Wednesday, May 6, 2009
During the break in our infectious diseases lesson, me an my fellow group mates were discussing the current scenario in India. One of them said that there's no way he's going back, for he would rather settle back in some other country. A couple of my friends agreed and said India was beyond any hope. Now this got me into a defensive and a morally aggressive state, where though being a fierce critic of all that seems to be going haywire in our country, a little birdie called hope keeps floating into my conscience assuring me that all is not lost.
They argued that a mere 30% of the populace is well educated, while a significant remainder remain ignorant, poor and uneducated. So in return I asked, why cant the remainder 30% make a difference?
In return, they asked, really? Would you? Well subsequently, in due time you wont, because nobody cares, and nobody wants to care.
They further argued, saying that for instance, an average medical student spends close to 20 lakh rupees in his education. Mainly due to the monopoly of seats by the private medical collages and the current infamous reservation system.
And after spending literally a fortune on your education, will you really contribute your time and energy afterwards in social service and generous charitable acts for the poor and needy?
It seems it wont be practical nor fair to my own self.
And that seriously got me thinking.
What if that's true?
Certainly a fortune has been spent for our medical degrees. And it would indeed be seemingly irrational if we spent the remainder of our post graduate lives being generous and spend our time and energy to socially uplift the needy. It would end up has economic Hara Kiri.
So then where lies the answer?
Or perhaps there no answer at all?
I have always been irked by the western impression of India as a poor, downtrodden decrepit state. What irks me even more is when Indians don't try to correct that impression by any ways and means.
But with all the problems facing an average Indian, would it really be fair to ask them to forsake their lives so that their country can proser?
Would it be fair to ask, lets say an average middle class Indian to give up his lively hood and set him the task to reform the country.
Frankly I can agree that it is indeed too much to ask out of anyone, because they already have too much on their plate as it is.
Its very easy to say, lets reform the place, lets make a difference, lets set things right. They are encouraging and fill you with hope.
But the thing is, nobody comes ahead to make the first step.
Nobody wants to get their hands dirty.
Not my friends, and frankly, I don't know about myself either. Right now I'm full of enthusiasm. But who knows, maybe life might change me into a career driven guy with a 9-5 job, who has got his hands full.
Even if one wishes to begin the process of reformation, setting things right in India is a mammoth task.
The first question will be where do you begin?
What will you tackle?
Can one tackle the poverty, the illiteracy, the corruption, the ignorance, the religious fanaticism, the pollution, growing population, the snail paced judiciary, growing crime, healthcare deficit, lack of infrastructure, excessive commercialism, terrorism, casteism, or the gender inequality?
Seriously, one doesn't even know where to begin.
Just imagining the numerous hurdles makes ones head spin.
And its at this very point any average human is going to think.."are you kidding me? There's no way I'm going to fall in this mess. Such things are better left with the NGOs and the politicians".
Its true. Indians or not, we are human beings. And to quote Somerset Maugham, "human nature is weak, and one must not ask too much of it."
It has precious little to do with patriotism.
Sometimes I really don't envy the job the Indian Prime Minister has.
Just think of all the things he needs to tackle.
And the numerous hurdles that the so called head of state must encounter while actually trying to make an honest effort into doing something worthwhile.
While all our problems can be blamed on the politicians, frankly there isn't a soul who would take the reigns away from them and decide to make a difference.
So, going back to it all, nobody cares that the country is going down the mire in spite of the brilliant façade of the "booming economy, the 1 Lakh rupee car, launching satellites to the moon and the mushrooming of numerous supermarkets and multiplexes".
The booming economy doesn't explain the huge number of slum dwellers and beggars in every nook and corner of the street.
The Government has enough money to spend on launching lunar vehicles but has no resources to supply small towns and villages with electricity and decent roads.
And the supermarkets have only added to the woe of many small time retailers and green grocers who have lost their jobs to big commercial giants.
And you have the 1 lakh rupee car where you may drive it on already congested and narrow roads, so that the future generations may suffer from chronic carbon monoxide poisoning from being constantly exposed to the noxious fumes from the clogged roads.
Like I said, who cares? Why fall into all this mess in the first place when you can secure your job and future in another country?
I am not admonishing Indians for leaving India, or for not doing anything.
If you asked me what is to be done, I'd say I have no idea as well.
But at the same time every time I look at the picture before us it irks me to no end, thinking, is there really no hope, as my friends say?
News agencies report that there has been an increased voter turn out in India for the past few general elections.
So I presume that the only explanation for this must be that the Indian populace is really desperate for change.
Desperately hoping that someone comes along and makes a difference.
You can only imagine their ire when those they voted for do not deliver.
Its things like these that sometimes bring a nation to the precipice of a revolution.
When people are fed up to their teeth with the overall system and demand answers and seek change.
Like the Chinese cultural revolution, the Russian revolution of 1917 or the French revolution of the 18th century.
I don't know whether there can be a revolutionary storm in India. But if the people are pressed on this way, it might very well seem imminent.
Perhaps not now, but somewhere in the distant future.
Since for now no one cares, in the near future you might end up forced to care when rebels march to the steps of the parliament in order to overthrow a corrupt and incompetent government, plunging the nation into chaos and anarchy.
But till that time, all the majority can do is wait and watch.
Presuming that there is after all some hope yet.
And hoping that someone actually may care.
Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/guptasameer, http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija-flor, http://www.flickr.com/photos/vanessao, http://www.flickr.com/photos/mworrell