A fringe group attacks a school bus ferrying children and hold up traffic on a busy road because…
Women of a certain community seek President’s permission to end their lives because…
Other fringe groups riot and commit arson because…
… of the release of a film that is based on a classic written in the medieaval India.

But this is not an isolated incident. Other fringe groups in the recent past have demonstrated utter indifference towards the people at large to further their own motives. However, the attack on the school bus was a new low and 18-odd people were arrested for the act. The fringe promptly distanced itself from these terrorists – for that is what they are since they choose to stoop so low to unleash horror on young impressionable minds.
The ability of the authorities responsible for the law and order in the land and the leadership of the country is conspicuous by its absence.
To be very frank, our politicians are guided by a narrow and cynical perspective that doesn’t see beyond the votebank politics. That is what the various fringe groups offer to them. And, with such protection, the latter are allowed to hold an entire nation to ransom to further their cause(s) – in this case, the honour of a mediaval queen. Of course, they are accountable for her, not to the myriad women, of all ages, who face shameful acts against their body and psyche every day of the year.
What times are we living in? Who, or what, is responsible for the present state of affairs?

I recall an interesting insight in a letter that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote to the Chief Ministers as early as 1961 – barely 14 years after the nation gained independence.
The part I want to highlight is this:
I have referred above to efficiency and to our getting out of our traditional ruts. This necessitates our getting out of the old habit of reservations and particular privileges being given to this caste or that group. The recent meeting we held here, at which the Chief Ministers were present, to consider national integration, laid down that the help should be given on economic considerations and not on caste. It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping the scheduled castes and tribes. They deserve help but, even so, I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in Services. I react strongly against anything which leads to inefficiency and second-rate standards. I want my country to be a first class·country in everything. The moment we encourage the second-rate, we are lost.
The only real way to help a backward group is to give opportunities of good education, this includes technical education which is becoming more and more important. Everything else is provision of some kind of crutches which do not add to the strength or health of the body. We have made recently two decisions which are very important: one is, universal free elementary education, that is the base; and the second is scholarships on a very wide scale at every grade of education to the bright boys and girls, and this applies not merely to literary education, but, much more so, to technical, scientific and medical training. I lay stress on the bright and able boys and girls because it is only they who will raise our standards. I have no doubt that there is a vast reservoir of potential talent in this country if only we can give it opportunity.
But if we go in for reservations on communal and caste basis, we swamp the bright and able people and remain second-rate or third-rate. I am grieved to learn of how far this business of reservation has gone based on communal considerations.
It has amazed me to learn that even promotions are based sometimes on communal or caste considerations. This way lies not only folly, but disaster. Let us help the backward groups by all means, but never at the cost of efficiency. How are we going to build our public sector or indeed any sector with second-rate people?
Jawaharlal Nehru, Letters to Chief Ministers 1947-1964, Vol. 5 Oxford University Press, 1989

Pandit Nehru’s views on providing education to all, particularly girls, sounds a distinct chord. How many years did it take, since 1961, to enforce the Right to Education Act? – 2 years short of half a century!
It is pointless mentioning the condition of women. Although empowered, even today they are not safe in a society that worships the Goddesses no end. And, if the powers-that-are are not bothered about this ‘trivial’ issue, why would the fringe groups take it to their heart.
It was reported recently that Gurugram saw 10 rapes in 10 days. Some record that!
But, the fringe groups must be right – nothing compares to the honour of a queen from a remote past whose existence itself is debatable.

I love my country and I am mighty proud of being an Indian. But, and this one is a really big but, when faced with such regressive mentality and pointless violence, I am forced to re-evaluate the star rating of my nation.

The foresight of Pandit Nehru was so to the point! Had the leaders in question listened to him and supported him in his efforts for making India a first rate country, we would have been spared a lot of second or even third-rate attitude now!

I know that my country has the to be a first-rate nation, but the way things are proceeding, two steps ahead with one step backwards is making the going excruciatingly slow. If only, the law and order wielding authorities and the current leadership get out of their mute-tamashai-mode and become accountable – not to me or you or the people, but to the nation itself!… If only the interest of our country takes priority over their own petty and immediate interests!… If only,…