Genre: Current Affairs
So, yesterday Mumbai once again witnessed serial bomb blasts. 1993, 2003, 2005, 2008 and now again. Once again the common citizens of the city have lost lives even as the culprit of the previous attacks enjoys VIP treatment in special jail and the netas of the state "offer deep condolences", their lazy fat asses safely tucked behind a wall of security personnel. This has reached a stage when I no longer feel enraged at the terrorists doing these attacks. The rage is entirely towards the spineless incapable government, of the state as well in Delhi. As someone had rightly said, Civilizations fall not so much because of the strength of the enemy outside, as through the weakness and decay within.
Now the moment I say this, some smart Alec will come up with the straight-out-of-Civics-textbook statement that "it is we who elected this government, so whatever is happening is our fault, and next time we should ensure we bring the right people to power". True, very true theoretically, but if only things were as simple as that in reality. Did "we" really elect this government to power? Talking of myself, I did not. In the last election, many of us did not vote for the well-known corrupt candidate. We went by the "We want change" principle and voted for an IIT engineer who was contesting the election with the utopian idea of "Be the change you want to see". But what happened? He lost badly and like every time, the same corrupt politician won the election. How? Votebanks. In this "largest democracy in the world", most of the winners are decided much ahead of the election date. How and why does this happen?
Take an example. Before every election, a politician from a certain party visits a slum locality near my residence and offers the people living there a cash incentive and foodgrains to vote for him. If he did this to me, it wouldn't swing me in favour of voting for him, because for me principles matter more than the money. But does the same apply for my maid who lives in that slum? No. For her, the money matters more than principles. Why? Because she is poor. Why? Because she is uneducated. Can I do something about this? Yes, encourage her to send her kids to school so that they don't get pulled into this same quicksand. In the meantime, how do the existing politicians afford to spend so much money on their votebanks? Because they are shamelessly corrupt and accumulate millions of rupees in bribes. Can we stop this? Theoretically yes. How? By getting a strong anti-corruption bill passed in the Parliament. Will it happen? No. Why? Because the sitting MPs will reject any bill that plugs their "source of income". Why? Because they are in power and they can unanimously do what they want to. Can we remove them from power and get someone else in? Theoretically yes, but practically nearly impossible. Why? Because they have vote banks. Why do so many people vote for corrupt politicians for money? Because they are poor. Why? Because they have not got enough opporunities to get educated. Can we get them all educated? Possible, but a Herculean task. Will the existing government want to sincerely do it? No. Because that would mean digging their own grave. Why educate everyone and make them rise up to vote on principles and get thrown out of power when its easier to "buy" their votes with little money?
In short, this is a very messy vicious spiral. If India aspires to truly become a world superpower, this spiral has to stop. How to do it is a very difficult question to answer but someone has to do it. Someone who? We, the citizens of India. We need to realize voting is not the only way to bring about change. Do we have that potential to bring about the change? Yes, we do. Incidentally, the people of India showed what potential they have to come together and unite for a cause yesterday itself, in the aftermath of the serial bomb blasts. While the TV news channels were busy shouting out irrelevant stuff about how they were the first to report the blasts and assorted bullshit, scores of unknown heroes, common men and women from across the country, had risen to the occasion to quickly send out accurate information and help anyone and everyone in need, on Twitter. Within minutes of the blasts, hundreds of unnamed citizens had given out their phone numbers and addresses on the social networking site offering complete strangers either a place to come over to stay, a ride back home from work, food, first aid, blood etc. Someone came up with this brilliant idea of collecting this information from the tweets into a Google doc spreadsheet and within one hour there was a list of over 250 people in different parts of Mumbai whom people affected by the blasts could contact for help. This particular document soon went viral and many of you must have noticed it being shared on Facebook too. This is the power of social networking. This is a small trailer of what the citizens of India can do when united for a cause. But to bring about a pathbreaking change such as overthrowing a government, it will not be enough for just the Facebook-Twitter junta of India to unite. It will require encouraging the very large poor and illiterate population of the country too to join in and fight for principles. This will need someone who can bring the whole country together. Something like what Hitler did in post World War I Germany. And in the current scenario, I can think of only one personality in India who has that influence over the entire nation that people will come out and do whatever he asks them to do- yes, Sachin Tendulkar! But I don't see him doing that anytime soon, so we have no option but to wait until that one messiah comes up and unites the entire nation against the corrupt leadership. India needs an Egypt type revolution.
Until then, keep outraging, take out candle marches, talk about "the spirit of Mumbai" and keep paying taxes on time so that the netas can continue to afford to travel with their security cordons and Kasab can enjoy one more serving of his favorite biryani.