The whole fracas surrounding the opening up of the cantonments across the country to the general public has forced me to weigh in with my 2 ounces of opinion.
I’m not sure why opening up the cantonments for public pass-through is such a huge deal as is being made out to be.
The cantonments have long been the Indian equivalent of the ‘apartheid era all-white townships’ where the military personnel and their families have hitherto self-sequestered away from the ‘plebeian civilian scum’ that was all around them. They had built their utopia(s) within the sylvan manicured environs of which they played by a different set of rules, considered themselves more ‘civilized’ than the rest of us and kept the rest of the country at bay with the insurmountable walls of privilege and the impenetrable gates of entitlement.
Things were idyllic, the ludicrous perquisites (paid for by the stinking taxes that came from the commoners’ sweaty grimy palms) kept them pampered, prim and proper from top to toe, the evening soirées comprising of laughter and libations at the officers club continued uninterrupted. Peace does indeed exact an inexorable toll!
And then out of blue, cruel kismet came calling. Her tone wasn’t kind though. Traffic snarls were pushing the ‘plebeian scum’ to the limits of their patience. The ‘Cantonment’ stood there with that smug smirk taunting them. And guess what that was the last straw that broke the camels back! The walls came crumbling down under the collective weight of the diminutive brown dimwit brutes. The rest as they say is history.
Btw, those within the forces who raise the specter of encores of the Pathankot and Sunjuwan attacks owing to this ‘reckless move’ must reflect on the fact that the Pathankot attack happed despite the fact that it wasn’t open to the civilian population and not because of it.
“Privilege is provisional. It can be denied, withheld, offered grudgingly, and summarily withdrawn.”
~ Margo Jefferson