Saturday, 4 October 2014

Reality Series - 3 : Do We Really Want Change {Part 1}?

Do we, as a nation and as a people, do we really want positive change? Do we Indians really want to tackle the ills that plague our society, our polity; thereby creating an even more vibrant and forward looking society than we currently have? And do we Indians really care enough to walk the extra mile that is required for us to change? Most critically, do we Indians have the intelligence, awareness, the knowledge and the guts required to face upto our problems and our weaknesses?

Why are we so gullible, for starters? I admit that we Indians are a highly emotional culture, and thus adulation is a fact of life for us. Furthermore, given the hierarchical nature of our culture, some amount of hero-worship is both a given as well as good for national health. But cant we draw the line between following and blindly following? How can we allow emotional appeals to cloud our views 100% of the time? More critically, why cant we accept that even the most charismatic leader can make mistakes, or require inputs? Why arent we geared towards taking that in our stride, instead of over-reacting to any criticism? Why the growing intolerance, which is just another sign of our gullibility? 

Let me take the example of our venerable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. First, let me clarify : in my opinion, he stands tall as one of the best Prime Ministers India has had, at least based on current performance. Further, this article is not about Shri Narendra Modi - but about you, the citizen of India. This is about us, the people of India.

Why is it that we cant take criticism of any kind of our Prime Minister, even when it is given in constructive and/or analytical terms? Why is it that such people get verbal abuse, and deeply offensive remarks and leg-pulling? Dont we have a Democracy? In a democracy, doesnt a citizen have the right to analyse the Government, and hold divergent views? Then why the innuendo and the abuse?

Further, the kind of jokes, WhatsApp messages, and social media updates that are in vogue - like the Hanuman Chalisa Parody of Shri Modiji - isnt this a bit too much, a bit over the top? Or the constant derogatory and bad-taste jokes on other parties and politicians? Fine, we dont like their performance as political leaders - but does that mean we can insult them? Is that what our culture, our values teach us - to be so cheap, so insulting in tone? How can something so insulting, so downright ugly in taste and tone, be termed as fun? What values are we propagating? Is this fun? Further, since when has at least my Indian culture been so intolerant, so brusque towards other thoughts and POVs? 

Why cant we as a people, as a nation, analyse the policies, the statements and the performance of our leaders {at least we the educated classes}, instead of just building them up in sheer hype, which may or may not be based on substantiable facts? Isnt that what education is all about - being able to analyse and understand for ourselves? 

This is evident in any number of examples from contemporary life in India; the example above is just one current trend that is in vogue and is easy to relate to, which is why I have used it. Let me quote another example : MODI  = Master Of Developing India. Now, on what basis, may I ask? The moment you pop this question, you get a series of short-term numbers - given that not one of the fundamentals of the Economy is as yet anywhere near what may be called optimal {let alone ideal},  or facts that do not hold up to critical analysis in the cold light of logic, inasmuch as it is too early to state, or due to the presence of other attenuating factors. 

The incessant repetition of such statements has its impact, and gives it rub on the person being hyped up, or rather, to be specific - it rubs off on the way this person is perceived by the people at large. And we do this incessantly, without any conscious thought into the fundamentals of the situation. What is more, we belittle anyone who challenges the trend, and shout him down as a collective, dampening the other person's enthusiasm. And we do this without thinking that other person's viewpoint through, or trying to combat that person's POV with a proper come back. 

This has everything to do with change; it is the single most important parameter for change. The people must be open to the direction of the change; they must be willing to move in the direction of the change. Without this, change cannot happen. Without this, we stand the risk of a half-baked solution to the problems we face. 

India is a Democracy; and our culture is one of open thought, contemplation and analysis, where alien concepts, radically divergent views can co-exist in relative peace and harmony. This is a concept I will examine in detail in my next post; for this post, the learning is : Now that we have a good solid Prime Minister, the need of the hour is not Hero Worship. The need of the hour is letting him know we want change; letting him know clearly and in no uncertain terms that corruption, slow growth, scams are no longer going to be forgiven. 

He is already the PM; now there is absolutely no need of adulation. Blunt : he has been tasked by us to make India a better place. He has a job to  do, just like you and me. Whether or not you and I voted for him - he is now our Prime Minister. He is not  the PM of only those who voted for him - he is our leader. Set tall goals for him to achieve; ask for the systemic change we want. 

Remember that he is at the top of a long chain; and merely chanting the ridiculous "Jay Narendra Gyaan Gun..." or "Master Of Developing India" wont solve our problems. The entire chain in the Government needs to know that India wants change: 
  1. we want lesser corruption at both the lower and higher levels; 
  2. we want good growth, ease of doing business; 
  3. we want equal growth for all sections of our society - not just for the creamy layer; 
  4. we want a functioning and decent state and central government and their related organisations; 
  5. we want a free Lokpal, CBI, Police, Judiciary that can ensure zero scams 


We, the people are his power; if we go to sleep, he will find the process that same process of change a very hard and uphill task - and that is a simple fact. Why are we ignoring these realities?


The Biq Question that comes to my mind is, given that we as a people have stopped asking for these basics, that no one is even mentioning all these points, and are  focusing on idolising one man, and running after him in a show of blind unthinking faith : DO WE REALLY WANT CHANGE? Or do we want a reversion to our status quo, our respective comfort zones, where we can live without the encumbrance of personal risk to our businesses and jobs? 

Do we really want change? This is what I shall look at in the third part of this mini-series

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