Friday, October 1, 2010

If You Want Peace, Work For Justice

Vasant Vihar, the fancy neighborhood just to the right of ours, is going Gated. It's a big deal, and I'm sure there were many meetings of the Society's Executive Committee to decide which streets to block off and at what time, how to pay for the guards who will man the little kiosks (and I do mean little):

and why it was all necessary in the first place.

Security is a major concern these days and the more stuff you have, the more concerned you are about protecting it. Delhi's fancy neighborhoods are all gated now and I suppose residents there take it for granted - the price of living in an upscale area, free (or so they think) from the fear of break-ins, theft and assault. This will be a first in Dehradun, once considered a peaceful, sleepy town where the biggest issue was the date of the Board exams or the shape the garden was in.

But who are we kidding? Does anyone really think that by locking the gates to a particular neighborhood the people living there will suddenly be safe and secure?

I think a lot about the men who will be occupying these little metal boxes. They will be skinny, poor and anxious about their families back in the village. It's a night job and the boxes are designed not to let them get comfortable enough to sleep, but they will be tired from their day jobs and they will find a way to sleep whether they are comfortable or not.

Does anyone really think this is a system which will work?

If you want peace, work for justice.

Barring the odd truly socio-pathic individual, most people prefer to do an honest day's work to feed their families. Crime is a natural outgrowth of a society whose values are skewed in the direction of selfishness. A complete lack of awareness or concern for the needs of people one considers less than oneself is a hallmark of our age.

Look again at the picture of the gate.

It might prevent a car from entering, but the sides, the sides! Anyone could get in. Anyone WILL get in. I'm sure the gates are not yet completed. I'm sure they will be perfected and barbed wire will be placed on either side of the gate to prevent miscreants from getting in. But I like the way it looks right now because this is the reality of all security systems which rely on maintaining the status quo. They are FULL of loopholes, side entries and clever ways around. Because they do not address the real nature of the problem.

If you want peace, work for justice.


chicu said...

glad you posted about this, Jo. I've been eyeing those gates and wondering how Mian and I became people living in a gated community and what to do about it. That we are misfits is proved by the fact that our major concern is whether we will be let in once the gates are up.

Entropy said...

Gated community are not really a "community" at all ..

Its Gated social Alienation ...