Democracy, politics and all that jazz

parliamThere has been recently a lot of debate, discussion, protests and also some incidents of violence in India. News channel are nowadays having a discussion every other hour. I believe India being a democracy can afford to have such discussions among its people provided they do not resort to violence and they do not violate the law of the land. India is lucky to have very little corruption and almost total independence in higher judiciary. The internet has almost made it impossible to silence the views of both the right and the left .

I feel that neither the right nor the left can be totally silenced and nobody should even try to do so. Much to the chagrin of both the ultra-right and the ultra-left India is a democracy. We can say we have a revolution every five years where a new elected government takes over the reigns from another elected government. The subsequent governments may be polar opposites when it comes to ideology but still the country lives on. The aspirations of the people may change with time and the huge electorate of this country may favor different ideologies at different periods of time.

These days strange binaries are being created by political organizations for their vested interests. Facts are being twisted and things are interpreted to suit the whims and fancies of certain political institutions.Everything is being assumed to be in either black or white. However very rarely is it ever black or white in the real world. Most of the time reality is composed of different shades of grey. Everything is relative more or less.

The entire right or the entire left is not bad. We must allow each of them space to have a say in our democracy provided one does not try to silence the other by using violence. Our constitution has allowed both of them to be part of the political process. Barring the extreme versions of the right and the left, I hope they will continue to represent the aspirations of the people they represent in our political process and will thus enrich our democracy in perpetuity.

Clean India

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On the ocassion of the birth anniversary of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today initiated the Swach Bharat campaign. While it is a welcome step, many questions and doubts remain about the campaign and its efficiency remains to be seen in the coming years. Mahatma Gandhi had understood the importance of cleanliness and sanitation during his time. Even now the importance of cleanliness and sanitation cannot be emphasized any further.

We Indians are almost always pleasantly surprised to see the extreme levels of cleanliness in foreign countries. This have been achieved in those countries mostly because of the awareness of people in keeping their surroundings neat and clean and in some cases due to punishment abetted to people who litter as in the case of Singapore. It is a shame that we cannot replicate the same in our country even after six decades of independence.

In such circumstances the step taken by the Prime Minister needs to be appreciated, whether it achieves its intended objective or not remains to be seen. The steps suggested by the PM if followed even with fifty percent efficacy can do wonders for the country. The involvement of celebrities in the movement will serve to inspire more people to join the campaign. However holding the broom should not become a photo opportunity for social media crazy people.

Many people litter all around, however the involvement of educated people in doing such things is a worry sign for the country. If the citizens themselves are not aware of the importance of cleanliness no campaign will succeed. We can all hope for the best for the PM’s Swach Bharat movement and should continue to maintain cleanliness as our civic responsibility and should all those who litter around. The enthusiasm of the movement should not decrease with time and the same enthusiasm should be maintained all through till the aim of a clean India is realized.

A memorable visit to “Jesus Home”

I was in class five and our winter vacation had started. I was just reading comics, while I lay on my bed. It was a holiday for me but my dad had office so I was with my mom at home. I heard our main gate creaking. I jumped out of my bed to answer the knock on my door. There were two guys in their twenties standing at our doorstep with some big bags. The two men looked like the tribal people of Assam.

They asked for my mom. I called her at once. They were speaking in broken Hindi and possibly Nagamese, a language which is a concoction of mostly Assamese with a tinge of the local language of Nagaland. My mother couldn’t understand them much and suspicious about their intention, asked them in Hindi to go to some other place.I, on my instincts, tried to talk in English with them. Being brought up in a missionary school for about five years inadvertently makes you capable of conversing in the global language. I came to know the intention of the guys soon. They said they had come for collecting donation and clothes for people affected by drug addiction and children rendered orphans by drug addiction. My family was not that well economically as we were from the middle class. So hearing the word ‘donation’, my mom immediately said that she had sympathy for the work they were doing but she couldn’t give them money. They accepted our answer and gave us some pamphlets and the address of their institution, an NGO named “Jesus Home”, and told us that if we felt we could help them in any way, not necessarily monetarily, but by giving old clothes, we could go visit their NGO.

