As part of the current generation, the so called youth of the country I have two choices in hand. I can either hang my head low in shame at the state of the nation or look up into the horizon with a dream and a goal. A goal that is not just about making India developed, but one which means a lot more to the people of this country. I want an independence struggle. A fight for a second independence, freedom from corruption, from social evils, from communal blood baths, from the mind numbing education system, freedom from the tyrants that have come to rule this country. Not politicians I blame, but greed, jealousy, anger, angst, revenge and suspicion.

 

Apart from the recent economic slowdown the country has been doing brilliantly well. Or that’s what we make it out to be. A country’s growth and prosperity is measured in terms its GDP. But is that the point? Does success have to be measured with the obscure yardstick of who is the biggest spendthrift? So that means the greediest people in the world will supposedly be the richest or the most prosperous. But here lies the catch, urban India is no more spending its own money. With credit cards and the like, we are spending money that doesn’t exist and getting caught in a debt trap that we can never get out off. Just like what happens and has happened in the US. This could be the problem, but also the answer to the paramount problem of corruption which I will elaborate at a later stage.

 

It all boils down to, is this how you measure success? Personally, I don’t think so. The measure of success or prosperity of a country should be the happiness of its people. And using their spending to calculate their happiness is just not right, we’re all human and subject to the unquenchable lust for luxury, money and all the nice things that come along. What does happiness have to do with corruption? Well obviously if your happy you would be more satisfied, thus less greedy so ideally you wouldn’t take or give bribes because you are more or less content with life.

 

To fight corruption and its vicious cycle we need to start, as the Mahatma once said ‘from the bottom up’. The average age of the Babu’s as we loving call them ( Indian politicians ) is between 50 and 60. That of the average union minister as Asia Times magazine puts it is 60.4 years whereas the average age of an Indian according to the 2001 census was close to 25 years. So the first thing I suggest is for the new generation to actually get into politics. By get into politics I don’t mean grab a dagger and a petrol bomb and try and kill the opposition as we are all used to seeing. By getting involved I mean actually going up and voting in elections at the very least.

 

The problem with working from the bottom up is that the problem looks really huge at the bottom of the pyramid, where it is the largest. One of the most complex problems is that of the servile attitude that most Indians have, an attitude that has been ingrained right from time immemorial. With a servile attitude of accepting everything your superior says to you. We fail to realize that we are letting wrong things go unnoticed and actually giving way to corruption. It might not be related just to money, but someone not doing their duty, or doing a half cooked job of it is still corruption. If a subordinate does not question a superior’s action just to ensure he gets a nice under-the-table cut is worse than actually doing the crime.

 

We can trace this attitude to the deep rooted Indian traditions that we hold so close to our hearts. Something that I have tried questioning right from the time I could remember. We as children are always taught to ‘respect the elders’. This on a plain, ideal sense seems to be alright. But when things go a little awry it takes a gruesome turn. When we are forced to respect our elders, it means absolute respect for their word and humbly accepting their superiority and authority over us. We are taught not to question them in any sense, because they are older to us and thus have acquired more wisdom and are always right. This attitude actually held good for a large part of history, but now times are changing, or rather, times have changed. The elders are no longer perfect. And of course, the life expectancy of Indians has grown from 24 when we gained independence in 1947 to 63 in 2006 (WHO survey). That is almost a three time jump. Its like trying to impose Charles Babbage’s ‘difference engine’ when we are debating whether to stick with Windows XP or shift to the Macbook.

 

I am not asking for an outright disrespect of all elders, parents and teachers. I am asking for people to not take it so far as to blindly follow the orders that they are given by superiors and stand up to them when they do something wrong. Especially when it comes to child sexual abuse, cases of bribery or a superior just not doing his/her duty. Sometimes even asking questions in a classroom becomes sinful.

 

If we blindly stick to adhering to the word of our superiors it would turn out to be disastrous for us as a country. Creativity, individuality and originality would have to be given a go by, why? Because we will be forced into the same mould as the preceding generation and all end up the same prosaic, uninspired pack since questioning anyone above your level would be unholy. Who would be the whistleblower in perilous times? Who would set right the system gone wrong? This is what we need the leaders of tomorrow to do, question. Question authority, question red tape, question the laxity of employers, employees and even consumers, question the bribe giver and the bribe taker and most importantly question the system.

 

Another way of looking at the reason for corruption is incompetent officials and the major reason for incompetent officials as we can say, is the caste based reservation system. When a government official is under threat for not doing a bad job there is usually a method to either shift him from it or remove him completely. But he is doing a bad job because he is not competent enough and he won’t get a promotion because of that. This will obviously force him into bribing others to save his own skin and where will he get the money from a modest government income? Obviously through receiving bribes from the people. The reservation system which was brought to bridge the divide between sections of the society has only divided it more. With several castes being inducted as scheduled tribe and scheduled castes even after sixty years of independence. The reservation system has become an important tool for political gain as the country had witnessed in2006-2007 with the Gujjar issue in Rajasthan which brought the country to its knees when the Gujjars demanded to be classified as ST and blocked highways and railway tracks to show their might and choke the government into accepting their demands.

 

 To be continued ....

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    Should we have a Meeting every Saturday?