Sir, I wish to introduce myself as a ‘Common Mumbaikar’, who after years of indifference has become numb to the vagaries of a Mumbai Life! The recent massacre has led me to believe that I am indeed ‘Impotent’. I wonder whether I have a right to celebrate on Jan 26! This letter to you is a desperate appeal to help me and the one billion Indians that are feeling equally miserable.
Where was I when some people, we label as ‘terrorists’, killed my brothers and raped my sisters? Why couldn’t I hear the horrified screams of their orphaned children? Well, Sir, as I’ve already mentioned that I stay in Mumbai, which is so ‘very far’ from these rotten things, you know the places where these rotten things are a norm- Kashmir, Assam, Orissa..and sometimes Delhi, Bengalooru, Hyderabad…So I thought ‘What have I got to do?’, I have enough screams to hear and enough orphans to deal with here in Mumbai itself! Every now and then, there is a bomb blast and the system breaks down; the authorities go into hiding and inevitably the courageous Hero would be the ‘Common Man’.
Well, Sir, I have brought the ‘Common Man’ intentionally here. As a reader of your esteemed newspaper ‘The Times of India’, I am a die-hard fan of your daily strip ‘You said it’ by the greatest ever cartoon illustrator: ‘R K Laxman’. It so correctly depicts the Common Man as a silent spectator of the system. In the cartoonist’s own words, the Common Man symbolises the mute millions of India, or perhaps the whole world, a silent spectator of marching time! He represents the hopes, aspirations, troubles and perhaps even foibles of the average Indian. I gather you know what I’m coming to.
My problem with you is this: Just as the Common Man, Sir, your newspaper too stands as a mute spectator all these years! Whenever a system crashes down, your esteemed newspaper would be the ‘first’ to bring us the ‘esteemed news’. And then in the race to be the ‘first’ to bring the next big news, Sir, you forget the burning past. I agree, Sir that you are the highest English language newspaper and in your own words, ‘very liberal’. But, it has occurred to me lately that you represent the masses. You are considered as the ‘Fourth Estate’ not for a rhyme, but for a reason. You, Sir should be publishing the ‘voices of us, commoners’. You should personify the woes of every Indian not just in a cartoon. You should take the lead in asking the ‘Why’s?’ from all our leaders, irrespective of which party they belong to or which party you support.
Our nation, no doubt invariably follows a pseudo-democracy. Where is the ‘For the people’ part? Why it so happens that, after the people are chosen by the people, the ‘chosen people’ easily transform into ‘politicians’. Forgive me, Sir, but ‘politics’ isn’t about managing any more, it has become a ‘murky thing’, and all this while you, the Fourth Estate just looks on…refuses to act. With all the powers that make you what you are, you should be the one to bell the cat. Yes, Mr. Editor, the time has come for you to actually put into practice, your sole purpose of starting this esteemed newspaper.
We Indians need to start a revolution now with an apt war cry. And so, we need you to voice this war cry. For if we don’t start now, there won’t be any Indians left! And then I wonder Sir, who would read your ‘esteemed newspaper’! Is this asking for too much?