Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Reckoning

But then again, my misery is hardly unique. It’s not just me that suffers due to poor public transport, messy roads, gross ineptitude, bribe culture and utterly inept public offices – millions across the nation share these. And that’s just local news, here’s the national: an MP demands that an internationally acclaimed intellectual be stripped of his Bharat Ratna for daring to express his opinion; an honest IAS officer is blatantly suspended for taking on the mining mafia; pot-bellied politicians advice the poor to fill their stomach with imaginary Rs 5 meals… and so on.

We live in a society which houses a third of the world’s poor and the largest illiterate population across the globe – probably deliberately kept so to serve as gullible voters. We live in a democracy where politics is family business, and the only choice voters have is between him and him. We live in an economy where multi-crore scams don’t even make the front-page anymore.

I read then, and I talk, I look around and I feel the frustration building up within me. But what I can’t decide is whether there is still a way out? Sofa-activism is easy. Like this blog. But how effective is it really? How effective are NGOs? There are numerous Indian websites dedicated to building a better India, but what are their real motives?

Back in college, I and my friends started a group to protest for some necessary changes. In response, the administration formulated a new student committee to address the issues. The entire situation soon got politicized, the committee lost its fangs, and within an year became sycophantic and idle. Who was to blame in that situation?

I have friends who aspire to get into the IAS. Perhaps I should praise them for exchanging lucrative careers for an honest officer’s salary in order to serve the country? Except that most of them never explicitly say that they want to do it for the right reasons…

And thus we come to the basic question: throughout all this, where do we stand? We are told that India is demographically a young country, and we keep hearing that the youth wants this and it wants that. But the ‘youth’ is not some fictitious chimera – it’s us.  And so I ask you: what do you think is the nature of Young India?

Are you really against corruption, or do you just like joke about it on social networks? Do you really refuse to transact in bribes or are they a part of life? Are you secular? More fundamentally, which side are you really on?

And most importantly, what will you do?