Skip to main content

Do candlelight vigils work?

In light of the recent Bombay terror attack, several citizens and groups have come together in an unprecedented way to show support and solidarity to the victims of this tragic incident, as well as pull up the authorities for severely letting down the citizenry, by holding candle-light vigils, 1/2/3 minute silences, etc. The biggest such meeting was held at the Gateway of India on Sunday, November 30, two days after the deadly siege ended that killed around 200 people and injured around 1,000. But do these candle-light vigils, public show of solidarity/outcry help? 

Yesterday, I was standing at the Nariman Point bus-stop to catch a bus to go home around 19.45 hrs. The roads were quite empty and office goers were waiting to catch the next bus home, on my opposite side where the road goes to VT station, there was a long queue waiting for their BEST buses. Suddenly a large group of citizens, shouting slogans like "Bharat Maata Ki Jai", armed with a loudspeaker playing patriotic songs like "Chhodon kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani...." showed up. It was a procession of young children and they were roller-skating their way ahead. Nobody was walking, everybody was roller-skating. It was evident that they were on the streets to protest against the recent terror attack. Within seconds, there was traffic jam and packed buses, waiting to ferry tired working class people home, were caught up in a mile or two long traffic jam. Was it all worth it? 

Would there be no future terrorist attacks because these little children got on streets and caused a massive traffic jam during peak hours? Will our politicians be moved by this emotional show of solidarity and suddenly change their ways? They inconvenienced everyone else who were not a part of that procession.  This is what my uncle, Rusi Tavadia, an Indian-born settled in USA says and his sentiments are reflected by many Indians who have left India to settle abroad, fed-up of our country's corruption: "Holding Morchas with the slogans is not going to bring any radical results.  Indian politicians are such thick pig skinned people that the morchas mean nothing to them.  At this point, people should rise against the government, stop paying taxes and elect fresh blood.  It is easy to say than done, but until the political thugs are exposed for their illegal actions, nothing is going to happen and I am afraid things will continue status-quo."

There have been lot of candlelight vigils that Bombay and India has seen. I remember there was one in - I think - Azad Maidan when the holy well of Bhikha-Behram in Fountain, opposite the telegraph and VSNL offices, was vandalised and its precious stained glass was stolen. The Bhikha-Behram well is a very holy site for Parsees. 2,000 Zoroastrians turned up, including Pheroza Godrej. Former police commissioner Julio Rebeiro also turned up to show his support. What happened? People came, talked, protested, lamented, grieved and then went back home. More than four years have passed and the thieves are still at large, they were never caught. I am not much in favour of these candle-lit vigils and I have never attended one. 

However, there is something unique happening these days I am noticing. The recent Bombay terror attack has resulted in a public outcry I have never seen before. Not even a single (non-political) soul sympathises with the government and thinks that they are not at fault. Everyone is unanimous and firmly believe that the government and politicians have let us down. Such is the public outcry this time, that the media is shouting (not literally though like Rajdeep Sardesai, but in a way that do not require ear-plugs) about how the machinery is a big let-down and several such key issues. Citizens are finding courage and will to name politicians and remind of their attitude. Nobody is spared. The Deshmukhs, Patils, Advanis, Gandhis, Thackerys, Modis and even the Karats of the world, all of them are getting their just dues. Nasty and sarcastic SMSs are forwarded with vigour reminding us of how they have let us down. Newspapers have covered, on their front pages, the Gateway of India candlelight vigil where people are shown holding up placards with severe criticism of how the political machinery has let us down. This newspaper report claims that former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh almost survived despite taking Ram Gopal Verma on the Taj Terror Tourism package, but the Gateway of India candle-lit vigil did him in. Amazing what a citizen's movement can do. 


Popular posts from this blog


As the country oldest mutual fund scheme, now US-64 Bonds, are set be redeemed, it’s tough to find an equally alternative investment. There are some that come closeThe oldest mutual fund scheme in India, Unit Trust of India (UTI)’ Unit Scheme – 64 (US-64), will soon be no more. After more than 40 years of existence, curtains will fall on the US-64 bonds that mature on 31 May 2008. UTI has already sent out letters to all bond-holders about the redemption; investors are told to submit their original certificates, take their money back and leave.

For investors like Kolkata-based, Kumaresh Mukherjee, 72 it’s the end of an era. Soon after he retired from Philips India, he invested his provident fund corpus in fixed – return instruments like company fixed deposits. An electrical engineer by profession, in 1995 he also invested Rs 12 lakh or around one-third of his retirement corpus in the erstwhile US-64. After years of above-average returns, then trapped doors and turmoil that shook the Ind…

Pay Credit Card Bills Through ATMs

Tired of being ignored by ICICI Bank credit cards by being left out of their premium services despite being a loyal customer, I got myself a new credit card by HDFC Bank. It's another thing that HDFC Bank promised me a gold card with a higher spending limit, but then threatened to give me a silver card. When I strongly protested to their ways, they issued me a gold card, but with a much-lower-than-promised spending limit. I think the credit card companies ought to be made more accountable through stricter laws that are widely publicised (I recently read an RBI advertisement in the paper that if a credit card company rejects your application for a credit card, it has to give the reasons in writing; I never knew that!!!) and ought to made to pay for promising one thing, but delivering something totally different. SBI Cards too chased me for a month last year and promised to give me a platinum card with a high spending limit. What I finally got was a much-watered down Gold Card with …

My first ever Rajdhani experiance

As a kid, the Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express used to be this legend that I dreamt often. Although train travel was an integral part of my childhood, Rajdhani remained a distant dream. A dream that only zipped past me at 120 km/hr overtime I saw it. A dream that announced it arrival from a great, great distance by the sounds of twin diesel locomotives and its generator cars at either sides of the rake. A sound that was as intimidating to rail enthusiasts like me as a Bullet motorcycle is to a biker. In those days, it used to be hauled by two diesel locomotives so that it wouldn't need to spend much time at Vadodra station changing its locomotives. One of the two diesel locos would detach itself from the train and the other one who simply haul it al the way to Delhi. When I used to go to Valsad during some of my summer holidays at my cousin's house, it was a ritual. Take a picnic basket, leave the house at sharp 6, go to the yard just before the station, position ourselves on…