Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Who Cares?


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 fa├žade 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

29 comments:

Choco said...

I have seen doctors during my visit to Kerala that treat people for free on weekends. Also certain doctors who have decided they have enough money are known to charge as less as Rs50 for the first visit. Subsequent visits if within a week or to show reports are free at all hospitals & clinics! This in comparision to Kolkata were the avg rate is RS300 to RS500 per visit. Even if simply to show the blood test he had ordered the 1st time round. I couldn't believe my ears when I took my mum see a doc in Kerala!

So my thought is that no one can expect a new doctor to overlook his expenses & his family and do charity. But once they are established in the field some 15 to 20 years down the line they can surely think along those lines. Can't they?

Shadowthorne said...

I have a few friends who now stay overseas, saying they prefer the greener pastures there...

Well, Vyazz, it is all about the money. Humans nowadays are more selfish and I don't blame them. Everybody seeks a better life.

But the dilemma.... I am a kind of patriotic person. I do love my country, though of course we might hate the government and maybe even the way people think. But as you said, the minority COULD help change the fate of the disadvantaged.

Teachers do this all the time, and our battle has always been uphill (refer to your own and mine entries).

Anyway, it is up to you. :) Do you want to care? (or not)

brocasarea said...

i agree man...no bodycares...we are so selfish when its abt life!!...

p.s-for my med education i have spent not less one lakh...yeah ths true!!...:)

Kaddu said...

Reminds me of my old post "I Hate News!"...

Government isn't entirely to blame really - most of us don't even exercise our voting rights! Our poor don't want to change really, or else u wouldn't see them still practising favoritism towards male child!

I offered my maid several times to teach her elder daughter to sew & embroider etc, so she cud become self-sufficient! No use! She married her off at the age of 14, & the girl already has a 2 yr old baby now!

The "iron-waala" outside my building - he has 3 girls & 1 boy (youngest of the lot)... & his wife looks at me like something is wrong with me that I'm not getting married & producing an army of babies!

NGOs & other social organizations spend so much money teaching them abt birth control & its economic advantages, but they dont want to learn! You can't chng a country if its ppl dont want to change! They r used to their poverty & misery -- it's home territory for them! If u tk tht away from them, they'll feel completely lost!

Kaddu said...

Oh and I forgot to mention the way ppl still remain divided on the basis of caste, religion, & even state now (thanks to MNS!). They still continue to think of themselves as SCs, Muslims, & "South Indians"! Where are the "Indians" really? I don't see any!

Vyazz said...

@Choco: Yup...there are good docs and bad docs, but what made them good or bad is beyond me!!
Yeah its true, if u do get settled with a decent sum in like 10-20 years, you may go about doin good. But frankly its not something we see very often.
Hope perhaps we as the next generation actually do end up making a difference!!..

Vyazz said...

@Shadowthrone: Yeah, people do get selfish in the end. But I guess you cant entirely blame them. They have their own family to take care of. Frankly I do want to care.....but I cannot vouch for the future....like I said, there's no telling what circumstance may turn us into!!..Its indeed an uphill battle.

Vyazz said...

@brocasarea: Its more of a want to settle your own life before you settle the lives of a dozen others!!...So I dunno whether it can be termed selfish or not.
And its really great that your education has been reasonably cheap. But for a great deal of my friends both here and in India (India's worse...read donation), It hasn't been that way.
So therefore, like I said, will someone who spent a fortune making his/her career, choose to spend their time helping the less fortunate?
Its really a matter to think about!!

Vyazz said...

@Kaddu: Yeah...I know that the poor are unwilling to budge from their misery. But that's largely on account of their ignorance and poverty. I agree our country is way too divided, an the unity in diversity logo is something that seems to be falling apart.
All in all, I just keep hoping though, that one day our countrymen can see sense....seriously no clue so as to how to wean them off their misery!!!

rads said...

I think India needs a leader like Obama who will fight for an average man's survival in his country. I heard that he's denying helping organizations who are hiring foreigners and outsourcing work to foreign countries who'll work more for less pay (India stands at #1 among them). Also if a company has to layoff someone between a foreigner and an American, a foreigner is to be the first one to go. Well well well, now isn't that some real leader we have there. And Indians on the other hand prefer coming to US or any other country coz we have no other choice, for so much money we spend on our education, India doesn't have a single job that'll pay as much in return, and the govt. jobs which don't pay much are reserved for backward people. So where else are ppl like us supposed to go, obviously places like US attract us coz who wouldn't want a good pay n life. I'm ready to change my country but where is the opportunity, nothing can be done free, not even serving the poor, some cash is needed for that too. But who will provide that cash? No one, coz our leaders are busy hoarding up all the resources and money. So as long as this is the state no one can anything about it.

Vyazz said...

@Rads: Theres a great deal of truth in what you stated. American leaders actually do end up focussing on the welfare and job security of their citizens rather than giving preference to foreigners. I doubt there is any wrongdoing in that.
Its just too bad that the so called leaders don't think of it that way!!
An average Indian pretty much has to fend for himself, when it comes to education or for that matter jobs.
All in all like I said asking the same Indian to make sacrifices for his society might actually be too much to ask for!

ramya said...

If your friends think that the change HAS to come in India, but are not ready to do anything...then they are among the majority 30% educated people who are IGNORANT.
If you need education, you need to spend money. Everyone, all around the world does that. Money that a medical student and engineering student spends is same. So, spending money for education cannot be the excuse for not doing anything for our country.
People are waiting for a change. But, no one is ready to take an initiative.
For example, may educated people say that roads in India are unclean and the roads in foreign are clean. But, they dont realize that they are the ones who are throwing things on the roads and are making it a trash can.
Coming to incompetent politicians. I personally believe it is people who choose them, so we cant blame the politicians alone! You need to vote for educated people.
I was very impressed with the UPA government for the Nuclear Deal and for the way they tried to tackle Recession.

ramya said...

