Thursday, January 17, 2008

Slaves Again

As a new year arrived and made itself comfortable, three thinkers – two of my friends and I – decided to offer it a beverage as a mark of our hospitality to guests…a stimulant…a stimulating conversation. Presented here is the decoction from one of the threads and the coffee I prepared thereafter.

We were talking about the status quo of the Indian Government. It is common knowledge that today the government is concerned only about staying in power and all its actions and decisions are aligned towards that singular purpose. No policy is examined from the perspective of whether it is beneficial or harmful but rather whether it will help uphold their image, whether it will help garner votes and create long-standing vote-banks. Consequently, either age-old policies are continued with for the fear of upsetting a multitude of maniacs who will go on rampage in revolt or, worse still, retrogressive policies are brought-in in the name of equality, fairness and justice. The Opposition takes itself very seriously and literally and keeps ‘opposing’ whatever the government proposes without any analysis, giving baseless reasons for their criticism thinking that it will boost their image as an ‘intellectual’ lot. And the government keeps ignoring what the Opposition says (even if, by some fortunate turn of events, what they say makes sense) since they are the Opposition and they are just not supposed to agree with each other. The hapless nation and its people, for whom (ideally) the policies should be framed, are left behind watching the numerous Parliamentary sessions where this mindless game is played and millions of rupees of the taxpayer’s money is wasted everyday.

It reminds me of a possible scenario in household where the birth of a newborn has just shifted the equations a little – the baby is crying for a change or food or whatever, and the young couple is fighting over whose responsibility it is to take care of it…they keep fighting to reach a conclusion – the result will affect all such situations in the future when the baby is crying again – meanwhile, the baby continues to be wet or hungry and suffers. India today is like that baby – the government and opposition are only interested in proving who wronged the nation in what way the last (useless) time and how they will set it right in the future. And they are so busy doing this that doing anything else (like implementing policies for example) is just not possible in the short time span of 5 years!

From the existing records of history one realizes that the (so-called tyrants) Mughals especially Emperor Akbar had this practice of bringing-in a variety of viewpoints into their courts. There used to be a set of people, intellectuals we would call them, whose job was to critically examine the policies that the Royal Court was planning to implement – analogous to Opposition today. The suggestions of these intellectuals were then discussed by the Emperor and efforts made to incorporate them.
Even in the courts of the Indian Kings long before India came under any external occupation, there used to be a set of people representing various religions along with a special set of agnostic (atheistic) people. The agnostics were supposed to debate upon the various aspects of religion that the religious representatives or the King might have and make the picture complete. Their opinions were respected and heard…they were not beheaded for having religious (or non-religious) ideas of their own as happens today. In all these courts, there was a mandate that everyone would hear everyone else’s opinion and not oppose it…even if they wanted to oppose it, they would have to be very respectful in doing so.
Today, with politicians licensing murder as punishment for simply believing in another God, we have come a long (and need I say wrong) way off from the days of yore when there were wise kings and leaders and everybody was free even if they were subjects of another human being.

Sometimes one wonders, were we really suffering under those Kings and Emperors (or even the British for that matter) or are we much worse off today! Some of India’s best literature and art came in the times of the Mughals. Oh hell they gave us the Taj which we Indians (barring a few fanatics who are hell bent on proving that a Shiva temple existed under where the Taj is…some jobless bloke’s Tejo Mahalaya theory…another Ayodhya in the making? Another Babri in the offing? Makes me sick) so proudly flaunt to the world!
The British ended up leaving a legacy that is today the lifeline of this nation – the world’s largest railway network and Cricket…half of the Indians practically live on it and India is known better as a Cricketing nation than anything else. We were all equal under them…we were all slaves. Was it that bad other than the fact that the Human Rights guys may not have liked the sound of it? We are not better off under our Politicians today…free for the sake of being called so…being killed for opinions…being discriminated against in every way possible…being practically looted in the name of Tax yet no difference being made to the lives of those who have been waiting for it.

Politicians are public servants…their shoulders should be burdened with the responsibilities that their position brings…they have the trust of at least half the nation who care to walk, limp or be carried to voting centres and bring them in power and that should be intimidating…they should be bowing down with humility not walking around in arrogance…who are they if the people who bring them in power stop exercising their choice? Where would they be but for all the money they have embezzled from a hard-working multitude who have no choice but to pay tax (thanks to TDS)? And yet, all they can think about is ‘I, Me, Myself’ with no realization of what they ought to do and how horribly wayward they have gone…while We, The People languish in one way or another.

We united against the British to set ourselves free…we are in shackles again…we are slaves of these Politicians…both used the Divide-And-Rule policy and we fell for it…time and again…and the colonies of the British are analogous to the Vote Banks today…nothing has changed…only the context.

When are we going to exercise the supposed power that Democracy brings to the people…the ‘Of The People, By The People, For The People’ crap? When are we going to stop letting them make wrong decisions for us? When are we going to stop killing our brothers at the call of some power-hungry fanatic leader and unite to break these chains? When are we going to stop being Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Tamilians, Gujaratis, Bengalis, Punjabis, left-wing, right-wing, and any of the million other identities that are possible in this country and be Indians again? When?


d SINNER!!! said...

a nutshell of so many thots....slice them and one can get layers and layers of questions....

commendable indeed!!!

Vinni said...

there is one thing i feel very strongly about. the british might have harmed us in many ways, but if it were not for them we would still be travelling in bullock carts.
we need get away from the mindset of british are bad.

Sowmya said...

A good article...

But I was disappointed at the piece about Taj...

My father has read the book that was published and then banned by the government.....for the same bloody votebank....this book told about the fact (I believe in it) that there was a shiva temple indeed.. the exteriors were modified to resemble a mosque..

do u know how many women akbar had? 5000. only jodha bai entered his nuptial twice.. the rest, only once......most of the mughal emperors had many many women.... that being the case, why would a shah jahan build a monument for one of those several women, a monument that required so many resources and humoungous effort??

and why do you call these people fanatics? as you have said, everyone has a right to an opinion??
what if they were really right? would you not give them a chance? we know that indian history was written by chinese travellers and not by indians... these travellers who enjoyed the hospitality of the ruling kings, could not have written the complete truth... they would be obliged or compelled to write in favour of the king.....