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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Sleeping Republic

Walking along the outer circle of the Connaught Place on the sixty third anniversary of the republic day, I could not help wonder why it still resembled the remnants of a bombed out place, despite the (in)famous common wealth games being over more than two years ago. While one appreciates that the rampant loot during the games ensured the failure of the attempts to revive the glory of the round market place named after the duke of Connaught, what one is unable to fathom is the inability of the city government to finish the job even after a lapse of over two years, despite repeated promises made by none other than the chief minister of Delhi.

With half hearted restoration efforts having been launched almost two years before the games began the time period that has since elapsed is exactly equal to what it took to build the market place from scratch during the period 1929 to 1933, almost eighty years ago. The Duke of Connaught would indeed be turning in his grave at the plight of the place named after him.

Eighty years of nothingness! And what a downfall and that is what saddens the heart of every nationalist who still walks on the soil of the nation that was once regarded as the richest in the world in terms of wealth, culture and civilization.

A nation brought to its knees by its very own government elected by its own constituents and what does it indicate? Perhaps our inability towards self rule, otherwise why should one witness, day in and day out rank incompetence in almost every sector of governance, irrespective of the party in power. The rampant loot that the politicos and bureaucrats indulged into during the commonwealth games, that otherwise should have been an occasion of national pride is ample evidence of our inability to govern our own nation. Beggars on the street, abject poverty, lack of basic infrastructure, rampant corruption and lack of value systems in the society at large are symptoms of a nation that is yet to arrive on the world scene.

That mere consumer goods and a glamorous parade on the Rajpath does not make a nation is what all of us have yet to learn to appreciate. We also have to realize that mere criticism would not take us forward and the only way ahead lies in all of us setting an example in delivery and value systems irrespective of the rot that one witnesses all around.

Long live the Republic!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A nation sans value systems

The sentencing of an ex chief minister who also heads an important political party of the country comes as a beacon of hope for all of us who had all along been silent witness to the escape of the powerful from the clutches of the law.  That the president of the national opposition party had to resign in the wake of income tax raids was literally the icing on the cake. Probity in public life appears to be conveniently missing cutting across the political and bureaucratic spectrum.

Yet the moot question remains, whether the powerful Haryana baron would also escape the noose as has been the case with all those who had been involved in the innumerable “G” series of scams that rocked this nation not too long ago? Is this verdict also going to be a shroud behind which the powerful guy that he is would make his silent escape? These and many other similar questions would be jostling the minds of many right minded citizens this wintery morning.

It is indeed strange that “Ceaser’s wife should be above suspicion” an ancient saying is not finding acceptance even amongst the doyens of the national party that claims to be different based on virtues that are generally not visible to the common man. The blatant exploits by its generals south of Vindhya and in the state of Uttarakhand, and the tacit acceptance of the same by its top leadership for a long time also strengthened the universal perception that no party is different and that almost all politicians with rare exceptions have their hand in the till.

The overall scenario remains grim. The issue of corruption continues to occupy center stage with new exploits finding their way in newspaper columns with amazing regularity. Incidents of moral depravity are also on the rise with the recent incident involving Nirbhaya shaming the entire nation.  Moreover on the economic front and the human development index, our rating as a nation continues to be low. Yet the nation continues to excel in the consumer goods scenario.

Can a nation sans value systems regard itself as developed? Perhaps there is a need for all of us to introspect and then do what we can to restore the glory and pride of our motherland!    

Friday, January 18, 2013

The trauma lingers on!

Merely having a department of administrative reforms does not really mean that the government is serious about reforming the administrative machinery for governing the nation. Similarly mere statements, howsoever sombre they appear have no relationship whatsoever with the true intentions of the political or bureaucratic class of our nation. 

Sham is the word, a nation of shams and pretenses. 

I was recently saddened on learning about the summary transfer of an officer because he refused to carry out the illegal verbal orders of a powerful resident of the second floor. The initial shock was followed by a sense of apathy for the organization and its senior blokes who shy away from taking a stand even on the side of righteousness. What is the fun in being categorized as a senior bloke if one cannot stand up for his own subordinates in front of the powers that really matter? The pain intensifies when  these very spineless blokes ridicule and ride rough shod over their own team members for flimsy reasons.

