Civil –uncivil still civil society

The previous post on Draft Waste Rules, 2015 consultation in Bangalore created a tu tu main main like atmosphere in one of the googlegroups which I’m part of. I was told by some Ms. Ramya Iyer who is an erstwhile employee of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)- India that whatever I have written so far is all rumors. She was an eye witness, nothing of that sort had happened in the consultation. Consultation was called off because of unruly flimsy dissenting plea made by some activists. She further went on call those who questioned the unconstitutional process “jokers”, and the term joker was also used to refer to the victims of an illegal dumping site nearby Bangalore as few of them raised the question of language of communication in “Stakeholder Consultation”. Thanks to the unprecedented coverage in the newspapers everyone knows the truth. Maybe Ms. Iyer reached late for the consultation or slept over while the feverous exchange was ongoing.

India is a diverse country, not everyone understands English. Sadly that is the medium in which our laws and rules are drafted and later translated in other languages which is mostly Hindi. Drafts are opened for discussion in English and at times, maximum in Hindi, later once they are finalized and sealed, they are notified in other languages recognized by constitution of India. Those who oppose this form of English elitism and ask for democratic devolution by using translations of draft documents and translators for public consultations are termed as jokers. Those who call them jokers are largely individuals belonging to upper classes and erstwhile upper castes. Reminding them of their caste and class privilege is termed as “Racist” by some of their former colleagues (from WWF-India in this case) and they demand unconditional apology.

No apologies for that! Instead an FIR should be registered against such unruly elements under SC and ST (Preventions of Atrocities) Act as many of those who are termed as jokers for highlighting their plight are from the oppressed classes.

There was misunderstanding on my part too, I believed that Ms. Iyer is still an employee of WWF-India and her views probably represent the culture and beliefs of the organization. That is not true. My mistake!  While making the exchange between me and Ms. Iyer public (by that time it was already public, as she has exchanged some of her inputs in a google group discussion and later issued ridiculous remarks calling activists ‘jokers’ in ‘private’ in an email marked to me and another employee of the given organization), I stated that those are the views of ‘representatives’ of WWF-India, I sincerely apologize and state on record that these are not the views of WWF-India and solely belong to Ms. Iyer alone. It is also important to mention the fact the prominent employee marked in the mail stood by the remarks as she is yet to condemn them in both public and private.

Well I have apologized on my part, but I would also like to know whether calling Non-English speaking citizens of Mawalipura and other dissenting voices –jokers is just and civil on anyone’s part especially if they have been the employees of some popular ‘civil society’ organization. Do let me know!

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