In 2011, the world experienced a level of popular protest and civic unrest not seen since the velvet revolutions that peacefully dismantled the Communist imperium. The democratic domino pushed over in Tunisia has so far clattered across Egypt, Libya, and into Syria and Bahrain. Stealthy rustlings may be heard behind Burma’s bamboo curtain. Tech, grunge, anarchist and carny met in Zuccotti Park and occupied Wall Street. Furious anti-government crowds gathered in Athens’s Syntagma Square. Young idealistic Israelis camped out in Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard in the name of social justice. Covetous Londoners ransacked their city in the dog days of August, in the name of premium denim goods. The anti-Putin protesters in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square were orderly. Residents of the Chinese fishing village, Wukan, were stoic. In every iteration, in every corner of the globe, it has been a year of citizen ire at the status quo—and very usually, at the people in power.
A glacier of anger is melting, people say, and the consequences are seeping into the street. The Indian streets are, on first gloss, no exception.