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Why We Need 2nd Independence and Who Will Get Us That?

India is still not independent. I still call it under rule! This time it is not Moguls, nor Britishers. It is under seize and rulers are we Indian ourselves. The characteristics of our rulers who continue to exploit the common masses are:

1. They are not foreigners, hence look very much like common Indians. Of course, they will wear ties and suits (which are of no relevance at Indian soil where temperatures soar to 40s and 50s. Or, they just wear white kurta pajama and shamelessly denigrate Gandhi ji.

2. Political leadership: They are either elected by voters in polls where voters have limited options ( have no choice to reject them). In the electoral process that we have, these candidates exercise all means to get elected: by hook or crook. The parties have more or less no ideology. The only standard they look up to is victory. Once we keep our political affiliation aside, we will realize that they just want to come into power, means are not important, end is what they are targeting at.

3. Bureaucracy: The babus are selected by merit or by bribery. Either way, the end result is same for the most: educated and intellectual class they constitute, but sooner than later, become self-serving. They are the guardians of rules, but let the political class bend them instead of confronting them. They are eager to become appease their bosses, start focussing on promotions and filling their own coffers and wallets.
Tell me honestly, why there is so much craze among Indian families to see their wards become IAS, IPS officers and SDMs? To serve the country: no, that is not the first reason. If my son becomes an IAS, IPS: kothi, gaddi, naukar, fat dowry and life long aaraam! These are the considerations thta we aim for.
It is a common knowledge that in HCS (Harayana Civil Service), the seats are for sale. If I have to pay 20 lakhs for my son to become an HCS officer, shall he serve the state: it is easy to guess the answer.

4. Police: Unrestrained is the best term for pur police forces. The training does not translate in this simple message: you are here to bring culprit to the book.Instead what happens is: bullying commoners, extracting money and distorting evidence to their suitability. In UP, recently we came across the news of a 6 year old girl beaten mercilessly by police at the police station. That one incidence is not an exception. It represents the real mindset of our police forces.

5. Judiciary: Slow and lethargic. Jutstice delayed is justice denied. Corruption at lower level is well known.

6. Media: Has not matured into a socially responsible media. The lust for making money has made distanced it from reality. Do we know of any code of conduct that the media seem to follow. The unashamed beaming of Mumbai terrorist events has exposed the real character of our media. This does not mean there is dearth of professional journalists in our country. But the lack of self-regulation, ethics has driven the current media into a bazaar.

7. Public: Feels helpless. Has resigned to the fate of bribery, corruption, nepotism. Over-populated hence every chore seems to be a competition. So, what we have become: aapna ghar pahle, samaaj baad mein. Self-conceited, self- centered we have become. Do not take me wrong, majority of people still want to live with conscience, but the monster of unregulated democracy seems unsurmountable, hence selfishness is the first trait that creeps in.
Those who are away from the country (Indians abroad): they too seem to be wary of the the way our Indian system works. As one of my friends Dr Vidya put it: }The charity in India is highly unregulated, no one knows where your hard-earned money will go! If you donate here (USA), you know that where your money is being used.”

So, what are the solutions?

The fight against foreigners was not easy, but it was easier to define an enemy, a looter! It was easy to descriptively conclude who our enemy was: The one who invaded us. It made sense to the people!
Today, the enemy is from within us. That is a big problem! It is not easy to convince all that what is wrong, who is doing wrong to us.
The good news is that we are not at the mercy of some individuals (Kings or queens or senators or MPs sitting in a different country in a buidling – call it Parliament- and decide our fate by their whims or whishes). But the democracy that was bestowed upon us almost 6 decades ago has not been able to fulfil our needs. It did not bring in corrections and fixes as the time passed on” rather the changes were not incorporated by our political leadership!

1. Hence our democracy needs updates. Bring in the needed reforms to make our system really workable. Not just toothless democracy.

2. We must- each must- think what we are doing for our society and nation. We need patriotic individuals who are there to serve and not extract. To be patriotic, we do not have to wear a Gandhi cap, or leave our job or business! To do the things with sincerity and conscience: that alone will help us a long way.


Food for the Brain

“There is one principle that will keep mankind in ignorance forever, and that is contempt prior to investigation”.
This applies most aptly to the religion.

Mindset And Attitude!

My parents live in Faridabad. The whole of North India is reeling under heat. Yesterday I called them and my sister who is visiting from Nagpur was also there. I asked them that they might be able to ward off the heat with air-conditions. She replied that for at least 8 hours a day there is no electricity and that balances out everything. The inverters are hardly able to charge!

