Rage is the dominant emotion in India today. Not the rage of the underpri-vileged, of the indigent, of Les Miserables who see no hope in this glittering nation – but that of the privileged and the powerful. Politician rage, film actor rage, celebrity rage, each one expressing an impatience with rules, laws, conventions.

Road rage, a quotidian occurrence on our streets, does not come from the auto-rickshaw driver but from the SUV owner who cannot fathom why a pedestrian would want to cross at a green light. At the other end, a high-flying industrialist is angry that the government, the media and perhaps even passengers have somehow let him and his airline down. That his business model could be flawed does not occur to him and the question of apologising toshareholders and customers is farthest from his mind.

The Indian Premier League, that fiery cocktail of big money and low sleaze has offered up many examples of such fury. Cricketers, mindful of the high expectations engendered by their high salaries, have kicked stumps, threatened rivals and wagged their fingers at umpires. The glamorous and influential franchise owners, fully aware that they have paid top dollar for the teams and therefore subject to no rules or conventions, strut about the stadium, leaving no doubt who is the boss. Why should they listen to a small-time security guard when they don’t care two hoots about the mandarins who run the game? The wrath then is directed at the petty employee; there is nary an admission, let alone an apology that perhaps the matter went too far and could have been handled with dignity.

Another celebrity, famous only for being his father’s son and the escort of an actress, gets het up when the media asks him about a sexual harassment case involving one of his franchise’s players. A party girl daring to blame a cricketer for making passes? Let us rubbish her on Twitter, in the most demeaning way possible. Where at one time there would have been bland assurances of “looking into the matter”, now there is a direct attack on the girl’s reputation and on the media for bringing it up. The girl has dared raise her voice against a cricketer and by implication the powerful people who own him, so she must be squashed. What more can be expected from someone who uses the social media to rubbish complaints made by passengers?

Time was when politicians showed humility, even if fake and contrived

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