So, to use a new word (in the context that I use it), you are outraged.
You went onto Twitter and said clever things about Mumbai’s Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vasant Dhoble using clever hashtags. Some of them were so clever that they trended.
How cool that was.
Some of the tweets were retweeted. Some said even cleverer and cool things like ‘+1 RT’, and you felt even cooler.
From the time you started saying clever things about Dhoble, you gained 12 followers and your count is now 161 followers, including those 13 girls with little or no clothes on from a country you’ve never heard of.
How good you feel.
Some of you said clever things about Dhoble on Facebook. The really clever things got you many likes and many shares. Great comments, one from the cool girl who sits next to you in the office, who said ‘You said it.’
You quickly went through the status updates and stole a couple of the smarter lines (one written by a copywriter you know), tweaked them a bit and passed them off as your own. Those were big hits. One got 23 likes and two shares and 16 comments. The other got 31 likes, 7 shares and 44 comments (this was the one by the copywriter).
You got 16 new friend requests.
How cool that was.
You really showed Dhoble his place, didn’t you? You and all the clever things in Mumbai. No, not just Mumbai; you had outragers from Delhi and Gurgaon (yup, they’re different places), Bangalore and Chennai and Pune and Hyderabad rooting for you, egging you on to end this nonsense by Dhoble, the ultimate moral policeman.
And last evening, it was fun, just defying Dhoble, when 23 of you, 16 under the legal drinking age in Maharashtra, polished off 16 cans of beer, one bottle of Old Monk, half a bottle of Royal Challenge and then – you had vodka shots.
What fun. Just #$%* off, Dhoble!
Actually, er, no. Dhoble’s going nowhere. He’ll be around every night, somewhere in Mumbai and he will do, every night, just what he did the night you heard of him.
And he’s right. He’s just doing his job. There are laws that are being broken, laws that Dhoble had nothing to do with the creation of.
Dhoble never has had and never will have anything to do with the framing of laws – that’s the job for the politicians.
Dhoble is just a policeman enforcing the laws that the politicians have framed. He doesn’t get into whether the law is a good law or a bad one; whether the law is fair or unfair; whether it’s anachronistic or current. These little issues are none of Dhoble’s business – he’s only bothered about instances of anyone breaking any of the laws that his job says he must uphold.
It’s easy to attack the Dhobles of the world. You can call him Pandu, you can make fun of his uniform and his lack of it, for the poor English he speaks and deride him for not understanding your culture.
You can keep outraging – but your outrage is misplaced.
The guys you should be outraged with are the guys you don’t want to piss off. They’re the politicians, the ones who make the laws that Dhoble and his ilk uphold. They’re the ones who know that such laws can be used and manipulated to make life miserable for all and sundry.
So why don’t you log off Twitter and Facebook and go to Google and find out who your corporator is? Find out who your MLA is.. Who your MP is. Who are the ministers in charge of various departments that make your nightlife so boring are.
Why don’t you log off from the digital world for a while and go meet the people who make the laws that Dhoble upholds and tell them what you think of these laws. Tell them why the laws need to change. Convince them that the laws are outdated, that the laws don’t reflect the changes in society.
Oh, that’s hard work. Yes it is. But that has a chance of working.
All the cool things you do on social media, all the likes and the RTs and the shares and the comments are an absolute and complete waste of time.
Till you do the hard work and get pernicious laws to change, there’s always a chance that Dhoble will get you.
Maybe tonight’s the night.