Who is an idol?
If we look at the question the way a celebrity-obsessed, media-driven culture wants us to, its answer becomes simple: an idol is somebody we know ('we' here standing for the urban middle class which has set a certain standard for its idols, and those fitting in are duly worshipped at the altar of popular culture.) So we have numerous awards organised by newspapers, radio stations to TV channels, with their own annual list of 'idols'. Their claim to fame is a dogged devotion to a certain idea of India which, unfortunately, remains an idea patronised by a rich and magnificent minority within the nation. It is precisely in their worship that these idols gain legitimacy. Worse, it's transient.
So again, who exactly is an idol?
Well, there are many, to use an old clich, 'unsung heroes' out there away from the bright arc lights of obsessive public attention and drooling. They are people, who with their sheer courage, grit and compassion, make a difference to people and institutions around them. They are people who stand up for themselves and others even when there are no cameras around to watch them do it. They are people who don't wear make-up when they walk out of their homes, or need glycerin when they cry for others. ...more
04:00 PM, Dec 15, 2011