I must admit, I am disturbed to such an extent that I have rarely been. I feel helpless, very helpless. This was a failure on our system’s part, a big one. To add insult to injury, there have been some irresponsible acts by the politicians, some terrible statements made by them and now the figure pointing has started among all the agencies/parties that matter. This has fuel to the fire of public ire and I share the same feelings. But, before I start blaming the politicians and officials for their lackluster attitude, corruption and failing in doing what they were supposed to be doing, let me ask myself a few questions.
Q: I live in a democracy which has the most basic building block called Vote. Every adult citizen of this country has not only a right but also duty (at least moral, I do not know what the constitution says) to vote. Your vote decides your government who is an administrator in this country in various forms. So have I ever contributed in selecting the administrator?
Explanation: I have reasons for my answer. I have stayed in 5 stayed (studying, training, working) ever since I was eligible to watch Basic Instinct. I had certain myths about voting which have now been cleared by www.jaagore.com. Still, even if I had managed to get my name in the voter’s list, I was not sure if I had stayed at that place during the next elections. Hence the answer is negative. But fact of the matter is that I have never even tried also. If a government has been good, I had no hand in selecting it. If the government is bad, I had no hand in not selecting it also. So why do I complain? What rights do I have to complain?
Q: If I am riding my bike and a traffic policeman catches me because I have broken a signal, entered into a no entry zone, parked it in no parking area or I am simply not carrying my papers with me and being told by the police man- either pay a penalty of INR 1000/- or give me INR 100/- and move on. Shall I be tempted to take up the economically profitable option?
Explanation: It will save me INR 900/-. Shall I not be further corrupting the already corrupted system? The police man would not be Sherlock Holms for sure and might well be less socially aware than me. So if I pay him a bribe and get away, this builds an expectation for him for a new source of earning. Now what is the guarantee that the expectations would stop only at breaking traffic rules. He can let someone get away who might have done a more sever crime. Just that he might pay him better in monetary terms. He could well be a terrorist smuggling explosive. One unfortunate incident and I will be shouting from the roof that it’s all because of moral degradation of the system which is stinking of corruption. But shall it not contain my contribution as well?
Q: I was thinking on the lines of leaving this country for greener pastures on the day one of the most esteemed nephews of Indian politics was arrested and due to chaos in the city on that day, I spent 3 hours looking for an auto rickshaw. “I cannot bear so much of hassles in my day to day life”. I was against the issues raised as I saw it as divisive for the nation. On the very day when NSG was doing its operation, there was an SMS floating around regarding how NSG contains north/south Indians and are saving Mumbai. Did I endorse that point of view?
Explanation: I did not endorse because I found it equally divisive. But the moment I heard few names in NSG who were from north India, a though did cross my mind. A thought that says – Aah, now they should see how a north Indian is ready to sacrifice his life for the nation and is not thinking if he is the “son of soil” or not. I was sitting in the comforts of my house, drinking tea and watching TV. A more challenging scenario physically or mentally would have added some flames to that very thought and I could well have reached the danger zone of thinking. In plane true facts, the thought should not have occurred for a moment.
Q: There have been several terror attacks during the year 2008 in India. There have been other violent issues as well. Did all of them disturb me to the same extent?
Explanation: I did feel sad, very sad when each of them occurred. But I was not disturbed to such an extent. It may be because this was a real brutal slap on our security. Trained terrorists attacking with most modern ammunition on the streets or holding onto buildings which might have devastating impacts on our economy which is already fearing a deep recession was the concern. Or there is a deeper view to it. This was the first time someone I know lost a friend, this was the first time someone I know survived by a matter of few minutes or this was the first time I could have been at the place of attack with only a 15 minutes walk. Also, this was the first time I saw everything live that is terrorists firing at people, people bleeding and dying, bombs blowing up a heritage building and the rest by media. Frankly, it doesn’t hurt you unless it hits you. Blasts in Assam get some space in news ticker where as blast in Jabalpur doesn’t even get a mention. Are they not my places? Should I not be worried to the same extent for these places also? Does it mean I lack patriotism? My heart says no but the logic deduced from the above written says a big bold YES.
Q: I believe politicians are corrupt not only in terms of monetary returns but in their principles also. If not all but at least most of them are. So have I done anything towards it? Have I even tried to get into their shoes and contributing my two cents to improve the system?
Explanation: I believe politics is like opting cricket as a career option in late 80s or entire 90s. Results could be substantial but there would be too much at stake. There are two ways of becoming a politician – getting it in heritage or the Gunda route. I was not fortunate enough to get it in heritage. Second one is more like a gang war – keep fighting it till you reach a respectable level and enter politics. We have so many examples of it. Hence I did not want to take it as a career option as who knows, I might well have been on police watch list if I had taken it. But if this is how we are going to get our politicians, we will keep getting what we are. But, not entire breed is black. There won’t be a completely white strip but there has to be a grey belt with loads of white in it else this country would not have survived. I don’t know what route these guys adopt but I didn’t even think about it.
Q: My typical crib is – Around 40% of my salary goes into taxes which is government’s income. Government’s most basic job is to provide infrastructure and maintain law & order so that common man feels secure. I do not get both. Let us assume a situation. I take a house on rent pay brokerage INR 20,000/-. As a responsible citizen, I must ask my broker to produce a receipt of the transaction which must get recorded else government loses out on the tax of broker’ss income. Broker says if you want a receipt you will have to pay service taxes of almost 12%. That means I shall have to pay INR 2,400/- extra. Shall I do so?
Explanation: What would I do with the receipt? Not taking it saves me money. But again, when I crib about businessmen evading taxes, am I not doing the same thing. Okay, they steal millions; I am stealing just a few hundreds. But a theft is a theft isn’t it?
These are some of the questions I posed to myself. To be fair, I failed on most fronts. May be you will pass all. But ask them to yourself. And answer them is most brutally honest manner.
Okay. It’s easy to preach. I am the part of this entire system, have not always been honest and it will continue. But I will be helping the system getting more rotten. And I will not be doing my duty for sure. I am undisciplined, dishonest and not patriotic enough. I hope you are not. But I need to change myself. Because, just having a look at the sequence of events in last few years especially the way social unrest has increased in the country and internal security has become so vulnerable, I fear we are headed for a disaster. It’s OUR generation which can prevent it. Next generation may not get a chance.
And, it has to start with ME and I hope the start doesn’t end with just writing blogs and forwarding emails.
PS: I do not have solution to most problems I see specially my helplessness. I do not know how to tone down my anger though I hope it never does. I just want to know how I can constructively utilize it for the things to improve. Please let me know. To those who regularly read my posts (mostly because I force them to do so) – this is an emotional outburst. If you share the same feelings and have some constructive suggestions, let us share. But I do not want any comments on the line of “well written/terriblepost/senti kyon ho gaya/ghabra mat, sab theek ho jayega” in any form.