We, The People

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.)

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26 thoughts on “We, The People

  1. Elke

    Nothing good ever happens because the focus are on the wrong things! No matter what, our eyes are fixed on the west, and our own developments are measured with respect to theirs, which is totally ridiculous!Even the bloody research environment in the country…the ppl are just focussing on outdoing the west and do they care?lol…the bigshots come for a cheap holiday and pat their shoulders for the totally modern, progressive &utterly useless thing they did for the country and emphasise that they see a bright future ahead(we still havent figured out that they r talking abt their own bank accounts)
    But there is one field where i wish that we’d ape the west..americans rather…JOURNALISM,so totally bold and independent! i am sure thazz where we r headed for…and that’ll take us a long way!
    hmmm….More than fifty years since independence …and we r still developing! Yeah, it’s not developing…but it’s crippled!I love the country nevertheless! lol! i cant help it!

  2. sandeep

    liked this one for the fact that u were not jus yapping..the positive tone is usually absent.. yeah things are starting to change.. somewhere down the line (might be far away) i see a much stronger(is that the word i’m lookin 4??) India.. n elke when u are not good at sumthin u compare urself with the best and learn..it’s jus doing our country good… i guess

  3. REVerenD

    A good piece it is. Dunno if u wrote this just for the heck of it or because you were really distraught. Dont you think instead of pointing fingers and playing the waiting game, it would be infinitely better if we just decided to do something about it? Its been too long we people have been laidback and waiting for others to do something and just condemn and castigate the country. Its about going out there and doing something. Maybe then INDIA will have something you could be proud of…

  4. REVerenD

    phew! spent the better part of the last hour going through your blogs… interesting most definitly it is. good work. keep going.. and good luck with your exams.

  5. Shrutz

    Footnote:
    This was written on the date specified in the last paragraph and yeah, reverend, I WAS distraught and mad and angry and pissed and….

  6. Vishnu

    A very thought-provoking article. The stuff below may sound cliched, but
    couldn’t help it.

    As some character said in some movie, “I do not believe that we are the
    greatest nation on earth, although we have the ability”. I also agree with what
    he said later, that it is We The People who make or break this nation. The
    governments and bereaucrats blame each other and “external forces”, but
    remember that We, The People do it all the time. As that someone again said,
    think of a day when you have not said that this nation is going to hell. If
    We, The People do not learn to stop complaining and move forward, conditions
    are not going to improve.

    Why don’t we realise that at the time of crisis, it is We, The People who have
    to help ourselves, and not some politician. Why don’t we realise that our
    fundamental rights come with fundamental duties? Why do we litter on the road
    and complain that everything is dirty? It seems that We, The People have
    accepted corruption and apathy as part of life. We are ready to pay for getting
    work done quickly and later curse the system for being corrupt. We, The People
    have created this “chalta hai” attitude and it is this attitude that is fuelling
    the vicious circle of corruption and irresponsibility.

    We, The People have to learn to help ourselves, and not cry for help. It is
    not just the government who should fight corruption, but the people of this
    nation as a whole. If a million people decide to go to work during a Hartal,
    who can stop them? It is time to go back to the basics of Ek-Anek. We, The
    People have to face the problem; after all it is our country. We should not
    treat “How can I be proud of my country?” as a rhetorical question.

  7. REVerenD

    Hmmm..vishnu, what do u think of the recent allegations of corruption during Mr. T M Jacob’s riegn? Am just back from a family friend’s house warming. The cost of construction of the house is a cool 110 lakhs. yeah, he is a contractor. Put 2 and 2 together and u can surmise where the money came from. Is there anything WE, the people can do about it?

  8. Vishnu

    REVerenD, I know that we cannnot do anything about some things right now, but at least we can try. If we do nothing but sit and stare, is anything going to happen? I am of course not saying that there will be a revolution, but I hope that there would be a small, but steady change for the better if we take up more responsibility, and some day it will be much better.

  9. >|' ; '|<

    I love my country and I am proud of it, irespective of all the negative aspects present in it. India may have its shortcomings. But it is not a one punch wonder cos you can never knock India out. It is a tenacious civilization which has survived for so long, and probably will continue to do so as a major power of the world in the future, unless the next wave of comets from heaven arrive, to wipe out all the life on earth and maybe kickstart the evolutionary process all over again.

