Stand for something — a small spark lights the fire

In September 1990, as a wide-eyed 13-year-old, I watched as Doordarshan flashed images of Rajiv Goswami, a student of Deshbandhu College, immolating himself. He was protesting the proposed implementation of the Mandal Commission reforms that had recommended reservations for economically and socially backward classes.

A small ripple until that point, his action led to a tidal wave of protests across the nation. Schools and colleges closed down for months, offices struck work, candlelight marches were organized, and the nation came to a standstill.

Twenty years later in 2010, the world watched wide-eyed, as images of Muhammad Bouazizi a Tunisian street vendor immolating himself, were flashed across BBC and CNN. His act, borne out of desperation against an authoritarian regime, led to the Arab Spring, with people movements toppling dictators in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia.

One need not light themselves up to fire a revolution. One only needs to stand firm for what one believes in.

Whether race or religion, democracy or deep thought, will you have the courage to stand for what you believe in?

Onlookers try to help Rajiv Goswami as he immolates himself in New Delhi (image courtesy google images)



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