Sunday, 13 February 2011
An ordinary Indian's woe!!!!
I was just glancing through the Sunday Times Op Ed page and I came across two very different articles... one by Swapan Dasgupta on how the brave, tech savvy, Gen X of Egypt brought down an autocratic 30 year rule, below it was another article by Chetan Bhagat 'An open letter to Soniaji'... this one was about the unbearable corruption that the Indian democracy has given birth to...
Now the two articles are quite a contradiction at the first glance... the Egypt article shows how people faced innumerable difficulties trying to bring in a democratic system into a country ruled under US whims and the other reflects how a mature democracy and the largest one at that falters under it's own weight... though they seem to be contradicting each other, there is indeed a great connection underlining the two...
Imagine the India 64 years ago... newly independent, brimming with hope and giving rise to a popular democracy with noble ideas... the first article would have fit to the T.... now imagine Egypt 64 years later... the revolution having succeeded has now given rise to a vast democratic system, freedom of expression and association are abound.. and a system filled with corruption... the second article would have fitted perfectly.
Well of course it might not be true, Egypt probably wouldn't succumb to the pressures Indian democracy have been subjected to, it could well be prove to be a more mature democracy that deals with corruption and inefficiency with an iron fist, where babus and corporate czars and politicians and powerful journalists are treated alike with the "aam aaadmi" and where newspapers everyday do not have pages filled with reports of scams, scandals, kickbacks and illegal accounts in Switzerland... yes Egypt's democracy could be all that... and I pray to God that their democracy doesn't become a mockery like ours.
Isn't frustrating, we see (as we've been seeing) other countrymen fighting police lathis and camel soldiers, to get democracy and we, after having all the freedom and the democratic set up that others are fighting for, misusing them so blatantly?
Where did we go wrong?
We, Indians, are a comparatively much more literate people, quite intelligent, tech savvy, having a pretty good idea of what constitutes right and wrong, we even have electronic voting mechanisms ( even US relies on ballot paper) that ensures our precious votes aren't tampered with, we have GDP figures that makes many a country blush and a lot more freedom of expression, association etc.... we are also extremely patriotic (bordering on jingoism) when it comes to international events of any kind and when other nations point out our flaws and so and so forth... so why are we so corrupt, why has "our democracy" given birth to such immense levels of corruption, why does everyone in power from government, to the armed forces, to the corporates and even the judiciary steeped in corruption????
A recent study by the Times of India and Synovate Research points out that the levels of corruption have breached our tolerance levels... India mind you has a history of scams, scandals and kickbacks right from the "Nehruvian" era... but suddenly this has become all pervasive. Earlier politicians were synonymous with the "C" word, now suddenly everyone from every field is out in the light having stashed away crores of rupees for personal use.
Well the answer is perhaps not very difficult to find, it is "we" the people who have given rise to a system that helps breed in corruption, no I m not saying all of us directly give or take bribes on every occasion, but it's our nature of getting our work done 'jaise bhi', our attitude of throwing around influential names, our showing off when we get those VIP seats without payment, our inbred idea that a Police in uniform can "always be bought"... these are the very things that breeds in corruption. If we want to save ourselves, leave alone the nation, then we have to bring changes in these minor attitudes of ours otherwise we plainly cannot survive.
We'll become one of those nation which thrives on US backed Aid (we have an example in our neighborhood), yes Chetan Bhagat is quite correct when he says that corruption is worse than terrorism as terrorism can be fought with planned strategies but corruption can only be overcome through individual will and character.
Long live the Egyptian Revolution... only wish Indians would enumerate it!!!!