Sunday, August 17, 2014

Howdy gentle readers ,

The last time that I wrote about a serious socio-political issue was way back in the August of 2011. It's about time that i come up with something new. This being the sole week in the year when all Indians turn patriotic, let this be a small contribution from my side, as an add-on to this overall patriotic fervor.

India - 68*

PM NaMo had delivered a bodacious speech at Lal Quila on the Independence day. Our vibrant media has indeed left no stone unturned in analyzing each and every single word that was uttered by him in that hour long speech. So most definitely, I'm not getting into its nitty-gritties. The wider point being that, most of these media houses did give a big thumps up to his speech. On a personal level, it did feel good to see the Prime Minister deliver an extempore speech, which was so refreshing, compared to the dull and dreary speeches we used to hear from the former Prime Ministers. This is not to say that the speech was flawless. He did  miss out on some important issues ( corruption for example ). At the end of the day, speeches are all about perceptions, and perceptions have everything to do with the listeners. Considering the popularity of NaMo in the country, it would be safe to assume that the number of people who found fault with his speech would indeed be a minority.

1947 - 2014

A Brief History of Time

( Nope. Not related to Mr.Stephen Hawking )

Lets go back in time, shall we ? To the time when the likes of  Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose & Bhagath Singh  lived. No discussion about nationalism and patriotism would be complete without paying tribute to these noble men. They fought for the idea of India, for the future of its citizenry. The wars that they waged, the struggles they went through, the countless sacrifices they made, all will stand the test of time. These men epitomizes Patriotism for me. Herein comes a set of cliched but very pertinent questions.

Are we, the future citizens for whom they fought for, upholding their values ?
Are we giving them the respect and admiration that they truly deserve ?    
Are we, as a society, forgetting the fallen martyrs ? 

"Lest we forget the fallen soldiers of yesterday"

This is the context in which we must analyze the trajectory that India took, after its hard fought independence from the British-Raj. Immediately after independence, the freedom fighters turned politicians, began to set a course for the future of India. They imagined an India free from poverty, an India where every citizen enjoyed equal rights, a prosperous and self sufficient India. The course was set and the journey started. Thus began the story of Modern India.

The initial decades after independence were the foundation years. Democracy began to flourish in India, albeit with difficulties. Growth was sluggish, but the people were optimistic. Back then, world economy wasn't as integrated as it is today. The government had tight control over most of the economic activities in the country. Decades rolled by, slowly but steadily India moved forward. By the late 80's situation had changed dramatically. India could no longer afford to be isolated from the world economy. Out of utmost necessity, India finally embraced liberalization. Growth began to pick up. Foreign and home grown business conglomerates began investing in India. Economic activities increased. From being an under developed country, India soon acquired the tag as a 'developing country'.

This sudden influx of money, and the ensuing economic hyperactivity had major impact in our developmental ideologies. Crony capitalism took over the minds of rich corporates and the ruling politicians alike. Development was no longer about poverty alleviation and social equality, rather it became a mere number at the hands of politicians and their economic advisers. The people in the lower strata of the society were the most affected. The very Government they voted to power, began neglecting them. Development became synonymous with growth rates and balance sheets. The ideals of our forefathers and the freedom fighters were forgotten.

The situation has come to such a stage that the number of poor people in India is much more than that of the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa put together. Is this the India that our freedom fighters fought for ? Even the common people are turning a blind eye to the plight of the poor. How can we, as a country and as a society move forward, if we maintain this collective apathy to the people in the lower strata of our society ?

There are no easy answers for these questions. There needs to be a complete overhaul of our mindsets. The speeches given by our politicians and leaders on poverty alleviation are nothing but empty rhetoric. A country would never be able to move forward if a huge chunk of the population doesn't even have a basic sustenance for living.

The Road Ahead,

Vision 2020 or Mirage 2020 ?

There is this book, India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium, written by our much beloved former President, Mr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam. The vision, as envisaged by him, is to make India a developed nation by the year 2020.

 A little too far fetched, a tad too improbable is all i can say to him. 

It was a vision, a dream and it would remain just so. A fairy tale dream. I don't want to sound too much as a skeptic, but reality can hit you hard. 2020 is too small a time frame for achieving such large a dream. We'll have to put decades of effort, if we ever are to become a truly developed country and society. Just wishful thinking won't do anything to change the status quo. The change will have to begin from us. Yes each one of us. Nothing short of that would do.

Inclusive Growth - The One and Only Answer.

