I am a citizen of a great country, India. In fact I realized this fact even more acutely when I reached another great country United States of America. The one debate that you can definitely find in every Indian home here in US is the agonizing topic of “When will my country be like this?” When will the government of my country fight for the real citizens instead of spending their energy on building a temple? When will we stop electing convicted criminals to seats of Chief Minister? When will we have a system that will benefit the people instead of those in power? Above all, “When will the worthiness of a Indian life, especially poor, be realized?”
The state of affairs is sad for lack of a better word. I realized I wouldn’t be so aghast if I was living in Delhi or Madras. The reason is being my “indifferent” attitude towards my surroundings and the basic survival instinct, which has definitely subsided over the past three years. It is really very easy to be judgmental about the nature of our country and our very own people. It takes real courage to do something about it. I realized I might not feel so helpless if I do something in some small way to make a difference. Maybe that’s a donation to CRY or Kargil fund. Yes I am offended and go back to my “judgmental” mode when I hear news about some savages killing 600 people and the police supposedly watching or when Lallu sits through National Anthem or the VHP saying we don’t care about the Supreme Court. But faith and hope are two things that we Indians have always trusted in.
Somebody asked me the other day,’Do you think our country can survive 400 years like US?’. The only thought flashing in my mind was, I hope it survives my lifetime. We have nurtured the Kashmir issue for 50 years. We knew the militants were plotting against us in POK and Afghanistan for more than a decade. Still we decided to show our strength only recently. Is it because only now we realize that 50,000 Kashmiris are Indians too? Or is it because the Big Brothers can’t blame us this time around? Whatever the reason, the fact is our elected representatives have nurtured an issue unresolved for political gains.
Almost everyone agrees that Politicians have ruined our country. Aren’t they in real sense, our elected representatives? And who elects them? We do, which means, their mistakes are our responsibility. Somehow we tend to forget this fact and keep complaining about almost everything they do. Yes, we elected Lalloo and we elected Jayalalitha. Whatever they do we are responsible. To beat that, we re-elected them after all the complaints. Not surprisingly the voting percentage was only 38%. Where did the rest go? As true citizens they tuned to Star News for the results.
My friend said rationally that the parties had truckloads of people to vote in his name. In a billion people, sure, his vote is not going to change anything anyway. The trouble is, most of the educated class reason this way. I have to choose between an Extortionist and a convicted murderer. What do I have to gain by voting for either of them? Justifiably a valid question. But we can’t let our franchise be wasted for lack of better leaders. Maybe its time to rise to the occasion. Are you asking me to enter politics? Why not? If people who are educated cannot take the heat of illiterate politicians, they better not be complaining about them, governing. Unless we get into the pool with our leg’s wet and clean the stinking crap out of the system, there is no real way out. Let all the intelligentsia sitting anywhere in our country and World jump into the gutter, take on the mighty corrupt, gang oriented politicians in real democratic style brandishing media and awareness as major weapons and defeat them.
I can hear you all say ‘Yeah right!’ Certainly it sounds utopian. Maybe impractical but I am all ears for any other way to save our country. To me Active citizenship is the only way. Since we all agree that politicians are the root cause of most of the evil in our country, the logical conclusion is to generate good politicians who can be statesmen. You cannot fight it from outside. The only way for meaningful refinement in our system is by having enough committed true active citizens in politics and making it a decent alternative for anyone to be a part of that. As Swami Vivekanand once said “Give me 10 strong Men and I will change our country “, today, we probably need 10 Swami Vivekanand’s in our political system to save our country. Jaihind.
PS: Anyone who cannot do something for the refinement of our system should stop complaining about it too. It is time for our debate to focus on a new topic, ‘How to make our country as efficient as US in infrastructure?’
Written on Wednesday, 16 June 2004.