You and Me

You’ll kill me here.
I’ll kill you there.
Together we’ll kill some good number of people.
Will rape some more girls.
Destroy some more temples, mosques and churches.

And then we’ll argue who started it first.
In 10th century, 12th or 15th?
Or even before religion was born.
Mine was born first. No, it’s mine.

Till then, mothers will cry.
Widows will curse.
And kids will lose their childhood.
Who cares.

I am too busy finding out who started it.
I don’t have time to think who’d end it.

Can Direct Democracy work in India?

When we were in schools, may be from third or fourth standard onwards; my dad introduced a rule. We were couple of kids growing up in a joint family. And the source of income was limited. So, though we all needed books, pens, shoes and socks at the same time, it was not possible to fulfill all of them at the same time. So, the rule set by him was you people sit together and decide which one is more important. He used to keep a tab on us: we were not allowed to go out of control.

And strangely enough, when I look back now, I found it really worked. We learnt to prioritize needs, understand each other and learned to be empathetic. We learned how to make budget and make even a small budget work for managing the need of all of us.

Now, for those who are telling that direct democracy as proposed by Arvind Kejriwal will not work in India, I know this is a too simplistic and naïve example. But I truly believe it works if you can make people understand the value of democracy and make them empathetic towards others. It’s a tough job but not an impossible one.

In direct democracy, you are entitled to decide what you need and how you want to get it. For example, there would be a mohalla sabha where people of the locality will meet and decide what they need. Like, is it a new school, a cardiac surgeon in the local hospital or a renovation of the road. They’d know the total budget and will decide the priority accordingly. Now a general perception is people will decide driven by their own petty interest, or worse, they’d not be able to decide at all as they would not be able to reach to any consensus. But I dont quite believe that. People will learn to decide what is most required for them and also for others if you give them power and engage properly.

But it would not work if you can’t behave in utmost transparent way. People will never be empathetic to another bunch of people who don’t care the fact that the other bunch is giving their hard earned money for the development of them and they need to behave responsible with that money. Simply adding up numbers in family recklessly will not make things easy. You cannot convince a person to be empathetic towards a fellow countryman who doesn’t understand the value of his fellow countryman’s hard earned  money.

Next step is to engage people. In the current system, we are not engaged at all or rather negatively engaged in the democratic processes. Nobody bothers to ask us whether we want to buy some product from wallmart or not, forget about what should be the price of rice or dal. If we are actively engaged in whether I need to have a school for my kid in my locality or do we need more buses to ply, who will not take interest in democratic process?

 

But it’s not that easy. Years of apathy has not born out of the blue. It came from people being kept out from the process for hundreds of years. The first job is to show them that they can. They can not only make kings, they can themselves become kings. They can make schools, hospitals and their roads. They can decide the price of commodities and their pension amount. And all they need to do is to give their effort and energy to build it.

It is even tougher in a nation like us: a multi-ethnic nation with burden of reservation in its worst form. You can divide people easily and make them work against each other. We have to, we a handful few have to live our life and show the rest how to live. We have to have exemplary people, dedicating and sacrificing their lives for the ideal we believe in. And then only people will believe that it can happen. It sounds too idealistic. But it can happen. When Subhas Bose escaped from his Kolkata home, nobody could believe he would travel through half the world to make INA and enter through Imphal to free mother India. If you put me in that scenario even right now, I’d also not believe that it can happen. But he did it. And showed that impossible can be done. When Gandhiji told I’ll take all the beatings but will never revert back, nobody believed that taking beating from an alien govt can bring in freedom. When Bhagat Singh told dropping a bomb in assembly in such a way that it will not kill anybody will awaken the country, who could have believed it? But all these things happened.

 

So, why can’t we? I know it’s tough. But in all the ages, through all times, it has been proved in the world that if something can happen, it is THE IMPOSSIBLE. So, let’s just dream the impossible. And make it happen.

Let the punchline of Indian youth for the coming years be “Martyrs needed, apply within.”

NO QUESTION STATE

There is a big agitation going on in India. In the heart of the capital, hundreds of people are fasting for last seven days and every day, hundreds and thousands of people are coming out in street and protesting. But the news is nowhere in media: no news channel, no newspaper, nowhere. Majority of Indians are leading a normal life, going to office, having family dinner, going to movies and malls and enjoying good wine!

What is the protest for? A 75 year old social activist is asking for a strong anti-corruption law from the government. Corruption is something which affects each and every Indian every day, every second. Even if you buy a single matchbox, you pay tax and more than 50% of that tax money goes to the pocket of the politicians illegally, in a corrupt way. We have scams of crores of rupees in our country, which means crores of rupees have been siphoned out from our hard earned money, over the years. And it is being done every day, every second. So, what makes us people remaining so oblivious to this movement? It is a problem that hurts me daily, for years. So, why are Indians have such apathy for protesting against his own money being looted?

Indians have a cultural problem. Since childhood, we are never taught to question. We teach our children to obey! Obey your parents, obey your teachers, obey the social and religious norms. Don’t question. And we feel a great amount of satisfaction if we have obedient children! We call them “sanskaris”! We feel proud that our children have not learnt to question parents, teachers, system, religious and social norms! And here starts the problem.

Our children forget that questioning is the most essential part of being alive. If you don’t question, you are more dead than alive. We raise, by generations, children who are dead since birth. We tell them to fold the hands and pray, but never allow them to ask why the prayer needs to be done with folded hands. We teach them to respect elders, but never teach them to question their moral and ethical standard. We never teach them that respect doesn’t lie in age, it lies in quality.

Children grow up and forget that they need to be informed to live; they don’t need information because they are not going to question any ongoing process. So, they remain ignorant about society. They remain ignorant about people around, their suffering, worse, their own suffering! They don’t even know they are victims! They just know how much is needed to live: money, cars, square feet price and address of multiplexes! And days go on. They beget children; they teach their children the same thing.

 

This is what India is today: a bunch of uninformed, non-questioning zombies. There may be children dying out there hungry and cold beside his own home, and he enjoys his movie with family in LCD 42” TV. It doesn’t make any difference to them, because they’d never question “Why do they need to die?” He doesn’t know questions exist in this world!

We have converted India to a perfect No-Question State with our sanskars and haggard culture. And so, things will keep on happening, people will die, people who are worn out, people who dare to raise question in this no-question state. And majority will enjoy their life, unaware of the fact that they are the victims for whom these handful people raised the question!

And if you are part of that handful questioning, you’ll suffer beyond limit, get cornered by the corrupt system, get thrashed and die unnoticed! Zombies will enjoy their no-question life and poorest of the poor will keep dying out of hunger and suffering!

 

Hope the number of this handful increase with years. Hope they raise children who can learn to question. Let it take decades, but let it happen! And let the zombies be outnumbered by the people who dare to question!

Amen.