Insight Mahiprasad

Thursday, February 21, 2008

30 to 40

Whenever I speak with young educated people between the age of 16 and 20, I find in them a spirit full of ideologies. Ideologies of many kinds perhaps, but they are all related to the betterment of the society, and the betterment in the functioning of the government. They always say viz. this should be changed, or that should have been like that, so much so forth. These young spirits talk to us in a manner, as if we, the older ones, are responsible for all the present scenarios. And when I speak with the people between the ages of 30 to 40, I find in them talking more about themselves, their achievements, and their acquirements. No words are spelt by them about the system, the government or the society. They do not perhaps believe in that they are in any way answerable to the society or to the people. And when I speak to the people of my age or more than that, they simply pronounce that things would not change ever, and perhaps those past were better days. In fact, I find in them no hope left.

Why is it so? But it's true. Most younger people are dynamic, vibrant and keen to change the society. When they initiate their career, they have so many virtues to their credit. Unfortunately, they come across these 30 to 40 youths, and slowly but steadily put themselves into the shoes of 30 to 40, and are lost in the wilderness.

This is not just a one of case. This has been going on for generations. When we were younger, we also had the same courage, vibrancy and intended to do something different and bring about a change. But we trusted our immediate seniors and followed them blindly. Now, when we look back, most of us realize that we made mistakes.

If the society has to change and if we expect a better government to rule us, then I can clearly deduce that our future 30 to 40 youths need to stick to their ideologies and set an example to their juniors that they should not cow down to the pressures generated from the top. It is very important that our 30 to 40s put their heads together, honestly, and make known to their seniors that they don’t budge without reason. We are frankly not worried about our 16 to 20s, because they are the early sun and are incorruptible. But our 30 to 40s seem easily driven away by the devilish lust of living an exuberant life, more often cater to corruption, selfishness, and finally exculpate themselves from the sin they are part of.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Next Target

It is often seen that a professional group or an institution is targeted by the government. Years on the line, the governments are forced to have cold wars with the professions in question. In whatever way, the govt. endevours to curb the wings of the profession and in retaliation, the professionals come back with some popular measures and obtain the sympathy of the common man, and thereby humiliate the govt. in power. In the course of time, the government makes the politicians of either side, be in the ruling or in the opposition, understand that the profession itself is guilty, and is the enemy of the politicians and not the government alone. Getting together, the government acts with an iron hand, and demolishes the spines of the profession in question, and coerces them to go into wilderness. Sooner, the rebellion withers away and the people forget them that they once made the government stumble to the knee. In effect, the profession was subjugated to by the lawmakers by punishing them, and sending them to near extinction. After some time, the said profession forgets whether they were ever part of any kind of rebellion. This had been practiced during the British Raj, and is being formulated by any modern day government.

During the 70-80s, it was visibly observed that the officials serving in the Central and State Governments were basically anti-establishment. The succeeding governments, esp. the one led by Congress party, pushed the babus into troubles first by marauding them, by breaking their agitations and putting them behind the bars during the emergency, then appeased them by offering regular pay commission packets which enhanced their salaries to a respectable one. However, it was seen, the people sitting inside the North Block, South Block and other Bhavans did not cherish the government line. They do not vote enmasse, but they have a voice. They are middle class, they are educated and able to persuade a feeling of distrust and hatred amongst the people who vote. The succeeding governments noted that, and during the economic liberalization period, the government decided to cut short the wings of the babus. It was then pronounced that half of the posts in the Central Government would be curtailed gradually. There was no immediate sacking, but the posts once vacant would not be replenished. Though some departments were closed down, but the skulking officials were never sent home. There was no scope of rebellion, and hence, no one could protest. It was a policy which was tantamount to be a punishment meted out to the officials serving in the Central and State Governments.

The anti-reservation agitation has always been the aspiration of the middle class people of India, which they felt that the power never paid heed to their feelings. The people at large feel that the reservation to a section of society was only to secure votes and insure power. An endless appeasement to others made them jittery. It was also observed that no political parties dared to venture against the reservation class. In order to garner more, the parties in power, extended the benefits to some more. In this game of ascertaining the power, whoever opposes the reservation policy, had to face invariably the wrath of the mighty government.