In recent times, the nation also witnessed fiery debates in the aftermath of the "Nirbhaya" rape incident. Shameful it was to witness the educated class debating on the merits and demerits of capital punishment and whether the juvenile who by his actions defiled and almost murdered the girl deserves leniency just because he has not turned eighteen. I wonder whether the people who advocated leniency for the juvenile delinquent and also those who expressed their rabid distaste for capital punishment would have given the same opinion if their sister or daughter had undergone trauma similar to Nirbhaya. Hypocrites, a nation full of them!

Perhaps it all boils down to lack of integrity and genuineness cutting across the national fabric, a nation marching to its doom. But where did we go wrong? Perhaps during our tryst with destiny in 1947, we were like a small child whose parents have declared absolute democracy and total equality to all the constituents of the family, irrespective of their maturity levels. The child would go astray and so have we as a nation. Yet, redemption is possible but only at the hands of a true leader who has the gumption to take the nation forward, not merely his own family and supplicants. 

Being hindu, in god and destiny we trust.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Nation Twiddling its Thumbs!

India is a nation of bullies; you find them almost everywhere, inside stately offices and inside lowly offices, on footpaths, in shopping malls, on the roads, inside cars and inside buses with tainted glasses. Rooftop proclamations say that unless you bully, you have perhaps not arrived.

A nation of bullies would therefore obviously not wince at being bullied and that is what all of us shamelessly witnessed when our puny yet notorious neighbor recently barged in, desecrated our land and two of its soldiers and then walked out with impunity, with this mighty nation left twiddling its thumb. What is the point in being an atomic and space power and also claiming to be an economic powerhouse in the face of our inability to protect or redeem the honor of the saviors, the armed forces of the nation.

A nation where the head of the government can be murdered in broad daylight and yet it takes decades to bring the killers to gallows, a nation where the desecrators of its parliament are awaiting punishment even after almost a decade and a nation steeped in corruption, indiscipline and low productivity is perhaps capable of only twiddling its thumbs, not taking decisive actions.

Perhaps if the nation valued its honor, we would have laid two thousand of theirs for two of ours and also would not have allowed the desecrators of the parliament and womanhood to go unpunished for ages. The impotence of the state in acting decisively even on issues that threaten the state itself is plainly inacceptable for a society that regards itself as developed. Vulgar crimes against humanity that we sadly witness with amazing regularity can only be tackled with a resolute will and an iron hand. 

Gandhiji had once said that silent acceptance of injustice is as big a crime as being unjust. It appears that he had the present day Hindustan in mind when he said it. A nation drifting away on the sands of time and a national fabric devoid of value systems is perhaps not the best scenario for a nation to find itself in.

Too many wake up calls, yet we pretend to be fast asleep!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The turning point!

Today, the 1st of January 2013 marks the beginning of a new year. The previous year 2012 was shadowed by horrific incidents of corruption and moral degradation, yet ended with a ray of hope when for the first time in the history of the nation, the common man came out on the on the streets on his own to say, this far and no further. Gandhi had initially shown the way and then for many decades the nation slept. The recent movement that started with Anna and picked up steam with Nirbhay has triggered the collective conscience of the nation and the day is not far off when continued inept and corrupt governance may lead to a “Tehrir” or a “Tianamen”.  It is indeed gratifying that the people of our nation with a long history of tolerance have finally found the courage and the conviction to show their displeasure with the system albeit in a peaceful manner. This has been the one single development that overshadows all negatives and instils hope in a hitherto hopeless environment.It also perhaps marks the turning point for this sleeping giant of a nation.

The lows of 2012, we pray are succeeded by the highs of 2013. May the nation emerge from the ashes and once again regain the high moral ground it occupied in ancient times.

Character, not mere proclamations and intentions, is the true building block of a nation. However what we have been witnessing in recent years is the absence of it in the national fabric. The so called leaders of the nation being literally caught with their pants down or hands in the till, has so far not been a scenario that inspires hope. And therefore expecting a constable to walk the high moral ground is indeed laughable. Matters relating to internal security, crime and law and order are indeed intertwined with national character, and that is what we have to strive to build.

Nirbhay has indeed given this nation a national resolve, that of standing up whenever we find a lady in distress. Yet we would never stand up for a lady on the street, if we are unable to prevent incidences of sexual harassment in our own organizations. Yes, railways with all its apparent servility is a glaring example of this disease that is prevalent cutting across divisions and departments.

Our true homage to Nirbhay would be to take proactive steps to clamp down on sexual harassment in our work areas. And I hope we shall.

With hope we live! Insha Allah.