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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The India Unlimited

Yes, it can be much worse than Mumbai!! We may crib about the inefficiency and corruption of government officials in Mumbai but in comparison to the grim situation in U.P. & Bihar and other northern states, we may be living in (fools?!) paradise. In fact we just can not extrapolate and generalize "India" based what we experience in Mumbai. Allow me elaborate further on this...

I am currently in Agra where the polling is to take place on 7th May and canvassing is at its peak. To get the flavor of latest happenings, I read the local newspapers and found it full of news of political candidates adventures, misadventures and deeds, also news of petty and not so petty crimes and rampant corruption. Somehow it felt that there was no law & order machinery in the state or if at all there was any, it was busy with something more important on its priority list. After inquiring further, I found that considerable effort was being made to provide the "unheard of" uninterrupted electricity to the Bhim Nagar 'ghetto' on occasion of three-day festival of Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti. Well, at least it was nice to see government making some effort, no matter how partisan their action was. It might not be amusing to other residents as the electricity-cut was extended few more hours in rest of Agra to facilitate this.

Subsequently I happen to have the pleasure of having dinner with a prominent budding politician of the region and I got to savor the delicacy of dal-baati-choorma along with some flash-news on political situation in the region from the horse’s mouth. The major concern was the deep rooted corruption in the system which was more of a rule than exception. Some incidences to support this were quoted to me, here they are.. Principal of a city college never goes to office and attends to his business and arranges for his daily attendance on paper. Citizens get fined indiscriminately for electricity theft to fulfil the electricity-theft fine quota, also some citizens are allowed electricity theft at a fixed price. Students give Rs. 2000 to get photostat copies of answers of exam papers. Those who don't pay-up are framed in copying and cheating case. Teachers who get government jobs after paying hefty bribes, outsource their job to unemployed youth for Rs. 1000 per month and never go to teach. For all political parties and citizens, it is more of finding ways to fit into this well-established system than to even think of eradicating the evils of the corruption. In fact, despite knowing its well known and obvious illegitimacy and immorality, it is now accepted and 'laundered' into mainstream society.

Not that there is no resentment, there is a constant sense of a lost battle, but like a lost soldier at mercy of the enemy who can only hope that the prevailing and overpowering enemy (corruption) might spare their lives so the efforts were on to befriend the enemy despite resentment. But yes, there is no doubt that here in the heartland of India, both public and politicians have surrendered their arms and sold their conscience, either happily or grumpily and become slaves to the monster called corruption. And nothing could be more demoralizing for the Indian democracy. Is it the start of the end of it? Unfortunately, all signs do point towards that. For now, I will be happy living in my fools paradise and pray that situation 'here' improves before it become worse like it is 'there'.

p.s. while I write this, I find that our celebrity politicians from Mumbai are in the region canvassing and asking for votes and they too are in the same rut of divide and rule and nobody gives a damn about corruption or development. Sanju baba feels he was tortured in jail because his mother was a muslim and not because he helped the bloody terrorists bring RDX to bomb Mumbai city!! Both Shatrughan Sinha and Shekhar Suman are busy proving who is the real bihari babu. Raj Babbar does not remember anymore where his loyalties lie. They should know better and should not take advantage of an already divided public but all politicians seems to be doing exactly that. Is there some messiah out there waiting to show the miracle and clean this rot? Sorry, I don't have an answers or any clear solutions to this.

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