However, the medical students all over India, took the bull by the horns. They opposed the government policy of reservation, vehemently. They took the protest to the streets. Other students from different streams lined up behind them. They challenged the legislatures. No political parties were seen meddling around them. Sensing that all the political parties were up against the wall, the Government motivated themselves to let loose the power against the students by thrashing them on the streets by the brute police force, resulted into injuring many. Without wasting time, a bill was presented in the Parliament to provide reservation to the OBCs in the higher educational institutions. Later though, the matter was taken up by the Supreme Court, the agitation of the medical students took a back seat. Getting the support of all the political parties, the government bounced back to maraud the medical students. P. Venugopal, the effervescent Director of AIIMS, became the first casualty. He was sent to forced retirement by making a law in the Parliament, for the sake of punishing one man. It takes around five and a half to study MBBS and roughly twelve years for getting ahead with the subject. Now, the government has increased the course period for MBBS by one year, and plans that it would take them nearly eighteen years to button up the whole medical course. The government has curved down the agitation, and the agitated are sulking and cast down.

Looking at the atrocities made by the governments in the past to the institutions that had caused troubles to the politicians, it is clearly presumed that the next target to face the agony and wrath of the government will clearly be the mediamen. Until the last century, the media were relatively subdued, as they were less professional in their approach. They had their freedom, but upto a limit, and they most often toed the line segment of the government. They never used the name of a person, party or community when it was involved in groping any scandal. The period of economic liberalization has indeed intensified the vigour of media who are keen to outperform. It is in this period only when we saw the judiciary take on the politicians to do the justice, the corrupt political leaders and the government departments were taken to task, the police, the magistrates and senior bureaucrats seemed worried and pulled their socks up. These were all the handicrafts of the Media esp. the electronic one. Apart from this, it finds out the elevation in the poverty, the lawlessness in the country, and most importantly it tries to listen to the bereaved. Of late, people at large find out in the media a friend, a trustworthy one, which they didn’t see in the behaviour of the government over the years.

In effect, the government seems gasping. They have been pacifying the media all the time, but by now it has taken the shape of a Frankenstein. It is difficult to undersize them. It is true that the politicians take benefits from the media whenever it suits them, but for some time now, most of them feel humiliated by the media's intrusiveness. Sooner or later, the politicians will get united and look down its nose at the media and will definitely snap its neck. A law will come in order to quieten them. No doubt the media is mighty, and have the universal support. But not as mighty and cunning as any government, when force matters. A hard battle is in the offing. Will the media be able to stand erect against the government when the force is applied or will they too kneel down to hibernation?

Adam's Apple

Only a 100 years back, the sub continent had diseases like plague, malaria and kalajar which had its toll, not only in Indians alone, many Englishmen died of these diseases. And now, we have three phenomenal diseases in the sub continent which are corruption, moving out abroad to amass wealth, and an undemocratic way of political inheritance. This political inheritance has caused our society a bad name, and making it a pseudo democracy. The sub continent had long parted into different nations, but these diseases are spreading synchronously to these nations. As India is the undoubted leader in the sub continent, so was Jawaharlal Nehru the pioneer of introducing legacies in politics. Though Britain can claim that they introduced the modern democratic society once defined by Plato and Aristotle, yet Nehru was the one who promulgated a political law where legacy has a big role in the democracy a la monarchy. He was a great thinker. Had he been a white man, he would have much more honour to his name only for this part of the law.

Initially, every political leader in this country had expressed critical assessment of this Nehruvian Law, but gradually toed the line when they understood the cream beneath the law. We blamed Nehru, and Indira, but sooner found Abdullah, Biju, Devi, Lalu, Mulayam, Karuna, Sharad, and even Marathi Tiger, all put themselves in Nehru's shoes. This theory did not stay behind in India only, it trespassed the wired borders to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and the theory was welcomed by the Bhuttos, Zias, and Bandernaiks.

If we look at we see more sub continental people have migrated to the U.S since our independence than any other country. As a result of which, the Nehruvian Law of Political Legacy has entered the political arena of the U.S. Senate and the White House. Kennedys, Bushs and Clintons are our real white brethren, and some more are on the line. One more thing, and that is India, especially the Nehru dynasty, have showed acumen in this game of legacy. They do not bring their legacy too early. Rahul was in his twenties when his father died. He didn't wish to enter the arena, nor was anyone from the family made spectacle of themselves, though the Congress managed to control power at the Centre. They all waited for the right time, and the people at large didn't forget them. However, this didn't happen in the case of looking into the legacy of Benazir Bhutto. Within a couple of days of her assassination, her nineteen years old son was made the really heir of Bhutto legacy. This comparison has one vital message, and that is about the Nehruvian Law which has matured to its root in the Nehru – Gandhi family, and the others are way behind them to follow suit.
Still, Europe is untouched from this disease. Prominent leader of the stature of Thatcher, Blair, Charles de Gaulle, Chirac, Schneider could not leave behind their prominent lineage. Few days back, even Russian despot in power, Vladimir Putin, named Mdvedev for his successor to the top post of Russia. Incidentally, Mdvedev is no kin of Putin. Indeed, the Europeans are the best human race in the world, as far as democratic norms are concerned.