My friend Vijay from Faridabad sent me an email and told me while we were talking on the phone that to send that email, he had to restart his PC 3 times. Sometimes electricity is not there, sometimes the voltage is so low that you cannot work effectively on PC. He was replying to my complaint as to why we were not able to chat on internet!

My young son (along with family) has just reached New Delhi from NY and I was curious to know whether the Air India flight bound for N Delhi (via London) was in time. Sitting here in NY, I googled to find IGI Airport website. The website is a shame if we compare web-sites of other air-ports, like JFK, O’hare and Heathrow. The web-site doesnot let you see the status of flights, though it does provide schedules. In the menu, ‘Contact Us’ provides no telephne numebr. Typical Indian mentality or “chalta hai” attitude”.

I know it is easy to criticize the things, particularly sitting far away. But I feel while we talk of rising India, we must realize that the qualitative differences that exist are difficult to fill.

Stem Cell Research: Bush vetoes it again

Toda’s news tells us that the US President Bush has once again vetoed the Stem Cell Bill, thereby blocking the new federal funding for stem cell research. This effectively means that scientists will continue to feel handicapped in fully researching the potentials of stem cell. As we know, stem cell research has the potential to cure many seemingly incurable diseases. It can be revolutionary.

By doing so, the Republican President has put his beliefs (conservative) before science, and has tried to mix science with religious beliefs. But the fact remains that science remains in relentless pursuit of truth and thus one can not suppress it. One can try to defer the things in the name of religion (and religion is at best a man-made thing), but how long will you suppress the truth!

Stem cell will one day truimph and give the much-needed succor to the humanity.

The Namesake

Last week, we took some time off to see Mira Nair’s newly released movie “The Namesake” in one of the Long Island’s far eastern Seaford Theatre. It was a late night show and the gathering was really small (considering the fact that desis donot live in large numbers in that area)!
Based upon Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, this movie depicts the typical theme of confusion which continues to besiege an Indian (family) in a foreign land even after decades of adopting the new land! Old wine in a new bottle, but keeps you engrossed!

Global Warming: A Global Warning!

The concept of global warming has crossed the technical corridors and is gaining a wider acceptance in the public. I am sure humans all over the globe are becoming aware of this phenomenon, even if not in a technical language.
The concept of carbon emmission is linked to global warming. The developing nations -even though they are already very ‘clean’ environmentally- are pushing for the harder measures to tackle this concept. They seem to have a vision as to what is happening with our Mother Nature.
On the other hand, developing nations seem woefully ignorant of the harm they are causing to the environment. Being from India and living in USA, I can fully understand this atleast what it seems to be on a gross examination. Our India- now under the seize of economic liberalization – is busting at the full pace! The “sleeping elephant”- as the western media so fondly likes to describe it- is waking to its full realization, but with scant regard to environment. We have – I must admit it with great pain- become mute spectators towards the increasing degradation of our environment. Even if people realize it, there does not seem to be any effective policy to arrest this. There is no political will to take some concrete action to save our environment, but are happily basking in the glory of our expanding economy! This is evident by the rolly polly regulations regarding housing construction, traffic and pollution control, industrialization and so on. The lop-sided development of the country has ensured that villagers continue to run towards cities and citi-dwellers are running towards bigger cities; the final destination seems to be our metropolitan cities. This goes without saying that the rapid uncontrolled urbanization without any proper planning is having a disastrous impact on our nation.

On a closer scrutiny, the question is: who is causing more carbon emmission: the seemingly cleaner looking but heavily industrialized developed nations or less industrialized but ‘choatic looking’ developing nations? While I need more info on this, it seems the “Ultimate Truth” lies in tackling this danger in a combined way. The issue aroused my curosity even further when I read the news about India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stating in the ongoing G-8 Summit in Germany that ”due care must be taken not to allow growth and development of developing countries to be undermined while dealing with climate protection..”. But who is preventing the developing nations like us to implement tighter regulations so that we have a more regulated civic growth! If we are totally hapless to regulate our choatic urbanization, pollution and behaving like greedy citizens hell bent upon just focussing to make our own nests at the cost of our environment, why blame this on developed nations.

All measures are bound to meet unsuccess if the portion of globe where probably 1/3 of the humanity lives, does not awaken to the harsh realities of the Global Warming: yes, India and China must cleanse their land, their polluted rivers and lakes and ‘purify’ the smoke-ladden air if the Mother Earth wants not to suffocate in the decades to come. And it is no easy a task! I close my post with this saying by Thomas Huxley: “It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.”

Medical Museums

Bharti – my wife- suggested that a medical museum is a useful place to visit. I added : particularly hospitals should have this in their campuses. This was while we were visiting NCMA (Nassau County Arts Museum) in long Island a couple of weeks back.

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