The ‘common man’. Who is this ubiquitous common man? He pops up everywhere. The biggest political battles are fought in his name. Government budgets are dedicated to him.
He is supposed to be nameless, faceless. Yet, his name crops up more often than that of any scientific genius or that of a world leader.
Apart from the incomparable R.K.Laxman’s common man who brilliantly ridiculed the petty power-addled arrogance of politicians and bureaucrats, I am unaware of any ‘common man’.
A few years ago, this mysterious common man achieved uncommon popularity; a political party was named after him based on the presumption that ordinary people should rule.
It is very curious — when one is sick, he goes to a super specialist, an MBBS doctor will not do. In schools and colleges, one wants learned teachers. When flying in a plane, one wants a pilot, not a rickshaw driver. But when it comes to deciding the lives of millions of families, a ‘common man’ is deemed to be competent. While negotiating the traffic in our daily commute, we realise that a majority of the people are dangerous drivers. Yet, we are to accept that they will steer the country safely to progress if handed over the power. They, who can’t drive a vehicle properly. It is a marketing gimmick, not a genuine belief in peoples’ ability. And a cynical inversion: first you term most of the population ‘common’ or ordinary (including high-ranking government officials); then you vociferously claim ordinary people can perform an extraordinary task (which ruling a billion plus people should surely qualify as).
Does anyone take this glorification of the common man by politicians and sundry NGOs seriously? How noble are these champions of the ‘common’ folk when, in truth, they work under the arrogant assumption that they are ordinary? Can any human being be ordinary?
I seriously doubt that there is a common man. That mythical person was created to gild lowly power-seeking with a lacquer of loftiness. I am inclined to believe that every individual is unique — an uncommon man. These blogs are tiny prods to the uncommon common sense inherent in each and every one of us.