In the evening when my dad came home, I told him about the visitors. He read the pamphlets. I being an only child had many old clothes and since all of my cousins at that time were older than me, my old clothes were accumulating in our drawers. My dad thought this was a good opportunity to donate those and make a difference to the lives of some fellow human beings. It was decided by my dad that on the coming Saturday, being the second Saturday of the month and a holiday for him, he would go to donate my old clothes along with some of his to this NGO. But I insisted adamantly that he take me along with him to that place. My mom tried to scare me saying that addicts even after attending rehab were dangerous, and even scolded me on my repeated insistence. But I held on to my stubbornness and they eventually gave in to my demand.

The Saturday arrived and I and my dad started our journey to this Jesus Home. On the way, my dad brought me some chocolates. We got into the office and my dad enquired where to donate the clothes. The warden or supervisor of the home called some guys. One of those guys had been at our house. I recognized him and he smiled at me. We gave him our clothes. We could hear some children singing; I asked him where the source of this sound was. He said the children, most of them orphans, were practicing for Christmas. I wanted to see their practice.
With my dad’s approval, I went with the guy; whose name I came to know was David, to see the practice. They were all singing seriously. I felt sorry to disturb their practice. David introduced me to the kids. All the kids smiled and some of them shook hands with me. I was greatly moved because I thought them to be hostile and belligerent because of their upbringing. But I was proven wrong. They were the friendliest people I had ever met, even friendlier than some of the boys in our school. I was happy and sad at the same time; happy for I had come to visit them and could help them and, sad for I harbored grave misconceptions about them and the bad luck they had to endure. I wanted to do something more for them. Suddenly I remembered that I had chocolates with me. I distributed them among the children. By giving the chocolates I tried to bring a little happiness and sweetness in their bitter lives. I parted by wishing them goodbye and Christmas cheer. They along with David invited me on Christmas. I happily obliged and went to our home with my dad.

I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at BlogAdda.com in association with Tata Capital.

Independence

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Sipping tea Suresh was uninterestedly watching the news . Tomorrow being independence of India, the news channels were all filled with information and trivia regarding Independence day. He was simply bored so he turned off the idiot box and switched to reading newspaper. It was filled with the usual stuff about parliament being disrupted, scams, scandals and the like. Suresh now pondered to think what have come out of this independence.

The poor were still poor and rich continued being richer although there were some noteworthy exceptions. As he was born after independence of India he couldn’t relate to the independence struggle as his father did. His small shop was enough to feed his small family of three and save a little for his daughter’s education and marriage.

As he was pondering over all these things his wife came to take the dishes of his tea and snacks. Seeing his wife he was sudddenly forced into thinking about the plight of women in a country where the country is symbolised as a mother as in “Bharat Mata”. Yet in such a country women were still not safe to move freely, where in the name of tradition, superstition, dowry and honour women are still being killed. His daughter came to him asking him some questions about her geography assignment. He answered and explained as much as he could. The small girl was satisfied and got back to writing her assignment.

Answering about his daughter’s assignments he was forced to ponder what have come of the states of the indian nation. Demand for newer states were rising and who knows how many times geography textbooks may have to be changed in the coming years. He then thought about education scenario and how tough the competition was nowadays and although literacy levels has risen but still the amount of universities and centres for higher education were abysmally small compared to the amount of students. What else can be expected of a country where the lawmakers spend little in higher education and more in giving poison ridden mid-day meals through scam infested networks of middle-men.

While thinking all these things it was time for dinner. As he sat on the dining table he wondered about the price rise specially of vegetables. Onion was an expensive vegetable now which he could not afford often. Yet without expensive spices and vegetables the food was great because his wife, like most Indian housewives was adept in making delicious things out of simple and cheap ingredients. As was his custom he switched on the TV . Again there were these hippocrites blaming each other on national television for the lack of development and scams taking place in the country. It left a bad taste on his tongue, so he quickly finished his meal. After that he wished his wife and daughter goodnight and went to his bed. As he laid down he thought that India as an entity may have been free of foreign colonists but Indians are still at large not free, only the foreign colonists made way for indigenous colonists.

As he proceeded to pray before going to sleep. He wondered how amongst all these chaos and scams and injustices India still continued to remain united and functioning as a single entity. Maybe it was God’s grace that made this country survive for almost 66 years after independence from British rule. And resigning the fate of the country to God he went off to sleep.