Monday, August 22, 2011

The Indian dream - in 2D

As I reached an age where I got exposed to some well written articles, I started coming across the term ‘the Indian dream’. It was intriguing, because I never really thought it was possible for a billion people to have the same dream. But we once had: a dream to be a free country; or so they told us to believe. 64 years hence, do we still have a common dream? Is there a common thread that binds every one of us into one entity – Indian?
When I sat for my job interview, I was asked a simple question: ‘what are your short term and long term goals?’ In short they wanted to know what my dream is. The only dream I get often is where I save a damsel in distress. Another dream that teases me to reach the Meta state is when I stop a running train with just my index finger. Yes I dream of being a superhero a lot of times. We all want to be a superhero and what he stands for. We think ourselves as the purest part of the society surrounded by hooligans, questioning & comforting ourselves that we don’t deserve this situation. This dream, this vision is what we see in our movies as well: good fighting to win over the evil. Even when we make a movie about goondas & rowdies we try to justify their act of hooliganism, so that there is a good vs. evil fight at the end. We attach a purpose, a motive that makes a person right; no matter how bad an act he does, so that we can see us in him. When he eventually conquers his nemesis it’s our victory: a victory that we perceive will make everything right. On the contrary, when a movie doesn’t give a clear demarcation, it is termed as ‘loosely written’, ‘everything is left hanging’. This ability to see everything as B&W is the Indian dream I think: to plot everything in the 2D plane like the ‘good, bad’, ‘right wrong’ ‘for, against’, etc.

Take any issue of national importance; it has always been dealt with by the people in a ‘either this or that’ manner. You can either support someone or be against him. You can’t say something outside of the answer choices. I would call this impatience and a lack of perseverance. It took us 12 years of primary education to easily study a UG programme. Would we have been able to do it as a kid? When we all know there needs to be a lot of foundation & ground work required, why are we adamant in demanding results immediately? Some justify this impatience to the lack of development even after 64yrs of foundation. My question is; did we actually make a proper foundation? One government comes to make a scheme; the next government scraps it and makes a new one, which eventually gets scraped. Do we really have a defined path set for the future of our country? Instead of asking for a Shankar films like massive makeover in a matter of minutes, has anyone stopped and thought about a longer/permanent solution that will be able to adapt to the scenario of tomorrow? No, we are busy classifying the world as black and ourselves as white. But are we? A so called ‘farmer’ hates paying tax & so does everyone involved in the agricultural industry. They don’t even pay electricity bill. They say we are doing a service; why should we give our money to the government. If that is true, then why should the government relieve them of all their loans when there is drought? Go down south, to the interiors of Tamil nadu; Deer hunting is still practiced by the people there. Come to the cities; the working class goes all out to cut short a long procedure in any system. Even for rules related to safety issues, people pay bribe to avoid case being filed. From using helmets to emission control norms we don’t obey any rules. Little are we conscientious that a punishment is to make someone follow a rule. If, we don’t fear a punishment ourselves, how will a new legislation against corruption be enough to stop the corrupt? But we don’t care. We have made a great rule so we will remain complacent that everything will be fine here on. The great Indian dream fills our mind again. What does it take to make us push the envelope? What does it take to make us search for better avenues to curb such incidents? Didn’t we learn that prevention is better than cure? If we feel we are better educated than all the nethas put together, why are we following the same path as them to control injustice? Does a mother kill a child when it makes a mistake? By arresting someone for being corrupt is going to give you all the money that was swindled? Do you think 1.7 lakh crore money will come back to the government? Again we are making a precedent that we are interested in getting rid of the bad from our sight and nothing more than that.

I am not saying Lokpal is a bad law; I am not qualified enough to judge it. But my common sense tells me it is only going to satisfy the hunter in us – the Indian dream to win over the evil. We all know what happened to Sita after Rama killed Ravana. Lokpal may as well be the switch that cuts off the power to the corrupt; but little do we realise that the wire connecting the switch for empowering the citizen is obsolete. I want the wires to be laid first and then work on the switches, but the team Anna and the majority of people in metros want to take the opposite path. Either way, let there be light!

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