A New Year’s Message

By Antara Jha (National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad)

You could sit and judge the choice of typeface. You could also try and read this.

I don’t have a right to preach. I haven’t done anything that’s worthy enough. And even if I do something, it’s not going to amount to anything substantial. It’s not going to result in anything concrete.

We live in a bubble, so secure, so warm, lit by the fires on the BBC, that it’s comfortable not to know what’s going on, on the outside. Yes, I know, we don’t all own  television sets and not everyone buys newspapers. Along with BBM updates, maybe RSS updates might be worth checking . Stumble-upon is bookmarked on your browser, you could try looking at Google news too. But that’s so much of an effort isn’t it? And then we can sit, cosy with our coffees (with extra coffee powder) and discuss what a sham Indian politics is. Modi, won. Elections are over, how many of us have marked fingers? Cynicism is brilliant, jaded is in. We’re so cool that we can pretend to care, for the five minutes while we’re on that topic, then we’ll go back to discussing how sleek the iPhone 5 is. We could not care less.

We want safer cities. Let’s not let women go out. Castrate the perpetrators, hang them till death. And we won our Independence by non-violent methods. We want safety , lets enforce a curfew, not one will wander out at nights, no rapes will ever happen. What about rapes in broad daylight, when people on the street can stare watching, while men strip a woman of all the integrity she has, break her confidence, but they will not raise a finger, not say a word. When its on air and everyone sees it, then we’ll spare a few words, blame the government, the patriarchy, the narrow-mindedness of people and finish the discussion as we finish our tea. Then get up and carry on with our lives. We really could not care less.

We want a solution to this and fast. What happened to the slow and steady wins the race? We want ‘Justice’, yes, that abstract beautiful word. What does it mean? What’re you trying to get at? No one wants to sit long enough to figure it out. Bloody fast food generation that we are,Dominoes, 30 minutes ya free. We can’t even engage our minds to this for beyond thirty minutes, and we say we want justice. We’ll protest, we hold marches, with no aim in mind as to what you want. We know what’s trending. Protests are cool, they’re in these days. Let’s go chill at one. We’ll feel so Rang De Basanti. We’ll make a difference. What’re we trying to do? We don’t know. We really couldn’t care less.

I don’t have a solution, I’m just like you. I really couldn’t care less. But the fact of the matter is that, I do care. You do care. And if we all get together, think of a way we could possibly bring about a positive change in society. Don’t ask laws the governments can give you, ask what solutions we as conscientious citizens can give. What solutions we as sensitive designers, perceptive minds , The crème de la crème of the Indian design can give back to the country that has defined you. Accept it, as much as you want to look westward, you’re still desi bro (bro, see, the west is as archaically patriarchal) . And now that we’ve come to terms with this reality .Lets make this a country that you want your daughter to grow up fearlessly in. A country where she’s respected. This new year, let’s try to bring in a new India. On that note, Happy New  Year.

Mandu, (MP)

Image (c) Antara Jha.

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