Tuesday, January 25, 2011

happy banana republic

It is now 62 years since the idea of India exists. Hastily patched together by browbeating princely states and dividing on the basis of language, a nation was born. Also born alongside was a Cello Tape Nation - a jugaad of gigantic proportions.  We are a nation that will stumble and fall and yet at the slightest provocation pull out our thousand year culture and wisdom of the saints and gods and mortals all combined into a bhel puri of identity.

And we are a banana republic! An additional collector is burnt alive by a mafia in a small town around 300 kms from Mumbai. One third of the country is not ruled by the Government of India but by rebels who are better armed, trained and equipped than the people who are supposed to the Law of the country. The wife of a supposed dissenting voice gets arrested by the ATS while people who bombed, maimed and killed are running training schools for future terrorists. Three metros in the country has disfunctional roads, the national capital is also the rape capital of the country, the sparkling new hub of new economy India has a reputation where women are asked to get back home before it gets dark, traffic cops never man the signal, instead hide behind parked police vans only to dance onto the roads when anyone breaks a signal by mistake. Gandhi is a thousand rupee note, a half blind politician runs a broadcast mafia down south. His crony walked away with more money than the GDP of a small African nation. We have a prime minister who is learned but cannot take decisions, a beaurocracy that demands 25 lakhs for sanction for a lift in a building. There are more exploited kids at any signal in Mumbai than there are schools, the government makes people who want to build schools jump hoops for permissions. The gap between people who have money and the ones that live a month on less than the cost of a fine dining meal is widening.  I could go on and on.

And this morning I woke up at six and wondered if I should switch on the TV to watch the annual parade - decided against it. Why bother? when all that shiny hardware cannot get rid of the people who are ruining a fine subcontinent.

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