I sometimes feel ours is a very peculiar country. It’s rather the people and not the country I should be terming peculiar (or flimsy maybe); because a country after all is a reflection of the people who live in it.
I got down the taxi this morning and was settling the payment when I noticed a sticker of the Indian flag pasted on the windshield of the taxi. It should really not be called as the Indian flag because it was pasted upside down. I told the driver that the flag is incorrectly pasted and the tricolor has to be saffron then white followed by green and not the other way. He looked at the sticker and then at me in a questioning manner but made no attempt to pull and correct the sticker. I walked back thinking; here was a man proudly displaying the national flag but did not know how the flag actually looked like. It was incorrect no doubt but that does entitle him to be reprimanded? There are many who think of the tricolor only twice in the entire year; on the republic day and on the Independence Day, salute the flag, have sweets and go home. Students want to fly out of the country for their graduation/ post graduation and settle there even if it means getting beaten in the foreign country. The worst I feel is the behavior of people sitting for strikes and hartals, who damage buses and other public properties while their strike is for some totally unconnected reason. These same people, after the strike is over, wait at the bus stop for hours cursing the government for the lack of public transport in our country compared to foreign countries. Film makers and actors are probably the most attracted lot. It’s a rarity these days if a movie is completely shot within the country. Our film makers and actors die for a Hollywood recognition while a foreign movie by chance shot in our country makes front page news. I think, if only our actors instead of singing and dancing in a foreign country have the same shows in the grossly neglected north eastern states, it will go a long way in uniting the country. Maybe after 300 years of being ruled by foreigners we have unknowingly developed a liking for them. We seem to want to look, act and be like the same people we drove out 60 years back.
The words Integrity and unity seem to reside only in the speeches of our politicians these days. Nobody seems to have the time to put them in action. I have come across international maps showing some Indian states as disputed territory or even as a part of our neighboring countries. But all our politicians seem to care about is the number of states which thankfully for them has been increasing since independence. Hunger strike which was used as a means to unite the country and drive out the foreigners from our land is now been used to disintegrate the country. Our politicians seem to be more worried about what they will do in case they do not win the elections. In my personal opinion, this worry has pushed them to think of ways and means to disintegrate the country and create more states; because their chance of being employed is high only then.
I remember reading a news bit which said more than 200 million people go hungry everyday in India. Some estimates also say every third Indian goes to sleep hungry. No doubt with so many politicians and their followers sitting for hunger strikes for all petty reasons all over the country, these numbers seems realistic.
~Narendra V Joshi