So, I was having a late night chat with one of my friends. And he sure was in a mood today! He had been to a government office this morning to enquire about his Voter ID Card. Having been snubbed twice, once in September(when the card was supposed to have been ready) and again in November(until when the card delivery was postponed), and then again in December(this morning when he was told to check again next month) Mr Shivam Sarawagi lost his cool. Now let's get one thing straight here. Shivam isn't someone who is angered easily. I mean, had it been me in his place, I'd have done what he did on my second visit to the office itself! Oh yes, Shivam is the epitome of a gentleman. However, he lost his cool. And he gave it to the government employee (the class of whom are strangely referred to as Public Servants!). And Shivam, my man, used foul language. Oh yeah, he really had it in for the fella! And legend has it that the officer actually had to give in writing the exact day that he would deliver the Voter ID Card.
However, I am not here to talk about inefficient and sub standard government employees/public servants, or gentlemen who lose their temper rarely and spectacularly. None of that. What I am here for, is to show to the best of my abilities, where India as a nation is failing.
As we all know the state of the nation is abominable at best. We are 1 billion strong. We have the world's largest supply of manpower. We have the brightest minds on the planet. We have the oldest culture. We have had a 10,000 year old library at Nalanda. We invented the Zero. Blah blah blah. Those are achievements that any country would be proud of. And now for the part that would make most readers squirm in their seats. We have had the most number of terror attacks in the past 35 years in any country in the world. We have had the most number of deaths resulting from religious riots than in any country in the world (There have been countless deaths during the Holocaust as well as the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and of the Tutsis in Zimbabwe so I guess we're better off than some other countries on this count at least!). We still have a large fraction of our population below the poverty line, illiterate, and helpless to the vagaries of nature. In spite of all this, we dare to say that India is shining?
Reality check, folks; India is not shining! India is far from shining, actually. We as a people are condition to love and/or to hate people of particular communities. Shivam said that those people hate India. And something inside of me made me ask him, "abe kisi ke liye bhi love ya hatred inborn hota hai kya?". The conversation that followed is pasted below. Straight off the chat window. Portions have been edited to maintain sanity, but the content is mostly intact.
Abhishek Joshi: "abe kisi ke liye bhi love ya hatred inborn hota hai kya?"
Abhishek Joshi: is anyone's genetic wiring such that they hate or love a specific country or person?
shivam sarawagi: inborn nhn hota
Abhishek Joshi: it is taught to them, isn't it?
Abhishek Joshi: taught by the illiterate society they live in..
Abhishek Joshi: taught by their selfish evil leaders
Abhishek Joshi: taught by their parents blinded by hatred...
Abhishek Joshi: is it not so?
Abhishek Joshi: we can't just think of destroying the symptom.
shivam sarawagi: haan
shivam sarawagi: we must kill the disease
Abhishek Joshi: as long as the disease remains, the symptom will keep on returning..
shivam sarawagi: hmm
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is not those ppl, but it is that those ppl are unaware and illiterate
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is the evil bastards who teach the poor folks hatred
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is the vote bank politics that goes on in our country each and every year that continues to divide the country in the name of religion and caste.
shivam sarawagi: iska kya illaz hai??? (What is the cure???)
Abhishek Joshi: you understand what i'm sayin now?
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: so the cure for this disease is education and nothing else.
Abhishek Joshi: education is not just math physics and chemistry..
Abhishek Joshi: learning subjects is just literacy..
Abhishek Joshi: education is when ppl are taught facts
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: education is when ppl are taught neutral versions of history
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: it is when they are taught to NOT hate any person or religion or caste
Abhishek Joshi: it is when they see that hatred and destruction NEVER brings any result
Abhishek Joshi: that is the cure
And that is all I said to him. I believe, or rather, I hope that he was converted by this tirade of mine! But I meant each and every word of what I said to him. I'm sick and tired of parties dividing the people into vote banks. I'm sick and tired of people looking at each other with doubt clouding their vision. I'm sick and tired of government after government serving term after term remaining unaccountable to the people who put them there in the first place. I am sick of people killing each other just because they aren't educated enough to not listen to what their religious leaders have to say. I'm sick of the governments not wanting to educate the people because they would then see through the facade that goes in the name of governance. I am sick of lame duck Prime Ministers and Presidents who "condemn these dastardly attacks on the strongest terms possible" and who say that "the terrorists have no religion nor any love for human life" and who sit twiddling their thumbs while the country burns bit by bit. I'm sick and tired of politicos who want Maharashtra for Marathis and who would rather spend precious public resources renaming a city from Bombay to Mumbai, from Madras to Chennai, from Calcutta to Kolkata, from Bangalore to Bengaluru rather than doing something productive for those cities.
I'm sick and tired of successive governments dragging their feet on issues like clean energy. I'm sick of governments who would rather have criminals occupying Parliamentary positions than have rivers cleaned up so that the people living on their banks would live in peace. I'm sick and tired of religious parties taking out dharnas and demonstrations on shitty issues rather than cleaning up our so-called "holy" rivers and "holy" cities. I'm sick and tired of people being fooled in the name of religion into doing stuff that they wouldn't dream of doing otherwise. It's time we got MAD. It's time we got MAD at those religious fanatics who are destroying our society in the name of Ram, Jesus, Allah (Any other name you want to fill in). And it's time that you got mad too.