Dissent by disruption

The relationship between a body and the forces acting upon it as well as its motion in response to those forces are known to students of Physics as Newton’s Laws of Motion attributed to the British mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author and physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1726), regarded widely as one of the most influential scientists of all time, laying the foundation for classical mechanics. To recap, his third Law states that “When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.” Without meaning to question in this column the time-honoured third Law of the legendary Physicist, and with a big flight of imagination, call it even a fantasy, the Law may need to be modified in an away-from-Physics situation, identifying (a) the government of the day as one body and (b) the land’s masses coming out on the streets as another. The first force in our modified Law comprises the various decisions, measures, Laws and Acts by the government. The second force is the all-too-familiar outrage staged by various outfits of the population. The modification to Newton’s Law is that the second force is undoubtedly opposite but much more than equal in magnitude.

Psychologists have come out with a postulate, briefly stated as 10-90 phenomenon. What a person says or does, not relished by a second person, is rated as ‘10’ while the reaction of the second person is rated as ‘90’, reflecting the exaggeration of not relishing what is said or done. The land’s administration and its people together fit into illustrating the “10-90” phenomenon.

Even a fast reading of the matter appearing in print in the land’s dailies of all hues, including this one, yields sumptuous material of instances of the administration doing its duty of maintaining law and order in its jurisdiction and one or the other group among the residents coming out into the open in protest, most often though high decibel sloganeering if not violent acts. Dissenting, according to political theorists, is an integral part of the functioning of a democracy. Mysuru is keeping august company with virtually every city across the country in witnessing people’s outfits staging protest against administration for various causes.

The foregoing reference to the example of government and people at large in an endless war of words as well as disruption of normal life in cities prompts one to perceive the satyagraha way in new light, other than its role in India’s freedom struggle. Without a shadow of any doubt, the ideologues of non-violent satyagraha would not favour the ongoing scenario of dissent by disruption all over the country.