  10. Vishnu

    jithu, I do not believe that I can singlehandedly wage a war against the system. That is certain death, and more importantly, foolishness. But I do not want to sit idly and stare at all these things, and would like to see things improved, and will work for it as much as possible without killing myself. For example, when I landed in TVM this December, the immigration guys wanted to get something out of me. I did not budge and finally they had to leave me. That took a lot of time, though. Similarly, one of my friends refused to pay to get a driver’s license. He had troubles, but finally he passed. As a single citizen, I can try to do similar things with the hope that there will be more people acting similarly.

    poison, I too love my country, and I want to be proud of it. I want to live in a better India. Of course, we are not a one-punch wonder. India has stood through many hardships and I do not believe that we are on the verge of collapse. However, there are things that still are very bad. I am not worried about comets from heaven; they are inevitable. But I am worried about comets from within like Ayodhya and Godhra. I am worried about our Population, about the killing fields of Kerala, about having to push money under the desk (which has now become over the desk) for the smallest of things. Some of these can be set right with a little thought from individuals. Some require more effort.

  11. just a jester

    i cannot agree with some parts of this article…..kasshmir terrorism problem could have been solved much earlier?…i would like to know how….you cant blame that on the ministers….its very easy to blame the “system” blame the “minister” or blame the “government”
    ….and the press, the judiciary and the NGO’s are making the india of ur dreams!!!!!!!!!!!!…..i assure you tht each one of these have also added to the mess…..
    see every country has its own problems …what we see on the outside is just made up….there is bribery and dacoity and all the bad things tht u can possibily think of.. everywhere

    when the britishers left india they left for us the greatest mess in history….the most complex country to rule on the face of the planet where we have upheld democracy to this day…no other country can exist with 16 languages…..our government with the help of the judiciary and the armed forces have helped us to reach so far…..sure there are corrupt forces and those forces have to be weeded out….but there are still lot of things to be proud of and future will bring more

  12. Jithu

    vishnu,
    well, i just wanted to comment on the “doing things single handedly” part of urs. many a times i felt that its this silence that had taken things too far.

    and the efforts put on drivers license and immigration things by u and ur friend are commendable.

    to guide u in that (i dont knw i’m tht matured :-)) there are different levels of waging a war. u knw there r simple things which make a difference.

    like not paying a rick guy more what is shown in the meter, a cop who keep u waiting even after u show him all the details of ur bike..

    ppl usually dont protest against bigger things saying that they cant do that themselves and also, dont protest against simple things sayin its not worthwhile to acknowledge it.

    well it ws nice to have a discussion. lets make a better kerala..

  13. Shrutz

    @elke So do I!
    But, I beg to disagree, our press is much more vocal than the American media (for example) is, it’s just the paparazzi that has to catch up!
    @sandeep occasionally, even I become serious!
    @vishnu Thanks for the reinforcement
    @poison the main problem with India is that we look at our glorious past and our promising future and never the present, which is where we HAVE to focus!
    @jithu and vishnu ..do continue this is FUN
    @jester Let’s not make excuses, shall we? We’re all proud to be Indians!

  14. Rahul

    India missed important windows to development because of the leadership’s insistence on taking the moral high ground. At first came Nehru’s flawed idea of Non-alignment. Then the ambivalence to a strong population policy and finally appeasement of all religions rather than separating the state from them all. A developed India can sustain only about 500 million people in the long run who very importantly identify themselves as Indians first. Besides, the equation with China has to be settled soon. Either accept the reality of its inevitable asian hegemony, or work with the USA to break it up. Crude suggestions, but what else?

  15. Elke

    @ sandeep: i am not talking abt constructive development. we have this whole craze for doing it better than the west! like for eg: the environment-controlled operation theatres and all the hi-fi glamour and glitz associated with medical research.dont u think the focus shud be on reaching the poorer masses and making it affordable for them, coz these operations can very well be conducted in normal theatres! that’s what i was referring to.

    @ srutz: the press has definitely improved in terms of boldness, i’d agree. but the things that the powerful want to keep under the wraps remain there! tehelka was a milestone. but i seriously feel that they could do better, the watchdogs of democracy! lol, we all know that they are all after putting up the best story!

  16. REVerenD

    Tehelka was a milestone, but look where it got Mr. Tarun Tejpal. the poor sod is too busy commuting from his press to jail n vice versa. Dont u think we the aam janatha can do something about that atleast? I mean, even if we dont have the balls to stand up and fight against them mandarins we can atleast rally behind the ones who do it right? And yeah, there is kalam’s 2020. did read the book..good vision, but at the way our country’s been progressing, maybe it should be recoined 2050

  17. UGH

    City girl thinks she have weight of country on her shoulders….hahaha. UGH just have to hold club!Why bother about distant jungle when there is good hunting grounds here

  18. Vishnu

    @jithu and vishnu ..do continue this is FUN
    Shruit, this is supposed to be serious!

    Rahul, no point in blaming the past. And of course, Nehru-bashing has become a fashion these days. And we can no longer think of 500 million. I don’t think we should work with the US (am I being a hypocrite?), almost all those who have are in pretty bad shape now.

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