Protesting for Righteous Causes

Hinduwebsite editorial - Protesting

From The Editor's Desk

(Hinduwebsite Editorial - Exploring Truth Amidst Illusions and Distortions)

Protests are part of modern democracies, where individuals are protected from government prosecution for expressing their opinions or venting their frustration. It is also considered healthy for the proper functioning of the democracies. However, problems arise when the situation goes out of control or when the protesters turn violent.

Protests can happen in many forms and through many mediums. They can be as big as a nationwide or global scale protest or as small as a march in front of the local self-government to resolve local issues. They may be organized as silent or vocal protests, rallies, marches, picketing, sit in protests, strikes and so on. Some protests are also organized for positive causes to raise awareness or involve the public for a positive change.

Protests are popularly used as a political or social means to influence public opinion, government policy, voice concern over some political, social or economic issues or demand reform and improvement in the functioning of some institution or government department. When problems simmer for long, peaceful protests evolve into violent protests, and even morph into civil resistance or civil disobedience movements.

Protests may also incite violence, more protests or counter protests. They may also be symbolic, formal or informal. While they may help the organizers and protesters to achieve certain goals, they may also impair the functioning of the government, economy and trade and commerce and lead to other problems.

Standing for one’s rights, safety and Wellbeing is a fundamental human right and should not be suppressed. Indeed, it is the duty of every government institution and public servant to protect it from abuse and misuse.

Protesting is also an important aspect of human behavior. We learn it from childhood. The cry for milk by humans in infancy assumes many forms as they grow and become adults. In some, the cry grows louder, as anger and frustration builds in them towards their parents, the world and society or their own failures and weaknesses. In course of time, it becomes the voice of dissent, anger and frustration or the need for attention.

While protesting is a normal democratic process, protesting for frivolous causes and selfish ends is rather disruptive and destructive. Public protests were probably never heard of in many countries and cultures until the industrial revolution. However, since last century, it has become the norm in many parts of the world to make oneself heard.

People who participate in public protests come from different backgrounds and for different reasons. Some do so to fill the vacuum in their lives and experience the sense of pride or belongingness, or to possess a distinct, social or public identity. Some join them out of boredom or curiosity, to earn money, seek public recognition or because of group pressures. Few people who participate in them may have personality issues such as difficulty in obeying the laws, following the rules or acknowledging the rights of others. The most hardened among them may even have a criminal background.

Whether it is the extremists who have a false notion of heroism and sacrifice, or the groups who organize protests out of malice, what is common to them is their confusion of values, ignorance, lack of civility, anger, fear and disillusionment with the world and society. They protest, not to uplift the world or reform it but to vent their anger and express their displeasure for no particular reason. They may become angry at anyone and everyone who appears to be an authority figure, or someone who commands respect and value in society.

It is true that there will always be reasons for people to be unhappy about their lives, or something or the other, but they cannot be resolved by escaping from them or distracting themselves with social or political causes and voicing their opinions. Society makes progress through the effort of individuals who take responsibility for their lives, and who keep on doing what they can, despite the problems, hardships, and limitations.

If we want to bring changes on a large scale, it has to be done in a civilized manner, honoring and respecting the laws that are meant to protect us from chaos. As countries become increasingly advanced and free and as they establish democratic rule, you can expect more of these agitations and protests. Therefore, parents have a responsibility to guide their children in the right direction and help them cultivate proper behavior, thinking and attitude.

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