Something to chew on while I gobble up microprocessors! Due apologies for my laziness!
O India! What ails you? Why should we, the people, be proud of you?
Should we feel proud of your long history of indolence? Proud that our beloved nation is riddled with a corrupt bureaucracy? Perhaps we ought to take pride in the criminal politics that all parties indulge in? Or maybe that none of our elected representatives can take the blame squarely on their shoulders? The Centre blames the States, the States reciprocate, the Opposition blames the Government, the Government blames previous Governments, the Ministers blame each other, demand each other’s resignation and ultimately the consensus is reached that somehow all the blame rests solely on terrorist groups and/or our friendly neighbours. WHY do we continue to look beyond our shores for our troubles, not realizing that the rot has set in right here in our land?
Terrorism in Kashmir could have been tackled a long time ago, IF our leaders were so inclined. But, if that had been accomplished, then they would have nothing to complain and whine about to the world. And THAT, would not be welcome, because ranting and raving is what they do best, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, our political parties persist in making mountains out of molehills. Their “mature discussions” embrace the ridiculous to the downright pathetic: whether any foreigner could be made a Prime Minister, differences about whether we need an extra railway zone or maybe even a new state on the lines of caste and religion, the “chottisi” problem that some actress is having…. The list could go on, all issues equally earth shattering.
But as anyone knows, all talk and no action could be misconstrued as laziness. Our leaders, maybe to just relieve boredom, embark on some cheap publicity stunts like holding a “Gaurav Yatra”, even though they have nothing to be proud of… and of course, who pays for all this extravagant shows of pomp?… We, the People.
As the case may be, when there is a gruesome incident in any part of the country, like the ones we have been witnessing this past year, the esteemed leaders of the country come to the spot, make some hullabaloo, do their bit of blame-shifting and wave, having done their part for the watching nation. Every such incident just turns into a free-for-all petty political squabble. And this happens, unfortunately, on National TV and newspapers. And you know who are left to lick our wounds?…. We, the people.
We all heard their condolences, their sympathies to the kin of those security guards, the heroes, who died saving the Parliament House on December 13? Their sacrifice was all but forgotten, while the USA is still mourning all the dead heroes of September 11…. Do we even remember seeing their names in the newspapers? The quotes by all the unworthy buffoons they saved, who scream, shout and throw tantrums in the hallowed Parliament was splashed in the lead pages, lending witness to their cowardice. What can we do about it?… We, the people.
Dacoits and Murderers run amok amongst us, and the defenders of the innocent are nowhere to be found. We are left to fend for ourselves. Meanwhile, the harbingers of this doom are involved in more important things, like filling their pockets, turning a blind eye on crime committed under their noses, allotting petrol bunks to “near and dear” ones, letting confessed criminals walk free… And ultimately who suffers?… We, the people.
Strikes (hartals, bandhs, or whatever they be called, as Shakespeare so rightly put it) massacres, collapses of the entire system (put in place, ironically, to prevent abuse of power) are all a part of daily life in modern India that everything has long ceased to surprise us. In fact, a day spent without any such farce of our dysfunctional democracy would be a bigger surprise. Battle hardened, weary and with the same tolerance that once characterised Mahatma Gandhi… We, the people.
Every election, we vote, and hope beyond hope, that this time around, things will change. Maybe, a miracle would happen and we would finally get a responsible government, not one torn apart by internal factions, not one liable to topple the moment some minor regional party leader panders to his or her whim and fancy. A government that is aware of what we need and acts according to our conscience, that will not dance attendance to some superpower and generally make a mockery of us in front of the world forum. Politicians who are at least half interested in “public service”, who can lead from the front and who could help in the betterment of India. Is this too much to ask for? Because, the miracle never happens.
Coming back to my second question… Why should we be proud of our country? Just these words… We, the people, make what India is at this juncture. The people with the courage to be better, who have prospered in spite, not because, of our leaders. The people who have raised the standard of living notches above what it was years ago. The people who know their rights and are prepared to fight for it, the people who have a voice of their own. The people whom our freedom fighters dreamt would make our country a better place to live in. The press, the judiciary, the NGOs, all the people who have made at least part of that dream true.
Ultimately, nothing is wrong with India that the mass exile of all our politicians couldn‘t cure! Jokes apart, our future is in our hands, because, as even our wayward leaders know, one day, they have to answer to us…. The citizens of India!
(10 September 2002, the Rajdhani Express had an accident at Gaya, Bihar. As usual, Our VIPs reached there in order to offer their condolences. Laloo asked Nitish Kumar to resign, the railway placed the blame on Naxalites, and Mamta had her say too…
A question I heard today: How can I be proud of my country? Sad, but true.)