State machinery collapsing?

Saturday, 16 January 2021



State machinery collapsing?

Swapnil Bharali | February 16, 2019 12:48 hrs

Well, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill fracas seems to be momentarily over; one can safely assume that peace has returned to Assam. This might be just the right time to reflect on the agitations all over the state and the northeast that finally forced a determined central government to think twice and let the Bill lapse. Most of these agitations were organised and respectable because of their adherence to the democratic principles of peaceful protest. However, the media, especially social media, did not fail to catch those offbeat moments of extreme aggression where physical injury was inflicted in the name of protest. The attack on the lady doctor at Digboi is one case in point among many others. Again, a lone youngster shouting “Go Back Modi” and waving a black flag in Guwahati with the police looking on is another example of a free-for-all mêlée that seems to be the order of the day giving the feeling that the state machinery might just be collapsing.


I discussed the issue with a senior police officer and found his perspective intriguing. He felt that after 15 years of peace with virtually no agitations or law and order problems, one section of the society has become overtly aggressive with no fear for the state machinery. This section comprises mostly a young generation who have grown up in peace and are aware of the power that they wield through their smartphones. The 15 minutes of fame factor, basically! On the other hand, the state machinery has become rusty from this peace or perhaps totally complacent thereby giving the feeling that sab chalta hai or bas ho jayega. All this is coupled with a new fear for the media that the police force seems to have and the policemen turn cautious in wielding the baton in public. In this case, 15 minutes of notoriety if captured in the act on a smartphone that might lead to career-damaging suspensions!


So is the state machinery collapsing? Well, I believe not. Complacency has set in for sure but 15 years ago, when this peace had ushered itself in, the PM, CM and the system were accorded their due respect. The challenge of disrespect thrown by a whole generation growing up in this peace has given a new dimension to governance and hopefully, the system will respond to it with adequate competence.

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