Now that the Valentine’s Day 2009 and the Pink Chaddi campaign is in our rear view mirror – it’s` a good time to analyze the real significance of the campaign and what it portends for the Indian society. The campaign, if you want to read the tea leaves, shows why India has never been and never will be Talibanised, why it will never become a Saudi Arabia, an Afghanistan or a Pakistan.
There is a strain in the Indian population, that views any sort of extremism with extreme distaste and disgust; there is this natural tendency to pull back from extremist views and actions. This was demonstrated in the defeat of the four BJP state governments post Babri Masjid demolition, this was demonstrated in BJP’s governing style when they were forced to govern from the center during the Bajpai government and now, the Pink Chaddi campaign is a great example of this strain. What was even more laudatory about this campaign was the way in which the Indian society registered its protest. There were no violent demonstrations, no agitations – just a humorous, tongue-firmly-in-the-cheek idea that poked fun at the extremists, ridiculed their nickname (chaddi-wallahs) and made them look extremely silly.
This idea of protesting at injustice in a non-violent manner is extremely Indian – or if I might dare say it, extremely Hindu. I firmly believe that the reason why India has stood as a stalward of secularism and a multi-cultural society while countries around it like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have fallen prey to ethnic and religious divides is the benign and accomodating views of its Hindu majority. This could be due to the flexibility of the Hindu religion and culture or some other reason, but the strain is there – the Pink Chaddi campain again proves it. We have to zealously guard ourselves to make sure that we preseve and pass on this strain to our future generations and to not let the Modis, Thackereys and the different Senes of the world take over the Indian society. It is a very short road from beating up women for visiting the pubs to beheading them for wearing skirts and lets keep that road closed forever.