses at someone is emotionally and psychologically disturbing for this mostly ignored section of society. People who indulge in online violence through threats and other forms of intimidation are loud and proud about their behaviour. On the other hand, a polite individual is observing events and is simultaneously busy in a productive activity. Always being aggressive in action are not the hallmarks of a concerned citizen.

Protests should be the last resort and once a course has been charted, everyone should stay put till justice has been delivered. Until then, we must all respect our institutions and uphold the sanctity of law.

bottom of page