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From silence to change – Can India pull it off?

By Biplob Ghosal | Last Updated: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 15:20
Biplob Ghosal
Loud and Clear

I wonder why political representatives of a large democracy like India are so indolent in their attitude when it comes to responding to sensitive issues.

There have been numerous occasions, like the recent soldiers’ killing by Pakistani troops, the Delhi gang-rape incident, Lokpal Bill issue, terror attacks and many others when our elected members failed to react timely and responsibly.

Let’s take the example of the recent killings of our jawans at the LoC. Brave soldiers Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh were martyred on January 08 but it took days before the politicians visited Hemraj’s family – whose head was taken away by coward Pakistani soldiers.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, BJP president Nitin Gadkari and senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh visited Hemraj’s home on January 13, five days after the gruesome incident took place, and assured the grieving family of providing assistance.

I fail to understand why our politicians need to be awakened all the time. Starting from the top to bottom, most of our political masters are all the same. Unfortunately, even our honourable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh falls in the same league. He is someone who breaks the protocol and goes to the airport to receive the US President, Saudi Arabia’s King and Nepal’s Prime Minister, but doesn’t get time to address his own people on the issues that shock and shake us.

His delayed response to the Delhi gang-rape incident or the soldiers’ killing and his continued silence or long overdue address on issues ranging from the Lokpal Bill and 2G spectrum scam are perfect examples of his indifference that has left many questions unanswered.

Even Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in an interview acknowledged that the PM was a week late in addressing the nation during the anti-rape protests.

Those in power boast of being elected for five years, but tend to forget the concern of the electorate who vote them to power. Many of our soldiers die while protecting the country but are not given the honour which they or their family deserve.

Why can’t we learn from countries like the US and the UK where the head of the state, or other senior officials from the government and armed forces, receive the body of the country`s slain soldiers and give them full state honours? In India, where every other day our soldiers die or get seriously injured while fighting with militants, insurgents and Maoists, nobody seem to really care.

Every time an incident gets highlighted, netas react and announce all sorts of compensation possible and try to take credit. While announcing packages they highlight their generosity, but the truth is that what they dole out is taxpayers` money and not from their own pockets or party fund.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s statement during the Delhi gang-rape protests, when people were being mercilessly beaten up by police, that government representatives cannot go to the protest sites and make it a precedent only goes on to highlight the apathy of our elected government. If this wasn’t enough he compared the peaceful protesters, mostly youngsters, to Maoists.

Our Parliamentarians have miserably failed to address the core issues because of their lack of concern and ignorant attitude. Gender equality, which is a grave issue in the country, is many times ignored by some of our elected leaders. Nothing can be expected from leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav, who aspire to become the Prime Minister someday, but is against Women’s Reservation Bill. And not only Mr Yadav, but many other leaders have shown their indifference while dealing with issues like gender equality and women’s safety.

It’s high time politicians show some concern and make the common man feel connected. And we the people also need to take the blame as we got them elected to enjoy unbridled power. We have to wake up as a nation and stop voting on the lines of caste, religion and money. That is perhaps the only way India will transform into an actual democracy – where the voice of the people is heard, not silenced.

First Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 15:20

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