ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NEW DELHI-Steel Troubles

December 2, 1972 being locked away in prison, or killed by ruffians or the police. Undoubtedly, for many, there is also a sharing of ideology. It is however not so much for vocalising ideologies that they come to the meeting. They listen to the speeches, they clap with devotion when the more popular leaders start performing, but most of them know what to expect from the speeches; most of them also know that the resolutions you pass are not of much operational significance: these only provide an outlet for emotions. They come to the meeting primarily to enjoy one another's presence, to gather courage from the fact that they are not alone, they come in the belief that the moment individuals come close together under one segment of the sky, a transformation takes place, one gets into the spirit of the collective personality. But perhaps a fair chunk of the people also come because in their pattern of living there is so little variation, so little occasions of departure. Never mind whether they have a spare paisa; never mind whether at the end of the month they will not be badly missing the money they have spent on train or tram or bus fare for coming to the meeting; never mind whether, on their journey back from the meeting, they will not be waylaid by thugs belonging to the landlord's party; they still care to come because this is their only diversion. Such meetings entertain the impoverished, provide them with a precious half-dozen hours of fever and excitement. There need therefore be no sense of guilt if they listen to the speeches with only one ear, while the rest of the faculties are deployed to soak in all that is happening, in the course of the evening, around them. There need be no sense of guilt for keeping up the small talk, for spending money on a cup of tea or a packet of spiced murmura, nor need there be any feeling of guilt that while the leaders talk of the inevitability of the social revolution, you cast eyes on the bright, young girl sitting hardly two rows away from you.

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