Grim Reality Of A Great Democracy

Written by Malvika Singh | Updated: May 24 2003, 05:30am hrs
Nitish Kumar is a bad CEO of the Railways. He has mismanaged the organisation and allowed it to slide into total anarchy. The number of mishaps in his tenure beat all records. In any private sector company, performance such as his would have ensured his dismissal from the top post but he continues in the chair, ordering one farcical inquiry after another as innocent people continue to be brutalised. It is now hugely dangerous to travel by train and road. No norms are adhered to and we seem to be the only country in the world that cannot enforce rules to make life safe.

In Delhi, Blueline buses kill citizens relentlessly and get away with it. Road rules do not apply to any vehicle and loony, spaced out drivers who look like recently released criminals ply the roads at speeds that are untenable. The authorities look on passively. A Rs 10,000 fine for breaking a road rule would bring all these lunatics to their senses. A fine of Rs 100 is no good at all. It is when he is behind the steering wheel that the otherwise insecure Indian male finds his self-confidence. He goes berserk in an attempt to prove something to himself. It is a psychological disorder.

The many levels of criminality that have overwhelmed our society, particularly the cities and towns, make living in India a nightmare. There is no way this country will move forward and revert to being a civilised nation till the leadership, of whatever hue, takes it upon itself to make life dignified for the citizenry. That should be priority number one. Only when the babu becomes a mere functionary and ceases to hold us to ransom will India move. Radical policy changes, new initiatives, creative marketing nothing will make an impact as long as the babu remains.

This strange animal is the human barrier that prevents growth and the inept politician takes cover behind these destructive individuals. The survival instinct of these fellows is quite remarkable and, till they are compelled to go out and find new grazing grounds, our country is doomed. Maybe we should export them and create space for growth, development and change.

The mind boggles each time one reads the newspapers. A judge is caught taking a bribe but he has immunity! This is a true joke and makes a mockery of everything. In other words you can openly be a crook, a defaulter, a criminal as long as you are amongst those privileged citizens who have immunity. No laws apply. Great. Parliamentarians have immunity, judges have immunity, cabinet ministers have immunity and the list goes on. No accountability, only immunity. We really are a great democracy. Basically, all those in authority have immunity! The citizens are the herds of cattle that are led to the slaughter house, morning, night and noon. The trouble is that we accept our second and third class status and in the process we have allowed this great culture of ours to be sucked into a poisonous quagmire.

It is normal to read about innocent people being shot dead for all kinds of inane reasons. Murders have become commonplace and dowry deaths are on the increase. Reports from Bangalore, supposedly a modern and prosperous city, show it up as a parochial and criminal place as far as dowry harassment is concerned. These vulnerable women and their families are helpless. No point of reference, no justice. And we are in year 2003.

There is nothing celebratory in the news that hits us each day. Grim real life stories, grim realities, killings, bribery and corruption, base politics, governmental ineptitude with constant policy rollbacks and heaven knows what else, India does not figure in the psyche of the world. We are a dead story. Even those few who came to explore the past of this country are beginning to shun it because of the tedium of travel. Nothing is normal and easy. It always requires huge amounts of patience and energy to do the obvious things that are a given anywhere else in the world. This is no place for a vacation and definitely not for an unwind. India has to reinvent itself.