Tuesday, October 5, 2010

VVS CWG - Really? Lets Do Some Diggin'!

They say its who we are that shapes where we are as a people. That every time we take decisions as a population, we determine the depth of the ditch or the height of the mountain we land ourselves at. I'm saying - wait a minute. Aren't we jumping the gun here, just a wee little bit?

Take the Commonwealth Games, for example. One moment we totally despise the idea of CWG 2010 happening in India, what with all the 'corruption, bad organisation, terrorist threats, potential to damage the country's reputation' baggage that it comes with - the country held the CWG as an embarrassment. So much so that CWG became a 'Trending Topic' on Twitter, Facebook, Google and myriad other popular formats of self-expression on public fora, only because there were those many people abusing the organizers. The very next - we were witness to a magnanimous Aerostat rise over a mammoth JNL Stadium, and suddenly Twitterati was totally tranformed in their opinion. CWG 2010 was still a trending topic, but because everybody wanted to 'right' their wrongs. CWG 2010 suddenly inspired  'National Pride', whatever that is.

VVS Laxman - I think he will call his autobiography 'Wagging With the Tail'. If you're a cricket fan, I'm sure you get my drift. The old warhorse has seen and heard the worst there is to hear about his cricket - he's been in the bad books of people more times than the number of legs on a millipede. But a match-winning, nail-biting innings later - suddenly everybody thinks he is 'Very Very Special'! Bollocks! Wait for the next time he scores a duck, and THEN let me know what you think.

What I'm driving at is, if there's one word to describe us as a nation - it ought to be 'FICKLE'. Unfortunately, fickle doesn't work in politics. If you thought Kalmadi was a great guy because he distributed food for free to the poor in your locality prior to elections, think again! If you thought your local MP would be the guy that would make a difference because of the one time he eloquently waxed on in your neighborhood, look around you - think again. The fact of the matter is, we as a people are so fickle, that we have no real clue of who it really is that we're voting for. Do a survey, and I'm confident 95% or more of the voting populace knows nothing about the manifesto or working principles of the party they voted for.

Oh, don't look outside for a solution; don't find a person to point the finger at. Kalmadi is your fault, he is my fault. It isn't really that unnatural to him to be corrupt. Its just our problem that we didn't do our research on him when it counted. That we never really knew the guy we pushed that button for. That all that waiting in queue for the blue mark on your finger - it was all one big waste. All you did was be a part of a huge, orchestrated national crime. And well, you've dug your grave deep enough right about now - INR 70,000 crore deep.

Its time we forced our politicians to come clean - to show us real change - to go farther than a 'Blueprint for Change'. Lets see some effective ground level work. Lets see some political accountability. Lets see some transparent feedback mechanisms in place. Lets see the public get informed first, and make a sensible decision based on fact, not fantasy. Lets see a government own up to its inadequacies, and look to the public for solutions. Lets see an 'informed democracy'.

And no, it does NOT start with the politicians - it starts with you and me. Lets ask some tough questions. Lets force the media to emulate what we do. Lets force the government to do what it was elected to do - or step aside to let more competent people do the work. And God only knows what a billion people, intent on an objective can do then. The Americas of the world can say goodbye to stardom, and hello to mutual respect then.

Lets make India a better place! Change, like charity, begins at home. Yours, Mine!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Against the Tide of a Billion Souls

Its been a while now. These questions have been plaguing me for quite some time, but I sense no answers at the horizon. I mean, are we that deluded as a people?

Such simpletons, that our governments have just had to pull rabbits like religion, corruption, petty politics, Pakistan and 'India Shining' campaigns out of their hats to ensure that we never got to see the real issues? Such ill-informed ignoramuses, that we haven't been able to identify a single powerful path-breaking leader since the days of Gandhi? Such religious chauvinists, that Ayodhya clouded our thinking about our next-door neighbors for two decades on end? Such attention-seeking clods, that we preach Hindutva one day, Secularism the next? Such unfeeling bastards, because of whom the people of Kashmir have taken blow after blow and withered away for decades? Such gutless chin-wags, that its the Kalmadis and Modis that capture our national interest and rake in the moolah for the tabloids and 'news'papers, rather than Education, Healthcare, Poverty, Crime, Technology - the Real Issues.

A 15 year old would tell you that India's need of the hour is change - strong-willed, motivated change propagated by the youth. And while I'm glad that we've had the good sense to blab on and on about this at conference after conference, it saddens me to see that we still haven't had success in the real political arena. Its still only a handful of the youth that make it to the Lok Sabha; only a handful that make it through Civil Services; only those many effective law enforcers. India's youth, for all its wagging tongues, is still one massive dormant force.

Believe me, my dream is to see a group of like-minded people, with the right blend of youth and wily old-timers, orators and enforcers, visionaries and volunteers, optimists and pragmatists, Khans and Iyers give the sham that is the BJP and the Congress - our 'Nationalist' parties, a much needed sprint for their money. Let this country be run as it ought to - of, for and by the people - for once. Let it be seen that putting the country before self isn't all that today's politicos make it out to be. Let the power of Two Billion Hands shake the globe. Let the Americas stand up, take notice, and show some respect.

Let us inspire change. To that stage, let us pledge to take Mother India. And let this start with you - now, today. Let it not take an Indian Kennedy to tell you 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.'