How dare you innovate, you upstart Major!
Major Gogoi’s act of tying a supposed stone-pelting ring-leader in front of his jeep to momentarily stun hundreds of stone-pelters to ensure a safe passage to a polling team and security forces, has been the subject of much outrage among the usual suspects.
Consider a cricket match going on and India needed 6 runs from the last ball to win. Say Dhoni, being the calm finisher he is, came to India’s rescue and swatted a cross-batted heave into the legside off a ball that was short outside off-stump.
Some people would have prayed that India loses so that “a wave of nationalism doesn’t rise”. They may directly hate India doing well at anything.
Others among this group just want to stir the pot (especially since Modi is in the PMO) or actually belong to the earlier “Can’t see sweaty, ugly Indians succeed” group but want to hide it, make more creatively sanctimonious observations.
They cry themselves hoarse that this cross-batted shot lacked style, lacked aesthetics, is an assault on the coaching manual, is the reason malnutrition has increased in Gujarat, is why intolerance is rising and so on.
Their faddist dogmas of how cricket must be played trounce the dynamics of real-life situations and outcomes.
Now, back from the analogy.
The outrage brigade that has stopped just short of describing this act of Major Gogoi with their favourite N and G words is like those armchair cricket prudes with absolutely no sense of real-life situations.
However, observe that not a single one of them - which includes even some former soldiers - has spoken of what options Major Gogoi had but the innovative one he deployed.
Would they have preferred that Major Gogoi shot his way through? Tens if not hundreds would have been killed.
Would they prefer that Major Gogoi and the other people he was protecting offer themselves to Jihadi stone-pelters?
Would they prefer that Major Gogoi flip out his phone and read out aloud some article on how only dialogue can resolve Kashmir?
Or perhaps Major Gogoi should have just told the Jihadis that he believes Aurangzeb wasn’t as bad as he was made out to be. Yes. That should have worked.
What the remnants of the Nehruvian socio-economic elite do not get is people who live real lives out there need to innovate to survive — yes, the much ridiculed ‘jugaad’.
The establishment elite has created and/or exacerbated these problems in Kashmir. But it is often non-elite lives that are on the line (N N Taleb would have said “skin in the game”). And common folks are resourceful because they’re often self-made and daddy couldn’t give them much. They’ll come up with a way to escape sticky situations with least damage. That’s what many self-made, neo-aspirational Indians do daily. That’s what Major Gogoi did.
But how dare upstart army types circumvent issues the elite created, how dare they wriggle out of trouble than give up and get killed! Hunt the smart-alec Major down, they say.