Mulla Nasruddin*, the Sufi scholar, returned home from a trip he had taken with his wife to find that his house had been burgled. The thieves had taken every valuable object in the house.
Nasruddin’s wife was visibly displeased. “It is all your fault.” she said to him. “You should have checked to make sure the doors were locked before we left.”
As she scolded him, a crowd gathered outside his house. A neighbor shook his head disapprovingly. “Why didn’t you lock the doors and windows? You shouldn’t have been so careless,’ said the neighbor.
“Your lock is faulty. You should have changed it before you left,” said another.
“You need new, stronger windows. Didn’t you know that?” said another wise passerby.
Nasruddin was flabbergasted. “Wait a minute. Surely, I am not the only one that should be blamed?”
“Who else should we hold responsible?” asked everyone in unison.
“Why, the thieves of course!” said Nasruddin.
These days in India, with every nefarious activity, you will find pundits eager to search for scapegoats instead of putting the responsibility at the door of the direct perpetrators. I definitely advocate letting the judiciary reach a verdict in due course, but if and when the identities of those responsible are established beyond a reasonable doubt, justice should be meted out.
Is this happening? The direct catalyst for this post is the unwillingness on the part of certain power-wielding citizens to implicate the Maoists in the recent train-wreck in West Bengal even in the light of growing (and arguably, insurmountable) evidence.
Unfortunately, this is the new trend. So when Mayawati accepts a garland made from 1000-rupee notes and the media reports it, her champions come out of the woodwork to point a finger at upper-castes for discrimination. When Maoists take innocent lives through horrific acts of violence, the same armchair pundits blame India’s government for lack of rural development. The trend of justifying the acts of criminals because you feel sorry for the perceived injustices faced by them is unconscionable. I understand that voices need to be heard, but India is a democracy. Anarchy as a form of governance never worked. And definitely, shifting blame is not a sign of maturity in modern India.
*I read the original anecdote in one of Idries Shah’s books. It stayed with me, but of course, I don’t remember it well enough to paraphrase.