I find myself in a peculiar position these days. For last one year, my country has been in the political, social and economic turmoil, and I have been watching it silently from some thousand miles.
The situation is plain sad. Businesses are down. Peoples’ expenditure is rising, and the income does not seem to follow the trend. There is a communal tension. In one state, two communities are on each other’s’ throats. In another state, some messages from another country led to a mass exodus.
Such a climate has mongered some other somber elements. Media is loud. Social activists are acting rather fanatically. Common people are anguished. They feel the pain, the agony and the haplessness that comes with macro environmental crises. While all this chaos has been unraveling, the government has preferred to instigate the fire, instead of extinguishing it. The overall policy and intent of the rulers has been insipid, and that by the way is a very mild description of a government that could well be the most corrupt government in India’s history.
Now, this is where my peculiar position comes in. As of now, I am a distant spectator, who reads and understands what is going on, but who is not involved personally. Although I can understand the anguish and the sadness, I cannot feel its sting.
Nevertheless, I have opinions and my own stance on things, and I am in a minority.
I am one of those people, who understand the noise, but who disagree with it. I cannot agree with hardliners and almost anarchist anti-corruption speeches. I don’t seem to comprehend how some monstrous mechanism can change India overnight. I cannot agree with those people, who are giving a cry for some rather romantic revolution. I cannot, in my wildest dreams, agree with people that rejoiced a minister’s death.
People have every right to be angry. People have every right to crave for the change. It is, after all, the need of the hour. India has endured its extremely inefficient, ineffective and yet incumbent system for far too long.
It is a sordid fact that India still does not have an adequate primary education system, healthcare and sanitation facilities and a minimum common standard of living. It is a fact that most of the Indian bureaucrats and politicians are filthy rich, when ideally they don’t own enough resources to generate such wealth. The scams that are uncovered almost every other fortnight produce staggering and astounding figures. It boggles one’s mind down. Quite frankly, the country is in shambles.
However, because of such a sobering nature of India’s economic and political dimensions, the social dimension is often let go by the people, who are leading the charge of “change”.
Gray areas of Indian society such as communal and caste aspects are globally known. What is not globally known is the social psychology, which is numb and stubborn. The cancer of corruption, as those new social idols call it, is far more deep rooted than some political system. It lies and originates from the social psyche that has refused to evolve.
For years, India has glorified its behavior. People still spit on the streets. They still pollute the river. They still don’t care for animals. The ecology has been ravaged without any remorse, or heck, even without any acknowledgement. A woman still gets molested in a crowded square, and the numb people turn a blind eye. Fetuses are thrown in garbage cans, and nobody cares. Bombs explode, some die, others move on.
And we still celebrate our glorious culture.
It’s very easy to cause logjams on crowded streets, to hold fasts and perform some idiotic theatrics. People like it, because those shrill voices are telling someone else to take the responsibility. Those screams are for someone else’s conscience. It’s all noise sans meaning. It’s fun. It’s incredibly hollow. It is just the way they like it.
The aggravated Indian population would never like to hear the bitter truth, but the fact is that nothing will change, as long as the common person doesn’t. The monster that India is facing is our own creation. The elements that lie within us are the true cancer.
Change will come, when we’ll change. Change will come, when educated will vote for their own good, and when the poor will not vote for one nights spicy meal and a poisonous liquor. The change will come, when life will be respected irrespective of to whom it belongs. The change will come, when we’ll take a step towards being accountable for our own life and responsive to someone else’s.
For this to happen, India as a society will have to grow up. It will have to shed the stigmas it has carried for generations. It will have to discard complacence and oblivious indifference.
This change will take time. It will need some toil and patience. But, it will last.
Otherwise, it will be all noise.