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The India I know!

By Sharique N Siddiquie | Last Updated: Saturday, August 29, 2009 - 20:06
Sharique N Siddiquie
Common Man

Last week, an old friend visited me on a holiday. Since we were meeting after quite a long time, we had a lot of catching up to do. Though he is normally very cool and calm, this time around, he seemed visibly frustrated over the condition of the country especially after the molestation incident of the girl from Patna.

When he was leaving in the evening, we went to an auto stand near my apartment. There we saw this sweet little girl of probably 8 years of age selling ‘bhutta’ or corn kernels.

“<i>Laadli</i> scheme hasn’t reached her yet”, my friend said sarcastically. I felt very bad for the girl; after all it’s an age of having fun, going to school and playing with friends. But the girl was toiling hard to earn a livelihood.

I was moved. I called her and gave her a Rs 10 note. Initially, she got confused and thought I was buying ‘bhutta’ from her, but when I told her she can keep the money without giving me corn, she was both surprised and happy.

At that point of time I realised how big the problem is and how small was my contribution. What change a meagre Rs 10 note can bring in the life of this girl, I wondered! And the entire episode forced me to ponder over the state of our country.

Zillions of negative thoughts crossed my mind. We live in a country where a former PM had admitted that out of every rupee spent by the government for the people, only 10 paise reach the needy. This calls for a place in Guinness Book of World Records for all those people who still manage to live on without basic facilities!

The episode also reminded me of a similar happening. I had gone to get my voter ID card made and although my name was on the voters list they asked me for some other ID proof like driving license, bank account or passport. So, I decided to get a bank account first. In the bank, ironically, I was again asked for some ID proof like voter ID card, driving license or passport.

Now, can somebody please tell me how to get the first document made? Hell..I still don’t have a voter ID card and I have lost the hope of ever getting it!

We are a country of more than a billion people and boast of being the biggest democracy. But is it really a democracy? I am extremely sorry for being too harsh, but I’ll call our nation, world’s biggest ‘mob-o-cracy’. Yes, mob rules the nation.

Close to 30 percent people in India are not registered voters. And almost 40 percent of registered voters don’t bother to vote. Then, there are illegal activities like booth capturing and bogus voting. Is this what democracy is all about? I doubt!

And then we blame our political leaders for being corrupt and inefficient. But it’s a question of serious introspection - Do we have the right to blame our leaders? After all, we are the ones who give them the right to rule.

Corruption is prevalent everywhere. First a scam happens where somebody siphons crores of public money and then our government spends some more crores on useless committees for investigation.

Isn’t it a more feasible option to legalise scams and eventually corruption in the country and impose 33 percent FBT (Fringe Benefit Tax) on the siphoned money? That ways, at least we will be able to get some money back!

I know, I am being very pessimistic, but this is exactly the ‘India I know’. It is the feeling of helplessness that leads to such pessimism. Such thoughts arise when you think you are incapable of doing anything for the country and feel let down by the system. Such anger and frustration is justified.

When I was in college, I always dreamt of being a journalist and changing the society, but now I know it is easier said (actually felt) than done.

But let’s not be hopeless. I am not hopeless. As a resolution, I have decided to do my bit for the country. That day, it was a Rs 10 note, tomorrow probably I’ll adopt one child or open a free school for the underprivileged kids. I know we all have personal responsibilities, but this is our nation and we have to care for it. I am going to do what I can.

Let’s do what we can without waiting for others to take lead. Singing the national anthem on Independence Day and Republic Day is not patriotism, taking responsibilities to eradicate the ills is!

And I am sure all of you will agree on this. Let’s bring about a small change so that we can be proud of the ‘India we know’!

Vande Mataram!

First Published: Saturday, August 29, 2009 - 20:06

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