Winston Churchill had famously remarked “INDIA is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator.” But Mr. Churchill could have scarcely imagined that this “geographical term” led by a ‘half naked fakir’ could emerge to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Today, a powerful and recognized nation, we see India come and take a stand on the global power front, shedding its image of the pariah. Of course, Indians have a reason to be proud.
But the bitter reality is that today we ought to be more ashamed than we can ever be proud. On the national front, the disappointment has been overwhelming. Yes, the common man is disillusioned and frustrated with the amount of fiascos, scams and corruption related issues that have monopolized the headlines of his newspaper in the recent months. But he also well realizes the fact that he is as much a part of it as the entity he chooses to blame. Yet, there is hardly anything he can do about it. He cannot choose to shun his liabilities in order to be honest and upright. He does not intend to ruin his nation or bring it to shame, but only to live a comfortable life which doesn’t come at a small price. His needs and expenditures often overtake his earnings. Family pressures and ambitious plans often make him take a turn which the book of ethics and morals shuns. He wants to provide the best to his family and why should he not opt for the obvious means when everybody else is opting for it. He wouldn’t have time to spare to think about the long term implications of his trivial act and on a trillion dollar economy.
The root cause of the problem lies in the fact that India and her people have become two separate identities. An aam admi can hardly ever bother about the troubled state of affairs of the government beyond drawing room discussions. The best he can do is blame and criticize. His daily struggle stuffs him up to leave little space for food for thought. When his loans give him sleepless nights, when compromises become his only choice, when he is not able to send his child abroad for higher education, then Hasan Ali becomes a subject of envy instead of spite. In the process India merely becomes his nationality to fill up forms.
Consequently, the disaster seems to be a result of a cascade of events which stem from the basic human want of being secure. The lament is that he can never be secure enough. That is where the government is to accept its responsibility in the state of affairs. It hasn’t been able to provide social and financial security to its people, which is one of its fundamental objectives. It hasn’t been able to convince a nation that it is a nation. Till disparity will exist, greed will exist, hate and communalism will exist. And disparity exists because it is allowed and encouraged to exist. And no amount of fasts and mass gatherings and anti corruption bills will solve the problem. It is that tree whose roots have penetrated much deeper than we can comprehend. What is disturbing is that we are not too far from the point of no return.
We need to realize is that we are not Indians only when India wins the World Cup or when A certain US president praises us for having already emerged, but also when Commonwealth Games threaten to be a shameful debacle, and when the country tops the list of black money holders in foreign banks or when a poverty index indicates that there are more poor people in eight states of India then the twenty six poorest African countries. It is high time we stop blaming and criticizing and take up our responsibility to clean our share of mess. This is surely not what we want to gift our children as legacy. For long we have been a part of the problem. It is high time we become a part of the solution.