By the way, that kiddo with the dog is really cute. the pic is really cute. I suspect that the dog is a Labrador. So very cute :-)

Kadambari said...

I think there's no point playing the blame game here 'coz it is actually us, the individuals, who are very self centered. Our mentality is limited to our progress, development, growth, whatever. Like you have mentioned in your earlier posts, Indians don't stand for their own country and people. Then what will bring about the change?!

For an average middle class person, if they get to study in a good institute and get a good job, their work is done! The same way, for a family in slum, if they get to eat two meals a day, they retire for the night, with content. Only when we think big and focus on unified progress, will there be an effect! Otherwise, the gap between the economic status would just keep widening.

brocasarea said...

thts so true..one of my friends had to pay 20lakhs for a ug med seat here....!!...

Vyazz said...

@Ramya: Well, technically the main reason many who spend cart loads of money on their education don't feel the necessity to contribute to society is perhaps because they feel cheated. Not everyone spends so much on education, truth be told. Mainly due to the lack of seats and the reservation policies, many end up paying lump sums for a decent education. Its true that we are indeed responsible for our own miseries. But the thing is, like I said, no ones ready to take the first step towards reformation.

On another note...yeah the kid with the dog is kinda cute, got the pic from flickr. Dunno whether the dog is a Labrador though!!... :)

Vyazz said...

@Kadambari: Yeah...there's a great deal of truth in what you have stated. Once people achieve their career goals, they seldom look back at society.
The thing is, Indians have developed a sense of satiety with what ever they get. So much so that there is no willingness to fight for your rights. It has become more of a passive attitude to all that's going wrong.
I seriously haven't a clue so as to what will it take to knock sense into them!!

Vyazz said...

@Brocasarea: Yup....some ppl. do end up shelling out big bucks for their education. What to do??...Such is Life!!

rads said...

Hi Vyazz, just dropped in to inform that you have been awarded a blogger friendship award, chk: http://rads-blogazine.blogspot.com/2009/05/blogger-friendship-award-2009.html
Hope you'll carry this forward.

brocasarea said...

u have been tagged by me...check it out:)

varunshridhar said...

Good to see a mate sharing similar thoughts towards the country living elsewhere!
Economics would definitely suffer with the ever growing population. Like I had written in one of my posts, not all can rise to owning big franchises!
A lot has been invested in our degrees. We do have responsibilities but walking away from the country isn't a solution.

you're talking about the 30% educated, couple of things here. First, we guys outside are a part of that too. So if we don't return, that index is likely to crash like the global markets now. So, I'd decided long back that once I take back what's been invested in my studies, I'm back in my India and in my hood that Madras is!
Second, 30% of us are educated.Sure. but I'm very sure there is a 31% of that uneducated population who're better off when it comes to practical application of what we have learnt. I'd quote a fellow blogger's post here:

http://kaddu.blogspot.com/2009/04/bangalore-day-1.html

notice the auto driver's practical sense there in that post.

Its the way we look at things man! and most of the expats look down on the country! Bloody hell.

Vyazz said...

@Rads...hey..thnx...appreciate it!!!...will mention it in my next post....comin soon!!!.. :)

Vyazz said...

@Varun: I'll be leaving Petersburg for good after I graduate. Newayz...totally agree with what you have stated. But the thing is, many of the so called educated Indians who leave abroad, prefer to settle there, rather than coming back to India. I even read this newspaper article where how a couple of NRIs who decided to return to India, couldn't stay for long since they couldn't get used to the work ethics, and the Indian atmosphere (pollution, servant dependency etc.)
Its fairly difficult to convince people to come forward and help society in whatever way they can. Its something that only an individual can realise on his own.

Vyazz said...

@Bocasarea: Hmmm....I have been tagged before by another friend (whos kinda ticked off that I did'nt respond to it) Guess I will have to respond this time......coming soon... :)

varunshridhar said...

@Vyazz: true, once we learn doing things ourselves, it does feel awkward when we have maids doing things for us. But if we consider the fact that we are supporting a tiny fraction of the massive population, I think that pleasure could override the awkwardness!

good that you're leaving Russia after u graduate. So India again, hopefully? and you're from Madras eh? please do give us a link to ur twitter page so we could follow you there.

Cheers mate

Vyazz said...

@Varun: Yup!! I hope to do my PG in India (which is hideously difficult to get).
And frankly, though I'm Tamil, I have spent all my life in Maharashtra..in a li'l town called Aurangabad.
I have a twitter account...but frankly quite ignorant so as to how to use it!!!..(none of my friends are there!!!).. :(

varunshridhar said...

@Vyazz: good to hear about your plans of a return! and yes, I have lived in Maharashtra too, but in Bombay! :) anyways, I'd suggest you revive ur twitter account as it helps widen the reach of ur blogs. Plus, we could carry out discussions there rather than here in the comments which is not really neat. added point is that you get to communicate with important people and get to know what they're up to! that might be good in a certain way. Anyways, if you do get back on twitter, you can trace me from my blog page.

Anjana R said...

India, when it comes to many issues, is a whole different ball game altogether because of a lot of reasons.

Vyazz said...

@Anjana: Thnx 4 dropping by...and yeah...I guess India is a trifle too complex to be figured out by one individual!!