Thursday, March 3, 2011

INDIA - A Painful Transition

Many feel that our country is in the throes of a painful transition. Every nation, they say, in its ascent towards prosperity and supremacy, has had to tread this path. Such a supposition, however flawed, seems to be the only recourse of a beleaguered population sapped dry by a system that is getting more corrupt and more reckless by the day. I am one among the many who find some succor in clinging to that view, which is why I choose to look the other way whenever the morning paper reveals another scam of gargantuan proportions, although it makes me cringe in despair. It is undeniably very hard to endure, knowing that we have no option other than to stand and watch the termites eat through the woodwork, and drag the feet of a nation raring to surge forward, repeatedly backward.

I was overcome by such poignant feelings as I sat watching one of the many talk shows that have become the life-blood of news channels on TV. The speakers were familiar faces, stalwarts of social and political circles, riling each other with great skill as the choicest of clich├ęs were exchanged across the table. Corruption is the buzzword for this day and age in India, and the vehemence of each participant in such debates, in apportioning blame upon his or her opponent, and conjuring up their own ideas of honest governance, would almost make one feel that the solution to the country’s perennial problems of embezzlement of public funds has been found. Yet, at the end of the prescribed time limit, the host thanks all their participants for their valuable contributions in making for a healthy debate, and the channel is healthier by another TRP point or two. Apart from that, and except for the momentary fulfillment derived from the cogent arguments and a sadistic satiation of an inner angst provided by the snide remarks, the debates would have achieved nothing at all, as usual. We are back to the condition of squalor once again. The termites are oblivious of their detractors, and the leeches are as busy as ever, sucking the country dry, fattening themselves beyond sustenance (one would think). The laity, in the meanwhile, looks on, hoping against hope that something or someone would turn up eventually, and would deliver the land from the jaws of the greedy and the unscrupulous, and that finally the resources of the nation would be the preserve of the rightful owners. Every concerned and righteous individual would like to ascribe the degeneration and degradation of the current state of affairs to a chaotic metamorphosis of a country rising from the dust to claim its place under the sun. Every hopeful person would like to think in the same way, and endure this phase as just another nightmare in the lives of a billion people sweating away for the progress of the nation. Be that as it may, the fact remains that the country continues to bleed, and the likes of Kalmadi and Raja and many others show no signs of relenting. Lately, the horrifying spectre of corruption appears to have obtained the tacit sanction of the apex governing authorities, and it is now threatening to become a policy of state, albeit clandestinely.

Some may wonder thus: what if this is no mere transition? What if this epidemic continues to spread, and its tentacles grow ever longer? What if this menace engulfs the land, and drags the aspirations of a whole nation into its ugly vortex? It is for the people to recognize what constitutes a crisis in this respect. No individual, corporation or government is above the people, and History has proven this fact time and again. The common man has always been trampled for the success of the evil designs of every corrupt politician, bureaucrat and industrialist; and again and again, when the suppressed and tortured masses seemed to have been conquered for good, they have risen, and risen with a vengeance. No state, no individual, no army has been able to overcome the force of a people’s revolution, and none ever will. India is fast approaching the crossroads of its destiny, and its fate lies at the hands of its people. We can only hope that the powers-that-be realize that the laity cannot be burdened beyond a certain point, and that they realize it soon. Else, the lessons they have forgotten to learn, may be forced back upon them, in a way that may not be to their taste.

Trapped in The Web

With the turn of the century, I graduated from inland letter cards to email; from landlines to mobiles; and from social visits to socia...