The State Of The Nation... The Winds Of Change






The images above tell a story... a story that the political and bureaucratic class in India is ignoring, and has been ignoring for quite some time now. The images above are the protests against the brutality against a single citizen & the official neglect, non-performance and apathy that was a contributory factor as well as the initial response to the outrage. These protests are being attended by the very same much-maligned I-Me-Myself Indian citizen for a person they do not know and are not related to; for a system that does not exist and for a security they do no feel. The Indian is known for the chaltaa hai attitude over the years, for the lack of community feeling....

Well, everyone would do well to take a look at the images above. Or of the images during the Anna Hazare protests... 






Where is the famous careless Indian citizen? Where is his lack of community feeling? I cant spot him/her (sorry ladies) - not in these images. What I can spot is something our government would do well to spot.... I can both see and feel the winds of change. I can almost place my finger on the rampant hopelessness among the normal people, and I can almost touch their total disdain for and distrust of the political as well as the bureaucratic classes. Fact of the matter is that most Indian citizens do not trust the politician and his tools- the bureaucracy and the police. The general feeling ranges from distrust to outright naming of the politician as a class to be criminals. The general impression that any politician is out to destroy the nation, and make a killing in the process. It is genuinely sad that in the process even the genuine gems in this class  - the politicians who are clean are also branded. For it would be vastly inaccurate to state that the entire political class is like this. 

How did things come to such a pass? There is no point dwelling on this point at this juncture in time; but it is now certain that as things stand today, the younger generation - the latest crop that is now in the late teens, 20-somethings and 30-somethings have been awakened to their political rights, and are not in a mood to keep silent anymore. The increasing educational levels, awareness, information flow and rampant problems are contributory factors to this development. They are now awakened, and want change for the better. That has both good and bad tidings; good if it engenders change; bad if these people get impatient....

I wish the political class is listening to these developments, and is ready to change the status quo. For, running a country is not joke; the normal citizen cannot do it. That is a task best left to the politicians. But they, on current evidence, do not seem to show any signs of change. The country still reacts to the Supreme Court verdicts on PILs by the public on even the most mundane of issues - no brainers like Helmets and Tinted Glasses! It seems as though the Supreme Court and the people are running the country rather than the Government! The bureaucracy - nay, the pampered bureaucracy who adds precisely zero value to the people just take home their salaries for nothing. Just take a look at some recent decisions by the honourable courts: http://reflectionsvvk.blogspot.in/2012/08/judicial-activism.html. This begs the question: why are the common people of India having to resort to PILs just to enforce the most common sense of laws? What the heck are the bureaucrats and the elected representatives of the people doing? 

It is this very systemic breakdown of governance that first started the slew of PILs, and is now spilling onto the roads in the form of these protests. This is also spilling into disenchantment in the sincere officer cadres - Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Gen VK Singh are cases in point. General Malik has been similarly scathing in his condemnation of the bureaucrats and the politicians in his book Kargil - From Surprise To Victory. The Indian People have spoken: they have already given their verdict. There are those like me- who support these protests, but still hold hope in the electoral process, and are willing to give it time - we are waiting for 2014. But the events are forcing even moderates like me into total dispair... And there are some issues will not wait till 2014; like the present case. Furthermore, the disenchantment is growing, and is a signal to the government to start the process of making the good-for-nothing bureaucracy and corrupt police more accountable to the people; it is a signal to take up police reform, for which there is even a court verdict in place. Despite this, there has been no discernible movement on any major issue.

The people of India have now found a voice, and a means - a very effective and visible means - of protest. This has been amply demonstrated in the past 2 years. Sadly, rather than meet them with compassion, the government of the day can only resort to the only thing it knows how to do - suppression. It was the same last year, and the same this year. The Prime Minister did not come out to speak to the agitated people; the Home Minister - well, the less said, the better; The President did not speak to the people. Only Sonia Gandhi spoke! - who is running the nation? Is she the PM? Why did the leader of the nation, The PM and the President not express themselves? And why were water cannons and lathi charges resorted to? Could not the Government have tried innovative ways (innovative for our politicians at the center, that is), like having the PM etc speak to them? But no, only silence and oppression. I feel disappointed that even the President was silent, when all of India was agitated...

I am reminded of 2 things, an old story, and an English idiom. The story is of Nero, who is supposed to have played the fiddle while Rome burnt; and the Idiom is given below: 

last straw and the straw that broke the camel's back
the final difficulty in a series; the last little burden or problem that causes everything to collapse. (From the image of a camel being loaded down with much weight. Finally, at some point, one more straw will be too much and the camel's back will break.


Please dont wait for it.... listen to the people!

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