Anil Thakraney | Needed: Creative people’s vote bank

01 Feb,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

Don’t go by Kamal Hassan’s threat to quit India. It’s the same ‘hool’ which Lata tai gave us over the Peddar Road flyover, but didn’t mean it. These creative types can get a tad emotional, so let’s ignore that bit.

 

What we cannot ignore is the continuous harassment of creative people in this nation. And they are soft targets because they end up as one individual against a powerful state machinery. Naturally, this becomes a one-sided battle. And this situation is highly depressing; each you time you try to push the envelope, you run the risk of ‘offending’ one fringe group or another. It’s simply not possible to think differently in such a scenario, mediocrity like ‘Dabaang’ will rule the roost.

 

The main issue is this: Politicians react to what the fringe groups say only because, in the eyes of the netas, they either constitute a vote bank, or they represent one. The number of such protestors can be very few, but in politics, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Therefore the government (state and central) takes an easy way out, and clamps down on the creative work. And artists, movie makers and writers are powerless because they don’t constitute a vote bank, they are dispensable.

 

So I thought of an idea: Using the social media, is it possible to create huge groups of supporters of arts and free speech in different cities and towns of India? (Of course, no support for dolts who create illegal stuff, a la that cartoon called Aseem Trivedi.) Whereby, each time a creative person comes into strife, massive protest marches and dharnas are held all over India. As these numbers swell, the government will have to take these groups very seriously (as we saw during the aftermath of the Delhi gang rape), and would most likely treat them as a potential vote bank. This effort can thus help nullify the mischief created by fringe groups.

 

In short, as the proverb goes, to cut iron, you need iron. We have to start thinking of these things from now on. Because Kamal Hassan is neither the first nor the last creative person who’s being made to face the music. Social media is mainly used for time pass. Methinks it’s time to put it to some good, creative use.

 

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PS: Wonderful traffic safety posters dug out from the UK archives. These ran in the forties, but are more needed in current times. Especially in nations like India, where the junta gives a rat’s ass for road safety. Our government should import these posters and use them here. Because they are visual in nature, even the uneducated sods will get them.

 

Link: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/01/16/vintage-road-safety-psa/

 

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