Everybody in India is clamoring for change today. Ask any Indian – right from the taxi driver to the ‘bais’, from the teacher to the student, from the banker to the businessman; everybody is fed up of the corruption and the general statement that “Indians prosper despite the system”. What nonsense is this? Why should Indians prosper despite the system instead of because of its values and abilities?
If we can have scams of uncountable proportions, if we can have treasures of unimaginable value even after centuries of loot by invaders, if we can have crores of dollars stashed away in Swiss banks, do we still have the right to claim that we are poor? Don’t we have any shame left in us that after having so much money, we walk around agencies like the World Bank begging for alms?
I challenge every reader to show me one Indian, one common man who actually felt pride while watching “Slumdog Millionaire” (forget about winning the Oscars). This feeling of disgust cuts across all communities, religions and castes. Even with such runaway inflation, we Indians are able to, more or less, live a dignified life without resorting to violent thefts, addictions or other crimes related to the rich-poor divide. This is because the collective consciousness of the people of this country works in the same direction – that of leading a life of pride by living within our budget, by living happily with what we have (Jitni chaddar badi, utne hi pair failane chahiye). Whether rich or poor, we do not grudge sharing our meal with a guest and we do so smilingly. Our culture also guides us to rise and work towards our ambitions without trampling on others. This is our culture which we are all proud of.
But unfortunately, we have a new set of politicians (I call them new because this breed seems to have cropped up only in the last 30-40 years or so) who seem hell bent on making all of us feel that we are poor, we are incapable of helping our country rise higher, we have more of filth in our culture and our thinking than all the countries of the world put together. Why else are these politicians harping on the caste system and the minorities still? Frankly if our country could count among the successful top-notch businessmen, educationists, law makers, politicians, administrators and armed personnel, people from these very scheduled castes, these very minorities, I think we have done well for ourselves without much help from these misleading politicians. Anybody who knows about Wockhardt Pharmaceuticals, Wipro, Kalyani Industries, Meira Kumar, K.R.Narayanan, Ilaiyyaraja, A.R.Rehman and so many more will know that these people have come up because of their hard work and not because of any politician or reservation. On the contrary one hears of reservations more in the news because of politicians like Partha Das and Sudarshan Jena faking their caste to get reserved seats. But still these politicians keep harping on minorities and castes to get their votes, claiming that these are the actual vote banks.
The last few speeches of Rahul Gandhi, the Vice-Chairperson of the Congress Party, one of the major parties in the country stress on this point continuously. Even otherwise speeches of Mayawati and Mulayam Singh, Nitish Kumar and other such politicians gives this same rhetoric like as if the minorities and the backward castes are waiting to listen to only such speeches. Do they really feel that the minorities only want to be counted on their short-comings or their backwardness? Is it true that the scheduled caste people only want to be still reminded about what happened to their forefathers?
I really wonder when the day will come and people from these sections of society will stand up to be counted with pride and rightfully say that they too have contributed to making India a great country. I refuse to believe that people from these sections are waiting for demeaning reservations and doles just because they are from such and such religion or caste. To be told time and again that they deserve reservations since they have not become part of the mainstream of society is akin to a person being told again and again that he is sick and will never recover and that the only cure is sitting at home and taking medicines that are being distributed; he should not mingle with others and he should not do any exercises – the real reason being that if he did so, the doctor would have no patient to loot from!
Today every Indian is seeking change, the resentment among the people on the ruling politicians is running high because of the wide spread corruption and buck-passing. In such a scenario, we have the ruling politicians making policies which are actually seeking to widen the split between two main religions of our country.
Two cases I would like to draw attention to are
(1) the forming of an Islamic University at Tirupati, a renowned Hindu pilgrimage center and
(2) granting of 8 – 10% reservations to Muslims (about 15% of the population in the country) in Maharashtra in jobs, education and housing, under the pretext that they are alienated and are not given a chance to mix up in society.
Compare this with communities which are actual Minorities in the country – Christians 2.3%, Buddhists 0.8 % and Parsees (just 69,000 left). Don’t they feel the injustice on them being meted out by the majority of the population? Or are they proud of their own culture and abilities so much that they don’t want to depend on politicians to help them? The fact of the matter is that if only 2% of the Muslim population has graduated or if only 1% of them have joined the Services, then there is something seriously wrong within the community, a fact which cannot be blamed on the Majority religion. And no political party can help with some farcical reservation which will not be implemented seriously. On the contrary, such reservations will only make the others feel more resentful.
In 2014 we are getting a real opportunity to rid our country of the current ruling party which has only promoted corruption and sycophancy at the cost of the progress and security of our country. The mood today is a vote for change. And the fact of the matter is that even people from the minority and scheduled castes community want to participate in this change. In such circumstances, if they will still choose to fall for the baits provided by the ruling party and vote them to power, they will only be losing a chance for change. It is time that we voted together to remove the current ruling party from power rather than vote for divisive politics which will only widen the gap between two sections of people, further. If a change is not brought about in the coming elections, the day will not be far when people will blame the minorities for this mistake … a situation which will make the divide even more pronounced, a situation which will destroy the tolerant cultural fabric of this country beyond repair.