Monday, March 18, 2013

Hypocrisy Is In My Indian Genes; I Can't Get Rid of It!

A few months back, a few of my country men from Kerala proceeded to fish in the Arabian Sea as usual in their motor boat named after their venerated Christian saint Antony. In their hard toils in the sea, their small vessel crossed over to the international waters beyond the water line borders of our country.

In the recent years, this same international maritime zone to which our friends have entered has become a dreaded one for all kinds of marine vessels that ply through it, due to the sea-pirates from the African coast who feared or obeyed no authority in this world. And this pirates moved in small motor boats similar to the harmless fishing boat my country men used for their livelihood.

Many of my country men who worked as sailing crews in large merchant vessels from various countries have been the victims to the cruelty of these ruthless pirates. This situation has prompted the affected countries in the world to work out some ways to check the menace of these pirates in the seas.

My country, India too, have been very active in deploying its full fledged naval forces in the region to checkmate the pirates. but not with full success always.

Deploying frigates and other warships accompanying each and every merchant ship plying in this route was not going to be a practical approach for those affected nations.

So they decided to send armed sea-marshals in the merchant vessels to take the pirates head on, just as they changed the laws to send sky marshals in the aeroplanes to checkmate the hijackers.

Of course, this development was a new one. It has not become a wide spread or well known practice. Earlier, our sea going fishing vessels used to go near the big ships merrily without any problem. Big and small never used to make any difference in the vastness of the seas !

But now the possibility of the sea-marshals armed with sophisticated guns with long distance fire power suddenly became a reality. 

There is no reason to believe that such a development is without the knowledge of the  countries who have waterline borders just as my own India.

Some how the authorities were not quick in notifying this to all sea going people and have not ensured that all the subordinate authorities know about this new development. They should have also notified the safeguards to be adopted in such a situation just as we had changed the rules of security checks in the airports when such exigencies arose.

In a similar way the sea marshals of those countries who deployed them in their merchant vessels were also new to the situation. They were doing this kind of a duty for the first time. Many of them were with out any formal training for their new job. They were drafted from their respective naval forces where they had a different kind of responsibility. What they were trained for was to trigger their guns in the event of a suspicion.

So a stage was somehow set for committing a serious error of judgement by all concerned.

The error test case arose when our Kerala fishing boat St.Antony came in the visibility range of a large Italian oil tanker named Enrica Lexie on 15th February 2012 moving in the high seas about 20.5 nautical miles from the Kerala coast.

Our fisher folks inadvertently happened to move some hundred meters away from the Italian oil tanker ship passing through the waters near to India's coastline border, but technically in the international waters. The ship had its sophisticated navigational aids to prove its location while the small fishing boat had nothing of that sort to know exactly where it was.

The big ship had the marines who were there to eliminate the small speed boats of the pirates who came in quick maneuvers to its hull side to get their armed men climb up the ship through ropes.

The bare bodied Kerala fisher men looked no different than the pirates to the marines  that they had perhaps seen in only in videos earlier .

On the other hand, the innocent Kerala men had never thought that this time the foreign merchant vessel could be armed like the warships or the vessels of the armed coast guards of their own country.

The marines of the ship were scared of the pirates and the boat fellows thought of no impending danger.

That caused the Italian catholics to fire at the Kerala catholics killing two of the latter. The former did their duty of saving their ship and their ship moved on safely ahead.

Very unfortunate thing indeed !

But  more disgraceful is the way the things happened later to the extent of sparking of an international controversy and near break up of the ties of two friendly nations.

Just because some people goofed up the entire episode ! (Read that story here: Marine case: Is Italy's decision a well-crafted strategy to beat Indian legal system?)

I am remembering what Jesus advised the fellows who brought the lady to him accusing her of wrongs and requesting him to judge her.

He told them that they could stone her if they had not done such crimes themselves earlier ! But the Jews of that time were honest to some extent. They simply vanished from the scene as none of them were not so perfect. They knew they were all uncaught criminals or sinners ! Therefore they were not perfect to punish someone like them, just because she happened to be caught ! At least their inner consciousness did not allow them to face the perfect man that Jesus was !

Now coming to the story of the Italian marines. True, they did a man slaughter. But that was what their government deputed them for. They were trained to kill with their guns. Kill any one who trespass their domain. Then how do they make their judgements is another thing.

But then that is what all security personnel all over the world do. They would act ruthlessly if any one violates what is adjudged by them as a violation. Their judgements and acts go wrong here and there occasionally. Innocents have been at the receiving end several times on several occasions. This is a universal trend and governments that depute these security men keep justifying them in almost all times.

The Indian security forces are no exception. And the Indian governments are no exception.

It is not that the Indian authorities do not know all these things.

But some where some one wanted to make things go differently. Why did the Indian authorities at Mumbai called the tanker that had already reached the Srilankan waters for reporting and then decided to detain it at Kochi without taking a diplomatic recourse ? Who leaked the information to the media and was that with the concurrence of the Indian government ?

There are so many ifs and buts.

I was just thinking. What would I have done if I were in any of the decision making positions ?
What would have been the same case if the marines were the  Chinese or the Russians instead of the Italians ?

I know it would have been very different.

Because I am an Indian. I will raise my voice only if I find the situation safe for me !

If it is safe and no one is going to catch me, there is no problem for me if I can fish in the troubled waters ! No problem for me if it causes some problem for others as long as I am safe !

I show respect and obedience to those with power and those who do not hesitate to use their power ! Not because I respect them from my soul, but because I am fearful. I know that I am a coward even though I try to pretend that I am not !

I know there are many way of sorting out this issue amicably instead of blowing it up, even though it had caused an irreparable injustice to some innocent persons.

But I cannot do it as per my inner consciousness.

Because I am fearful. I fear everyone around me. I do not have the courage to face the truths and take proper decisions ultimately good for all in the appropriate time.

I am very sensitive to public opinion, even when I know that my own country men like me manipulate the public opinion for their own vested interests.

Oh ! Why is it like this with me ? Why can't I proceed according to my inner convictions ?

I remember reading the book written by our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The intelligent statesman and writer he was, he had found out that we Indians are intrinsically cowards.

Cowardice leads to hypocrisy ?

I know it is in me. I want to get rid of it, honestly. But I can't. It is in my genes !


No, neither me nor our system won't be any different for the time being !



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