Though said, but it's untrue that every evil thing has its end and gets punished. However, the truth is no good thing survives and the good always are humiliated. This Nehruvian Law is one of the precious discoveries and therefore, has its toll. No matter how harsh were the killings of Indira, Rajiv, Benazir, the victims of the Law, every political law has it own drawbacks, viz. corruption comes in hand with democracy. So, this Nehruvian Law ought to have its own. One who professes this law would die unnaturally. Its like Adam's apple, it's juicy, but deadly.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Few Drops of Tears for the Beloved

When a soldier dies, only his wife and children weep and few of his colleagues mourn. But when a politician dies, the nation cries. What an irony that the soldiers tend to be honest, with high commitment for his country, whereas most politicians are dishonest, and always think about themselves before the country.

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers have died since the independence of India, but for how many do we drop our tears for? We read about many soldiers, their valiance and their countless services to the nation, but we are in the habit of forgetting all sooner.

I came to know from a soldier who was posted in the Ferozepur border some twenty years ago and in Srinagar (J&K) only 12 years back. He narrated that in those days, there were neither concrete walls, nor any wire fencing between the vast Indo-Pak border. Soldiers on duty sat 50 yards away from the line of control and they made a line of themselves with a gap of six meters between each soldier. Human lives are always cheaper in India than concrete and iron. The soldiers used to have a rifle, a torch each and carried one gunnysack on which they sat throughout their shift irrespective of weather conditions. On many a chilly winter morning, few unfortunate soldiers were found dead due to cold weather they could not sustain. Frequently, they were asked to keep vigil from the tower, after completing their tiring regular shifts. The soldiers kept dying by the shells thrown from the other side, and also by the internal Sikh militants who attacked them from behind. Many soldiers committed suicide, as they were forlorn, more so they detested their life altogether.

In Srinagar (J&K), they had a camp of 300 soldiers, having only five toilets for their use. These dirty toilets had no arrangement of water, and were located half a kilometer away from their beds. The area where these tin-covered toilets were located, were uninhabited and there was always an atmosphere of panic due to the presence of indomitable Pakistani militants. The soldiers started visiting the toilets since 3 am to 7 am. During this period, armed guards were provided around the toilets. But if someone had to go to the toilets other than the time fixed, he would have to go all alone. Under the circumstances, they only had to recite the name of the God they believed in. I asked the soldier whether they had ever thought of how they were being exploited. The soldier replied bluntly that they were not given time to think of such serious matters. Apart from six to eight hours of slumber, they were given jobs on a continuous basis for the remaining period of the day.

During that period, a soldier used to get only Rs.700 p.m., and now they are getting around Rs.8000 p.m. altogether. With this meager salary, the soldiers weep in the border while doing their duty, and their families live a life of beggars in the countryside. The Nation respects them when they die, by putting flowers on their memory, and their families curse the Nation while wiping tears with their dusty anchals.

Mahiprasad whines for the agony faced by each soldier every day, and his tears drop for them. He wishes that let the mighty Indian Armed Forces be run by its officers for only one day without the soldiers. Can they do it, when they enjoy the cream of the forces? Never.

If not, then all the soldiers of the Armed Forces should be given with the best of facilities of life, as they are the one who lay down their lives for its countrymen. Food, shelter, clothing, schooling for their children, travel and entertainment to the soldiers and their families be given free of cost, apart from their salary which they keep for the future. A member of his family must be compensated with a government job one higher than the deceased soldier, when he dies on duty. He should be given an award when he dies on duty, but the award should have meaning, unlike most of the awards. Now we do not need the name of the roads in the name of the politicians, it should go to the soldiers who die, with nobody around them wiping their tears. Nathu Lal Road, Gopi Chand Marg, Banta Singh Chowk are more appropriate than Jawaharlal Lal Nehru Road or Tau Devi Lal Marg or Rajiv Gandhi Chowk.

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