The Curious Case of India - Shining or Burning?
I am an Indian. I wake up every morning with the smell of black coffee and French toast by my bed-side. The daily newspaper comes even before brushing my teeth in my priority list. I suit up and drive in a chauffeur driven car to my office which is in the 22nd floor of the tall and elegant building with shiny windows and 24x7 security. I use the lift, enter the office, into my air-conditioned room and order my secretary to come in. I look over my schedule for the day, arrange/cancel meetings with corporate slaves like me and then go onto thinking ways to make more money with few investments. I take a flight for a business meeting and am home with invitations to a high class business party. My wife gets into a designer outfit, complaining all along how she hasn't bought a dress this week. I ignore her gab as I’m busy working a deal over iPhone. We drive to the party, have the usual chit chat with colleagues about world and politics, enjoy a few drinks and return home. My children aren't home yet. I question. They had BB’d their mom. We go to bed.
I too am an Indian. I wake up every morning with the fragrance of incense sticks that creates a great morning ambiance I have breakfast with my wife and kids, drop them off to the bus stand in time for the school bus and then go to work. The metro rides are comfortable where I see individuals exactly like me only with different faces. Running to the building, I find the lift busy and have to use the stairs so that I’m not late for work and can avoid the boss’s fury. I reach my cubicle short of breath, have a glass of water and get started on my daily dose of drudgery. I am tired. I share cab with my friends and return home. My children welcome me with a smile. Ah, what relief. I freshen up. We all have dinner. I watch news while my wife makes the bed ready and the children are off to sleep. My wife and I discuss work – of office and home and soon doze off.
Well, I’m an Indian too. I neither have a permanent home nor a fixed job. I wake up every morning with no clue about what is going to happen today. I go out searching for work on foot for miles. Sometimes I get one of picking up rugs and at times of industrial laborer. I am paid on a daily basis. I eat something in the evening and save something for those at home. I roam around the streets in the evening searching for work yet again. Sometimes I am lucky but most time I’m not. I am home dripping wet with some food. I see the eager faces of my children light up with hope that they won’t have to sleep with an empty stomach today. We share the little we have and go to sleep.
My point here is not to criticize or sympathize with any of these Indians but to present a case of what our county has become. Inflation and unemployment continues and we blame the government for it. The 1st Indian isn't affected, the 2nd Indian is and the 3rd Indian doesn't even know what that means. The 1st Indian cares about the government only because he foresees benefit, the 2nd Indian cares but can’t act and the 3rd Indian will do anything to survive.
So, how good are we?
- We complain about a Rs. 5 hike in petrol but prefer to travel only in AC.
- We don’t have a penny to contribute to any NGO but the local puja committees get a handsome donation.
- We see news headlines of women being raped or burned alive and feel pity for them, but still want our sons to get a big fat dowry check.
- We sit at home criticizing the government but when it’s time to support someone who is doing your dirty work, we back off.
- We blame the economy for fewer jobs but still favor reservation.
- We accuse the politicians for ghotalas and scams but are willing to pay bribes for educating our children from a good institution.
My point is, somehow or the other all the Indians are being affected by the activities of Indians only. The recent Kingfisher debacle is evident of the fact that the rich people are vulnerable too; the Robert Vadra and Salman Khurshid case is a proof of the fact that the people of India are now more aware and responsive. The Khap Panchayat incident saw protests, debates and railies across the nation.
India is a democratic country and democracy is an absolute power. When it is up to us to choose the hands that will run the administrative wheel, why not choose smartly? When the Anna and Kejriwal movement saw an upsurge from the youth of the country, is voting righteously that big a deal? It is only when all the three Indians combine their thinking, power, commitment and courage; will we see a shining India.