India was regarded as a sacred country from times immemorial. There was a time when India was so popular for its culture, customs, traditions, good-hearted people, forgiveness, etc. But alas! Now, India is witnessing a sea change for the worse – be it in culture, traditions, people, or health. India is imitating other countries and seems to have lost its identity, while other countries are lapping up all the good things that India has to offer them! Moreover, India is becoming notorious for all the wrong reasons, such as scams, corruption, bad politicians, delayed injustice, red-tapism, communal clashes, etc. Where is India heading now? Is the country moving in the right direction? Or has it swerved and swayed, and going astray?
With the profound influence of the West over India, our country is no more the same! With the tremendous growth of the BPO industry and call centers, people have started working in night shifts, spoiling their health in the long-run. For a few thousands of rupees more, people today are willing to work in night shifts, not understanding that they are trading-off their health for money, thus nullifying the once popular adage – “health is wealth.” India is already the ‘Diabetes Capital of the world,’ and with changing lifestyles, a lot of lifestyle diseases are also following us. How unfortunate it is that people spend the first half of their lives in earning wealth by ignoring their health, while they keep worrying about restoring their health in the second half with the money earned in the first half! In this way, they neither live the first half fully nor live the second half happily, and before they realize, the life in this world is over, making us wonder how short it is! Earning more money is always good, but not at the cost of your health. The few thousands that are earned are lost in medical care, making the net result negative. In fact, call centers have proved to be a double whammy, as you not only lose your wealth in medicare expenses but also lose your precious good health.
Moreover, as BPO industry is thriving, Indian culture is degrading commensurately, and sometimes, by leaps and bounds. Women wear skimpy dresses that seduce the libido of some men whose testosterone levels are already high and hardly needs any stimulation. There have been numerous instances of women employees in BPO being sexually assaulted, abused, and killed. But, it seems, the lessons have not been learnt well!
India is aping the Western culture, lock, stock and barrel. We go to gyms, while the Westerners are learning yoga and innovative meditation techniques. We mostly consume allopathic medicines, while the West has taken to ayurvedic and homoeopathic medicines.
The politicians are setting the worst example. Hooliganism, cronyism, and nepotism have become synonymous with politics. Most of the ministers seem to evade income tax, while the populace is expected to pay taxes regularly so that ministers can indulge in scams and swindle the public money, and enjoy themselves. When a minister is in charge of a particular department, he thinks that his entire family has a birthright to utilize the services of that department for free, all at the cost of public money. A classic example is when some relatives of Laloo Yadav, the Railway minister, travelled in train ticketless, and when asked by the ticket examiner, said that their relative was the Railway minister! As if the entire Railways were the personal property of the minister and his entire coterie of family and relatives!
Moreover, unlike most politicians in other countries like US, UK, Japan, and Germany, who are all young, it seems all the retired and old people are taking to politics in India as a pastime, experimenting with the future of India and young Indians. Ponder this: most of the Prime Ministers and Presidents of India have been sexagenarians, septuagenarians, and octogenarians. Morarji Desai was an octogenarian (81 years old) when he became Prime Minister. The septuagenarian list includes the current Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and former Prime Ministers, PV Narasimha Rao, I.K. Gujaral, and Choudhary Charan Singh, while the sexagenarians include Atal Behari Vajpayee, Chandrasekhar, V.P. Singh, Deve Gowda, Gulzarilal Nanda, and Lal Bahadur Shastri. The Presidents are also no exception. Pratibha Patil, Abdul Kalam, and K.R. Narayanan – all have been sexagenarians, while Shankar Dayal Sharma and R. Venkatraman were septuagenarians. M. Karunanidhi, the current octogenarian Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, is so old that he cannot even stand on his own legs, and always requires two people to hold him. In such a state, how does he expect to hold the affairs of the state and run the government? But, he is still greedy for power and wants to be the Chief Minister for the umpteenth time! Similar was the case with Jyothi Basu, the former Chief Minister of West Bengal, who was forced to quit politics, much to his chagrin, until he held the seat of Chief Minister till the age of 86! People like Karunanidhi and Jyothi Basu bear live testimony to the adage – “as a person grows old, his greed grows young.” On one hand, India is proud of its youth and even talks of empowering them, while on the other, it seldom gives them opportunities to prove their mettle on the pretext of inexperience and immaturity! What a height of hypocrisy!
Even 60 years after independence, we get water only once in two or three days in metro cities (leave alone other cities and smaller towns), and have to wait for it perennially and eternally, while those in villages have to sleep thirsty at times! But, we are proud of India and proudly celebrate our independence! Even 60 years after independence, there are eternal power cuts. Yet we are expected to pay our electricity bills promptly before the due dates! Even 60 years after independence, a woman cannot walk independently and intrepidly on the roads, or travel alone even in autos or taxis. But, we love our India! And we proudly celebrate the diamond jubilee of Indian independence!
Reservations and quotas are raising their ugly hoods degrading the spirit of competition and efficiency of India as a country. On one hand, while women claim that they are equal to men, on the other, we have special seats earmarked for them in buses, educational institutions, companies, and government enterprises, not to mention the provision for serpentine queues for women at booking offices, banks, cinema theatres, bill payment centres, etc. Hypocrisy at its best again!
Is this the India we dreamt of? Or will the India we dreamt of remain only as a dream? Can dreams ever become reality? But, what if reality itself becomes a dream? Probably, that is what is called a ‘dream reality!’ Cheers to India and 60 years of Indian independence! Way to go!
© 2007. P. Mohan Chandran. All Rights Reserved.