Sunday, August 14, 2011

India Sir, Ye ‘Cheez’ Dhurandhar!!

He was only 38-years old, had taken up the life of an ascetic but was oblivious that ‘Nirvana’ would follow soon in one of its most harrowing forms. On June 13, 2011 Swami Nigamanand left for his heavenly abode, not owing to a natural death but due to fasting for duration of 68-days!  Unlike Baba Ramdev who had taken up the cudgels against corruption by fasting in a marquee and feasting on the rabid media glare, Swami Nigamanand had gone for a path that was mellowed down in approach though it had its strings attached with a vital cause as well. If it wouldn’t have been a brazen attempt yet again on part of the Tehelka magazine, a story dated July 2, 2011, I would have never known that Swami Nigamanand didn’t care two hoots about his life as he was fighting a lone battle against the ‘Himalaya Stone Crusher’, that is hell bound on devouring the Ganga by fleecing the river of its valuable stones and pebbles.
Sisyphean role of those who are nothing less than self-proclaimed sentries of our nation and are unfortunately the lynchpin of the very democratic set-up came forth a few days back, while I was on my way to office and was somewhere between the byzantine lanes of Karol Bagh. A man who must be in his sixties or so was lying on the pavement, not a nouveau site in a place like Delhi where men often harp to ways of seeking abrogation from their woes and end up landing in a state of hallucinated stupor! What held on to everyone’s gaze was the fact that he was lying there with his pants down, the graybeard positioning himself in a manner to hide his crot**, his buttocks bearing more than evident signs of blisters, his hands joined as if seeking clemency and eyes filled with inexplicable haplessness, with his solitary presence being accompanied by the presence of two men who had their own buttocks well-concealed inside Khaki, that very garb has probably endowed them with the ability to relish such sordid instances occurring on a sporadic frequency.
From the hearth of the same res publica that is on its way to celebrate the 65th Independence Day, comes another shocking incident that is exemplary of the apathy being extended rather unflinchingly to the frothing masses, which do come under the aegis of the Charter of Rights alias the Fundamental Rights, particularly the Right to Live coming under the purview of the Article 21 of the Constitution; yet 8-year old Sonal from Ara, Bihar slipped into coma after doctors of AIIMS whisked off the boy and his parents. This grotesque insensitivity rang bells in the ears of the same curmudgeon medical practitioners when pictures of Sonal’s mother was flashed across our small screens on news channels, with the grief-stricken mother striving to put the oxygen mask in an appropriate position, her bereft state rather proclaiming the willy-nilly state of affairs on an invisible trumpet! We should rather hang our heads in shame on beholding this sordid saga, for AIIMS is regarded as one of the finest medical institutes of the country with its graduates and post-graduates being welcomed with open hands at the likes of John Hopkins, so what then give rise to such chasm? Perhaps apart from digging into copious curriculum, these buffoons in white coat should be apprised of the entities of Sensitivity and Empathy, alas! Both of them are bid farewell with an added gusto and ecstasy long way back even before Hippocrates’s Oath is mumbled out for compliance sake.

The epiphanies entwined in these instances hit straight on your face with an even higher intensity when stark contrasts to each one of them also seem to be evident, blooming in the myriad milieu of the same society pockmarked with rigid and irreversible sectionalization. Before Sonal was conscious for the last time, when he did bat an eyelid, two days prior to his condition of interminable suffering, the citizens were apprised of the health condition of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who was recuperating post-surgery abroad from an undisclosed health problem, the woman at the helm of affairs of the ruling party availing her discretion to opt for the healthcare facilities outside the very realm of the nation she claims to be a ‘Bahu’ of!

Oscar Wilde while evincing his views on the Popular form of government reverberated with these notions, “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” We were considered a land replete with schmucks breeding in every nook and corner and if Churchill’s mingy premonition were to be trusted way back in 1947, this country would not have survived for long. Amidst uncountable snafus marring the very way people wade through this  mumbo jumbo,  baffling quite a many there are other seemingly ills that could smear the visage of world’s largest democracy, posing an obvious big question mark on the way issues are being dealt with, the periphery of that decadent precinct increasing in girth with every passing day.
By the way how many of you have heard the name Kobad Ghandy before?? The name might seem clannish as if belonging to an influential, prosperous business family, if you are thinking on similar lines, you are only partially correct for Kobad Ghandy did have an impressive lineage though he put his own present and future at stake for something he firmly believed in and bore in mind, for that inner upsurge was supposed to give vent to pique looking for an aperture to express and manifest itself. September 2009, witnessed the tables turning in favor of the Indian Intelligence officials after undergoing a stodgy phase, past which they were able to nab Kobad Ghandy, one of the influential Maoist leaders whose arrest was nothing less than a triumph marked by temerity, a moment to rejoice hitherto.

