India - My India
Contributed by Yogesh Parmar
Alrite. Solve this. Quick. By a squeamish whisper of its name, it evokes pride, anguish, pity, nostalgia, patriotism bordering on jingoism, perhaps a plethora of such emotions all at once, depending on which side of the Atlantic you hail from. A labyrinth, synonymous with embodiments of love, yet home to perhaps the worst form of bigotry and genocides this side of the 21st century. In the same breath, its a melting pot of myriad cultures multitude ways of life. To some, it looks like an accident waiting to happen. A maze where perhaps beliefs and superstitions rule over rationality and logic. Perhaps the only place where rank, absolute criminals, not only go Scot free, but ironically get to rule those societies which they not long ago, plotted to destroy. A country which lives in several centuries at the same time. A country which is incredibly affluent and shamefully poor at the same time. A place which on the one hand, has women aspiring to be Kalpana Chawla, whilst not very far away from them, female infanticide levels reach a all time high. A country, where a staggering, mind boggling 79% of the populace live below the internationally accepted norms of poverty line of $2 a day. And with them live a few of the world s wealthiest individuals, whose personal wealth accounts for the GDP of the worlds 50 most poorest economies. A nation, where a LLB, a criminal lawyer at that, demands confiscation of all cases against her and the post of Deputy Prime Ministership , if she is to give her support to the ruling coalition. In more ways than one, these things are vindication of the people we are. Our Very Being. Perhaps we deserve them. Because its us who decide who torments us to what extent. Perhaps this is what we are-our true selves-only that we don’t expose it. Only when the situation requires us to, or we create them ourselves to warrant such actions, do we let go. Which I dare say, is primarily bcoz of the way we ve been bought up. By default, we are tolerant to nonsense meted out to us, matter of factly, because we are fine tuned, so to say, to be so. And no one seems bothered. Because we are all the same. Our history stands testimony to the fact that we ve been invaded by every nation worth its salt and otherwise, ranging from the Turks to the Portuguese …to the French and the British. As a race, we are hospitable, most of the times, not because we want to, but because, by doing that we are adhering to a protocol. Why can’t we live our lives the way we want to? Sure, there are obstacles galore, the family especially in the Indian context, but in the other fields of life, we need to exercise our fundamental right of freedom of choice. Indeed, its become an integral part of our psyche. To be dominated. It is that urge to be free that need to cultivate. It is that strong sense of what is right and what is not, that we, as a country, as a people, need to do, not only for our own benefit, but also to make us go through the value chain. Every where in India, from the IT to the textile sector , we are the cobblers and the coolies of the world, even the much touted BPO s and Call Centers are infamously called Cyber Coolies. We need to create brands. We can’t reach where we want to by becoming the back office workers of the residue left by the white collars in the developed nations. True, Indian Brands are being recognized abroad now, but that is because primarily of their cost effectiveness. Essentially, we don’t need the Vadala Vada Pav, We need perhaps Pitza Hut. We don’t need Bru Coffee, We need to have Starbucks in our ranks, Enough of Bata, Let’s have some Nike and Adidas from India as well. These are just instances, but we need to make a conscious effort of making our country not merely adding value to what others do, but become a value creator by ourselves,. In others words, Create Wealth. Slowly, it will penetrate to all sections of the society. Until we become conscious of it, and want to something about it, we go about it as if it were a way of life. Where will that confidence emerge from, which our honorable president talks about time and again, unless we know what is right and what is not. The rights and the wrongs might differ, but that’s beside the point.
The Only country perhaps in the whole wide universe , which talks about setting up multi specialty hospitals, and becoming the next best thing in health destinations, when it doesn’t have sanitation facilties for woman on roads and highways. (We know what the men do). And here I do equally hold my responsible for the things being the way they are. But I ve started doing something about it. In a little way that I can. Here s wishing a lot more of us join so that “India Shining” can see the light of the day.