India is the largest democracy in the world today. Many Governments have come and gone. So have the Planning Commissions and their five year plans. Did these successive governments serve the purpose ? Did these "five year plans" get executed as per the plan ?

If you consider corporate profitability as the sole criteria for measuring the success of these governments, then yes. They were highly successful. In all other respects of social justice, it just doesn't hold up. The need for the day is inclusive growth. Of course, it is the buzz word among the political class, used just to earn political brownie points. If only these ruling class and their economic advisers sit together and devise a proper strategy to bring about an inclusive growth, paving the way for a much needed social revolution, will India be able to truly become a global super power.

All hope is not lost. The wind of change is definitely blowing. People are increasingly getting frustrated by seeing poverty all around them. There is a palpable change in the attitude, particularly among the youth of our country. This will surely push the government to take concrete steps towards poverty alleviation. Let's just hope that the people in power would give as much importance to poverty alleviation as they are giving to Special Economic Zones and Industrial Corridors.

Jai Hind.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Resurrection

This was just another weekend. . .or was it ??

Weekends are time to sit back and relax. Doing nothing, or anything. Basically any stuff that you want to do. A break from the busy and monotonous schedule of  the daily grind. How life has changed. *Sigh

Speaking of life, three years ain't such a small time span. My last blog post was almost three years ago( 2 years, 9 months, and 3 days to be more specific ). Now that's something.

-Was it writer's block ?
-Writer who ??

It was just like any another day. Randomly going through the News Feed and continuing with the interactions, when all of a sudden it struck me. I don't remember the name of my blog anymore ( The very blog that i used to so passionately care about ). How hard can it actually be ? Did i get so much busy with my life that i don't even remember the name of my blog ? ( *Self Note - What the hell happened to you man ! )

This prompted me to do a self introspection. When you keep a personal blog, introspection becomes much easier. A glance through the blog, the old blog posts, the comments. It was like a peep into the past. This was all started back in 2009 with a simple post. Initially it was a platform to vent my feelings. The anger and frustrations of a teenage boy. Later on, it began changing into something else. My take on society at large ? May be ?

Things have changed in the past three years. I had gone through some deep shit, and some unbelievably good times. But i'm happy to report that the good times far outweigh the bad ones.

Life has turned into mad rush of project deadlines, status updates, daily meetings, appraisals and what not. I wish i could go back in time and be that "frustrated -just out of school- teenage boy" yet again. As it turns out, no one has invented a time machine till now.Till that happens, guess i'll have to wait.

*Those guys at CERN should be making a time machine, rather than going after the God particle.  Right ?          

Back during my early teens, me and my gang of goofs were really into this band Linkin Park. Mike Shinoda was our guiding philosopher. Okay i was kidding, there was neither a guiding philosopher nor a philosophy that we used to ascribe to.  We were just a bunch of normal teenagers, doing normal stuff. 

You must be thinking why i dragged Mr.Shinoda into this right ? Well there is this lyrics that he wrote, which has got some deep philosophical connotation.

"Time is a valuable thing
 Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings
 Watch it count down to the end of the day
 The clock ticks life away"

That effectively summarizes my past three years. It just flew by. Just like that.
Best three years of my life ? Yes. Hands down.

So coming back to my question, was this just another weekend ?
Of course not ! If you are an Indian and you replied to that question in affirmative, then shame on you. It was in this very week that  the heads of state of SAARC countries were invited for Narendra Modi's swearing in ceremony. Never before has such an invitation been sent out for a PM's swearing in ceremony. Wasn't it a diplomatic master stroke ?

I don't expect my gentle readers to really care about it, unless of course it somehow manages to remove the potholes on our roads before the onset of monsoon.

Jokes apart, personally, this is not just another weekend for me. I'll come to that.
But before that, let me do a quick survey.

Have you heard of a brand called Kohinoor ??
If not, then let me enlighten you. It's a brand of condoms available in India.
*Don't know about it's international availability.
And no. This is not an endorsement of Kohinoor condoms.

What caught my attention was it's tag line. It goes something like this,
"Create a spark,
Ignite the Passion"
Real neat right ? I love that tag line. But guess it's copyright protected. Hence i'm gonna do a little bit of tweaking and pass it on as mine.

Coming back to the pertinent question, why is it not just another weekend for me ?
Because, i'm writing a new blog post after a gap of almost three years and i hope it would create that spark in me, which would reignite the passion for writing again.

Hope to see you soon.

Peace Out.

Follow Living_Legend47 on Twitter