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Gotham City and India

I was in Leh last week with no access to the Internet or a phone connection (prepaid SIM cards don't work in J&K) and all I had to keep me occupied during my time at the hotel room was my laptop sans net connection. So, I ended up watching 'Batman Begins' and 'Batman: The Dark Knight' back-to-back. A lot of praise has been sung about these movies and rightly so. But the movies have something more profound about them that got me thinking. Both the movies describe Gotham city as a place plagued by corruption, of the highest order! When I was watching, I felt it was an exaggeration to make the movie a more dramatic experience. But when I spared it a thought after watching the movie, it struck me that its no exaggeration. India is in the same state that Gotham city was before Bruce Wayne transformed into Batman. There's corruption everywhere, and there's apathy among those who themselves do not indulge directly in bribe-taking/giving. Its the attitude that matters and I cannot point out a single person who is an ideal being, both in action and in thought. Many are convinced that they are against corruption, that they are living a life of dignity.

Batman (in 'Batman Begins', when Rachel asks his name): "It is not who I am underneath, but what I DO, that defines me."

Many people have the right intentions, impeccable moral values, enviable upbringing, and yet, they turn a blind eye to the corrupt activities of lesser individuals. They are equally responsible for the state of affairs in our country right now as the ones that actually indulge in the various activities that fall under corruption. Batman got it absolutely right. It is not who you are underneath, but what you DO that defines you. Unless you act to protect your values, you're a coward. But nearly everyone has accepted the status quo and are convinced that there's nothing they can do to make a change. And they're absolutely right!

Bruce Wayne (to Alfred, in Batman Begins): "People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy, and I can't do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man of flesh and blood, I can be destroyed, I can be ignored. But, as a a symbol, I can be incorruptible, I can be ever-lasting."

The likes of Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare are mere mortals of flesh and blood and the attacks on them by the Congress has shown that they can only be as effective as the people around them allow them to be. Its been over two months and we have seen absolutely no improvement in the situation. What we need is a symbol, a symbol that is incorruptible and ever-lasting. We need a Batman! I'm not talking about a caped-crusader here (although that would be quite effective), but a symbol that can rally people together, a symbol that can incite fear in the wrong-doers, a symbol that can bring hope to the honest citizens of our country, a symbol that will promise a better future to the people that strive hard to make our nation a global power, a symbol that will strike down the netas and the babus that strive to hijack this process to satisfy their own insatiable greed. The Lokpal can be that symbol!
But we should remember that the Lokpal is only a symbol. If it fails to satisfy its objectives, we look for a new symbol. For now, this is our one hope for revival, for a better future and for a safer and fearless lifestyle. So, ACT today! Or we'll be at the mercy of heartless brutes for the rest of our lives.

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