Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Whats Patriotism About?

There is something very badly messed up in this country.

A fast opening, freer economy is building up our metros. We have better, more lavish showrooms, larger and larger malls, larger brand-names. And I feel like we’re getting somewhere. Maybe we’re getting better ourselves. Our India shines. Or atleast its glimmering at the edges.

But there’s a very strange and ominous flip-side. Not poverty or the rural classes and their troubles with everyday life. This is one which has crept up on us, catching us unawares as I browsed, hooked onto my iPod, through bookstores and walking through malls. It has floated in through the window as you watched tv shows beamed directly from the US, on a flat-screen television on EMI, in a room set up with tasteful, imported furniture.

Insane, corrupt, and good-for-nothing politicians screen shows and movies on television. Objectionable scenes are deleted and the so-called improper words are silenced, so as to not affect our tender minds and sway us to misdeeds. Indian TV shows, the ones that pass unedited, are unanimously all the same filth. Each one excruciatingly painful to my mindset and my mentality. They run year after year. I don’t know one person who really cares about them.

A woman gets attacked in a busy Kolkata street, and not one person moves to help her. I thought we here were better. But every place seems to get colder and drawn into its own self, as it ‘progresses’.

In other states, people in power ban schoolboys from shaking hands with schoolgirls. Its all to stop us from indulging in evils and curb our immoral behavioural tendencies. And I thought the purpose of co-ed schools was to enable healthier, more mature relations with growing boys and girls. Laws such as these get passed, and other people recommend it for under-grad colleges as well, to prevent basically any chances of anything whatsoever happening. I wonder if its all a joke, and if The Onion has taken over running the world.

We cant allow an industry to establish itself in our state, developing a revolutionary new car, because it will take away farm land. The fact that underdeveloped farmland instead of thriving industry is whats keeping people poor, is not a consideration. Or maybe it is, for don’t we get most of our blind votes from these illiterate masses?

The premier colleges of the nation are to implement majority quotas for minority students, lowering their standards. What happens? We go abroad, and then stay there. People do come back of course, and do good things. But I think that will stop someday. We stand by, watching them at it, our hands tied by backward regulations and stop-gap situation rules.

Solutions are stopped by religious sentiment, by political interests, and infernal things like Mamata Banerjee and Sushma Swaraj.

I feel swept away in a tide of capitalistic brilliance. Mukesh Ambani becomes a trillionaire, and I feel great for the country. Its a good thing, as any economist would tell you. McDonalds finally comes to Kolkata, and I feel hip. Coffee places and hangouts sprout up on every road. Auto-rickshaws start running on gas, and I feel like maybe we are moving ahead. Import duties on electronics goods fall, and I see fruit-vendors slinging cell-phones around their necks. My net connection stays with me, even as we drive up around the mountains of North Bengal on vacation. Every evening, we upload our snaps onto the virtual platform offered by my laptop, and we feel we’re so much better than we were. The real truth, of what is happening to my country, just passes from under us. The facts sneak past one by one, slowly and in camouflage.

I was watching a movie, Masti (starring like you care who), and most of the dialogues were snipped off and silenced. And I felt insulted. I read the papers, and found out about those schools in Madhya Pradesh, and the political lobbying for yet another puppet to be called President. I felt degraded. Banks, offering wonderful loans on low interest rates, employ thugs to get the money back by blackmail and kidnapping. What really is safe huh? Meanwhile, Zee News talks about men and women getting equal pay at Wimbledon this year. And we "Yay!!" for gender equality.

Something is very messed up in this country.

1 comment:

Dhruv said...

The greatest attempts made by us at answering that one simple question, "What is wrong with our country?" would only capture the essence in a nutshell.