Friday, August 5, 2011

Rants from "the concerned person"

The terrible, terrible thing about going to a friend with a rant is that you forget an existing forum for spilling your guts and articulating your mind the way you want to without having someone constantly interrupt with their opinions. The comments section opens up after I’ve typed so this blog is a form of self-indulgence I’ve missed, IMMENSELY. Not that friends aren’t awesome, just that sometimes you just want to keep “talking”, uninterrupted.

There’s a lot going on for me off late, and I don’t think I can talk about it here just yet. I’m not sure of how it is all going to shape up, until then it is silence. However, the world and its infinite idiocy continues on, uninhibited and fearless, giving me so much to bitch about. So much. 

We’ll start with the Lokpal Bill (Tehelka's article has a huge part to play in today's social commentary from me), ‘kay? This is a mammoth issue in the country at the moment. However, the protests are mostly on Facebook, since, well, Facebook is the place to go if you have promotions to do and no money to spend except your internet usage bill. After many Facebook and email petitions, the numbers were small when compared to our gargantuan population. In India 100s is a big number, so who gives a fuck about a disproportionately numbered consensus? The person behind it all is Anna Hazare, a man who is Gandhian but will not hesitate to flog people who don’t follow rules set down by him to the point where international media will be given one more excuse to stereotype us. Case in point:

When some villagers were found to be drunk they were tied to poles/pillars of the temple and flogged, sometimes personally by Hazare. He justified this harsh punishment by stating in an interview to Reader's Digest in 1986 that “rural India was a harsh society”. (from here)

This is a man who talks peace, but acts like a petulant child when the government does not agree with him. If his version of the Lokpal is not approved by August 15, Independence Day, then as of August 16, he will protest again. Now, the terrible thing about this is that the 24/7 news media is behind him. Rajdeep Sardesai will begin to screech from CNN-IBN, Barkha Dutt will start talking (*shudder*), Arnab Goswami will take it upon himself to conduct a panel interview with him being the only one allowed to talk. Facebook will cram my news feed with more and more “concerned youngsters” looking to make a difference in the corrupt world that is Indian governance.

It isn’t like I’m not concerned, but if you think corruption is such a huge problem because corruptible people are in it and you seek to check that corruptibility with incorruptible people, then have fun. I would like to see this panel of righteousness last, incorruptibly, forever. Do Hazare and his minions even know why some people choose government jobs? Job security. There is nothing more than that. These government servants get a ton of employee benefits. It doesn’t make a difference to them one way or another if your file is not pushed. They get paid at the end of every month. They get festival bonuses. They get pensions and gratuities and a whole host of benefits. Do you think they care? Who are you trying to filter out of the system?

Let’s look at replacements. If you throw everyone out of presently functional offices, I say this because corruption has ingratiated itself so much in our system that one will be hard-pressed to find one sincere person in that office. Now, if you throw everyone out, who are you going to put there? Civil supplies needs people right – where is the aam aadmi going to get subsidized grocery supplies from? The RTO (Regional Transport Office) will need people – how will you get a driver’s license? What about the passport office? It is one of the most crowded offices in the country. I don’t even want to start off on the others.

If Hazare and his camp think they can root out corruption and find a new and more efficient and upright citizenry to run the machinery, then it’s good. I would appreciate it. I do know that paper-pushing and bare minimum wage is what drives some of this corruption. Employee benefits aside, a position of power drives this corruption. The problem is in selling these jobs to the masses. When some peon knows that he has access to the big boss and so on, he will sell his accessibility on a regular basis to people who will do what needs to be done to finish first.

In a country of a billion people, everyone thinks they are entitled to get there first. From admissions in educational institutions to traffic signals, just about everything in this country is governed by this race mentality. On the road, be a chooth piece and cut lanes and drive like there’s no one else there. Waiting to pay the bill at the supermarket, look irritated with someone who has bought fewer things because all three of your carts will only take 5 seconds to bill. Boarding a bus, shove all the 10 other people trying to get in, because your Rs.5 fare is secretly worth Rs.5,000. Travelling by train, since your luggage contains nationally relevant luggage you need to make sure it’s under your berth so that no one else can put their bags in the space they have paid equally for.

Never mind that people pay equally for everything. Everyone in this country feels entitled to more. Probably because their great grandfathers wiped Gandhi’s ass and felt the need to share it with the family, which then went on to become a mythological text, which went on to become the source of some sincerely misplaced entitlement, which is making my life miserable. Thank you. Please drown in the Cooum.

So Mr.Gandhian, self-righteous, morally incorruptible Anna Hazare, have you never committed an illegal act? Have you never done the wrong thing in order to protect your own interests? There is something in the Bible along these lines, although I cannot for the life of me quote it verbatim. The essence is this – if you’re judging someone then you ought to have a lived a life that no one can point fingers at. If you have, then please lead the way for humanity. If you haven’t, then please leave the building thank you very much. If Mr.Hazare thinks people are incorruptible, then he really should look back and ask himself if he did the “right” thing at all times. I don’t think he did. Threatening a national government that he will fast unto death is the wrong thing to do. Asking that a country equate the success of your protest on the same day as its Independence Day is cheap marketing tactics and the wrong thing to do. Expecting to be on national television all the fucking time because the government is not listening to you is the wrong thing to do.

You want to change the system? Infiltrate it, study it, analyse it, change it. Don’t be unreasonable and most importantly un-Gandhian. Gandhi was non-violent. He never threatened. He only asked that we all raise our voices against injustice. We did. That’s why we’re free today. Someone like you does not have the right to wear white, be impertinent just because the constitution allows you to, and then equate yourself to Gandhi. Gandhi was man enough to admit he made mistakes; the question is Mr.Hazare, are you?


  1. Well said you! Check this out:

  2. thanks Vrinda. And the link, I am love it! :D

  3. Soo true!
    I completely agree with what u say.

  4. Oh, he definitely is not! A part of me wonders if he is doing it for popularity, wanting to go down in the pages of history, rather than any genuine intention of fixing the society. Also, the idea of someone achieving something, simply by threatening starvation is slightly frightening- because, unlike Gandhi, this dude is backed up by media which is ready to sensationalize events and whip up a public frenzy. Freedom applies to Free Will. Lackadaisical though it may be, even the government deserves the right to choose. If Anna’s demands are met, it should be because they are reasonable and legitimate; not because the government is constrained by media and public backlash and is forced into decisions. On Independence Day. Oh, the irony! – Purnima (for some reason it wouldn’t let me use my google id)

  5. Puri - I don't know what his intentions are, but the fact that he's forcing a country, which has seen what people can do with too much power, to give him his way, should be raising red flags. The fact that people are too tired to do anything but blindly follow him is also disturbing.

    So, we take the trouble of going through the trouble of going through a long and arduous election and then the Jan Lokpal will just throw away our decision because the people we elect are corrupt.

    Will they run the country? No. Then why give them so much power? I don't get it. But apparently the concerned people in this country do. I hope the government doesn't pass it and this debate goes on for longer until a more reasonable consensus is reached.

    As for Google ID - very strange man...

  6. Interesting rant about Anna Hazare. I don’t know much about the politics there but he sounds like trouble. As for him being 'self-righteous, morally incorruptible,' I think all politicians 'think' like that. I read an interesting article by Drayton Bird about this sort of thing at :

    Many thanks for popping over to my new blog, by the way. Rant on!

  7. He might not be, but I don't enjoy his righteousness shoved down my throat at every given opportunity.