What coaxed a man like Kobad Ghandy to be entrenched in the deep circles of the constabulary comprising the naxals, whose father was a top-notch executive in Glaxo, who had never known what deprivation means having been spent his childhood within the environs of a munificent house in Worli facing seaside, a product of the prestigious Doon School followed by Xavier College and bearing the credentials of having accomplished Chartered Accountancy from London; what was it that caused this man behind bars these days to take up a stand against the very State to which he owed a lot in ways more than one. What flummoxes me is the thought, why didn’t Mr. Ghandy choose to be a part of India that is eyeing to emerge as Superpower by 2020 with its GDP growth rate of 9.1%, instead of deciding to go undercover in the canopy of dense forests and delving into finding means to cause furor in the shackles of political dungeon.
According to historian Ramachandra Guha’s contention expressed in one of his essays published in the Outlook magazine dated January 31, 2011, there are three challenges of ideological nature that have emerged in due course of time into nothing less than a pestilence japing at the very set-up of the governments both at the central and the state level, these being: Hindu Fundamentalism, Communist Dictatorship and Ethnic Separatism. As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gears up to deliver his countrymen another bland-cum-rhetorical speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the bulwark bearing the brunt of the tricolor-emblazonment year after year, that has less to do with riparian effect and more with the panegyric act of the speaker right in front of the podium having a patina of bullet-proof case, literally slogging out there to make the most of it; and as these proceedings take place yet again, we mustn’t forget that out of 28-states of India, as many as 10-states including 180-distructs are grappling with the menace of Naxalism. And our Oxford-returned Home Minister, P. Chidambaram tries to pacify us by offering his words of wisdom, that this is in fact just a law & order problem, with the Dantewada incident in 2010 killing as many as 76 CRPF jawans, the ruthless ambush attack on the entire battalion nothing less than a shtick on the flimsy blue-print we’ve seem to have been prepared to combat these scraggy men with strength enough to handle AK-47 rifles, well, we had a Salwa Judum to alleviate those fears, and gloat with the feeling of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth kind of hollow feeling.

I didn’t choose intentionally, the eve of Independence Day to write paeans on naxals or those mortals, who despite being an intricate part of the very eco-system you and I inhabit, are leading lives synonymous with gross penury; but then no clarion call would ever peal loudly enough to apprise you of the growing state of Dystopia, the country is propelling itself into. While there is a large chunk of our brethren who are swooning around life as if it’s nothing but a palooza to be enjoyed to the hilt, yes, that is the mirage we really identify ourselves with, the Forbes 2011 coming up with around 65 billionaires belonging to Indian origin, more than the last year and the turf being cultivated to appear as a hotbed for more to pop up belonging to the same clan.
As per the data of the Institute of Economic Growth, the Indian population would be growing by 400 million between 2000 and 2025, 86% of this burgeoning populace would be in the age group 15-64, that’s being touted as another reason why we should stay rest assured that the time of our trundler, the Elephant has in fact come in an unfathomable way! Really?? Contrary to this belief that’s sort of caressing our senses for we do want to keep a safe enough distance when it’s about gerontology, there came another report in 2010 released by the World Economic Forum, that mentions about the acute shortage of skilled labor that developing nations like India would be confronted with twenty years down the line. Yikes! Double Yikes!! We would be young enough to give a challenge to aging China, but wouldn’t know how to fiddle with the gushing gusto and enthusiasm, for apart from imparting Degrees that are nothing less than paper-backs making for the entire duration spent at so-called haven that have done nothing than profligate time and money, suppressed every bud of creativity and innovation and when looked at the macro-picture have contributed into the country in escalating in its stature and emerging as the Service Economy when the emphasis should have been to channelize the helter-skelter into becoming a Manufacturing Economy. For that matter, ever wondered how many Fortune-100 companies pride themselves as those belonging to Bharat!!!

Desh mera rangrez ye babu, ghat-ghat yahan ghatta jaadu”, that’s how the wonky state of affairs was smirked at in the recent flick, ‘Peepli Live’. Food-Food channel is being launched with much gung-ho in a country that has nearly 40% of its population malnourished, the number of hungry people growing by 65-million since 1990, the very year that marked the onset of the economic reforms ushering in an era of liberalization; not to forget the stoic Irom Sharmila who has hadn’t even a morsel for the past ten years, sticking to her demand for the draconian AFSPA to be repealed from the North-Eastern states; in a muddle of the cases that relegates our Courts to being nothing less than establishment dealing with one of the most highest pendency in the world we still have our eyes fixed on the kooky ongoing of ‘Rakhi ka Insaf’, is there any provision whereby we can just send the lady for an indefinite period of exile to Papua New Guniea??
And you always thought that 15th August was just another holiday to give you respite from the drilling rooster, a day to catch up with some more of sleep, hop down to catch up with the latest monsoon sale in another sprawling mall in your neighborhood, or just say YES to Independence Day event on a social networking site, hmm, you can shrug your shoulders and say, Dude, I’m done with it!

Ram Prasad Bismil penned down these lines when he refused to capitulate to the throes of the tyrannical forces of the British,
हम भी आराम उठा सकते थे घर पर रह कर,
हमको भी पाला था माँ-बाप ने दुःख सह-सह कर ,
वक्ते-रुख्सत उन्हें इतना भी आये कह कर,
गोद में अश्क जो टपकें कभी रुख से बह कर ,
तिफ्ल  उनको  ही  समझ  लेना  जी  बहलाने  
Before you think that an obeisance to the nation has been paid in bounty by merely allowing the pinna to assimilate some of those patriotic numbers, do introspect, for oblivion is the root cause of a greater catastrophe not only for the state but also for those who inhabit it.

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