Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Largest Democracy or Banana Republic?

Few days back some bafoon from the "political circles"(?) called us a Banana Republic. Which is an understatement, if I may. It is a no-brainer. The current state of affairs is much worst... but still people went "how dare he..." nobody has the gut,s to accept the problem and then move towards the solution .. they are instead more interested in playing the "naive ostrich" ..

The first step of solving a problem is acknowledging it and admitting that, yes, there is indeed a problem .. and then looking for solutions.

If people don't allow someone to speak truth, isn't it a banana republic anyways?

We are supposed to be the largest democracy. There's no reason for me to doubt that, we may definitely be the largest, democracy on the other hand is another thing ...

The sheer size of our country and our population enables us the luxury of such titles.. largest, biggest, etc., etc.. largest democracy, largest population, largest poverty, largest migrants, largest displacements from rural to urban,... and yes, largest corruption, largest rapes, largest domestic violence, largest honor killings, largest number of politicians with criminal background... and the list goes on...

And every other time someone calls us the largest democracy .. I wonder is it really one??

Few days back, I was traveling with a group of guys, who were very much politically inclined - bhai and dada types. For about an hour, they were having a very animated discussion about the so called 'secular' politicians and how they set 'fielding'. Apparently, a current central minister from our hometown, is paying hefty sums to keep a 'non-secular' party at bay - no, no, no, his intentions are not very noble, its just to save his sorry ass - so that his vote-bank is not split! Then, there was comparison of couple of hate-mongers, from both sides!! And it seems one is from gunda background and other is a rich affluent NRI kid - now, it depends on which side you are - to label one as 'classy' and the other 'crap' - for me both are very good orators, spreading a very negative emotion - hatred! All of a sudden - for no rhyme or reason the talk steered to a topic - "scientific discussion of food-chain" - beef and pork - the Indian classics(?). No... these are not the culinary classics of this part of world - they are in fact very potent, explosive subjects, when mixed with religion and politics... (Thank God, MasterChef doesn't have such rounds)... All in all, I choose to remain a silent spectator - not because I could not reason or defend - but to keep my sanity intact... In a way, it was an eye-opener for me, a naive techie, - a glimpse of big bad world out there!

This was one of the two very animated discussions I was part of in this particular trip. The other conversation was with this gentleman pictured below. Yes, a gentleman - by comparison this illiterate villager was far more decent, personal, honest, candid and close.

I was traveling by the state transport bus while returning. And this old man joined me. What got me interested in him was his pink turban. Strangely, this guy was much more friendlier :)

 It started with regular questions about where are you from? Where are you heading? This being one of the most dry periods and with entire region facing drought, I asked him about the yield this year, how bad is the situation .. he confirmed, it really is bad this year .. their family used to have some 17 acres of lands once upon a time. Over a period of time they are now left with few acres. Father sold some, brothers fought over some and got their shares - a typical case like many others.

Now, I've always wanted to go back to villages and settle over there. Doing some farming, cattle, et all. And also learn the "ways of old" and also apply my acquired knowledge. This is one of my dreams. Hell, why not?? Okay, if not farming at least I could teach :)

I asked him casually how easy or difficult it would be to take up farming. He smiled and asked me not to throw away hard-earned money, trusting some guy to take care of your farm. People just look at it, as an investment and don't pay much needed attention. End up being cheated by caretakers. I said, I wanted to come and settle in a village and do the farming myself. He laughed aloud and told me I wouldn't be able to do it - too much of hard physical labor :)

He then asked me the most dreaded question - how much do I earn? This is a tricky one. Normally, I avoid direct answer, but this time don't know why I gave him the 'precise' figure. He advised me not to leave a good-paying job in the city and come to village.

I showed him pictures for my young ones. He asked me to show my wife's pics! I ended up showing pics of all my family. And also clicked him.

After getting down from the bus, he was lost in the crowd, btw, his name was Mahadev - god of gods... and I went home with a mixed feeling of hardships as well as camaraderie...

I don't know if we are the largest or biggest or any of those adjectives .. what I do know is - there are people, good people who need help. They deserve better conditions and better chance of survival.. how can we make a difference to the people who matter, getting past the obvious hurdles - people who are lost in this lofty adjectives and good for nothing senseless talks.. how do we become doers and not just cribbers!