“The significance of a man is not what he attains but rather what he longs to attain.” – Kahlil Gibran.
The dust is just about settling down after the hectic mudslinging on all sides during the recent Lok Sabha elections in India. Newer rivalry will, of course, start now what with the usual wheeler-dealers on the side of the success trying to get their pound of flesh. Nothing succeeds like success and every one shamelessly wants to get on to the successful bandwagon irrespective of the people?s verdict at the hustings. Naturally, the successful will get their heads swell out of proportion. In fact, if one looks at the whole ugly scene from outside as a disinterested party, one notices the same old faces in all the parties coming up or going down as in the past. Hundreds of those with established criminal background are back in the august house! There are hardly any new faces in the fray excluding a handful that has come in from the sides.
Nothing to worry! We have a government in place in Delhi and they will soon promise the sky for the common man. The common man?s plight has hardly changed in the last 60 years! We are still a nascent “so called” democracy. It took America two hundred years to attain the level of elections that they have reached today as it did several hundred years for Britain to boast of their mother of all Parliaments. A day will come when India will emerge as the best democracy-not in the too distant future. We will mature faster as we have had a hoary culture to draw sustenance from. We are much better compared to many other democracies.
The sad part of this whole exercise is that we are dealing with an exclusive population, called the politicians in every party today who have the sole aim of getting power and making it rich. There are no statesmen! They are all after power and money. There are exceptions though, but I do not want to name them to avoid any controversy to divert the attention of the reader from the main point I want to make. Exceptions only prove the rule.
Our politicians today work by the Mathew Law, in its wrong interpretation: “He who hath shall be given.” They know that if you have money and power only you can get more money and more power. They have forgotten that they are public servants in the first place. They behave as if they are the masters of the public who are supposed to vote for them to be in power. Our gullible public also gets swayed by caste considerations, religion, money and alcohol. Politicians know that too well to entice the masses with some bread crumbs thrown at them. The promises made before the elections remain just promises not to be fulfilled. They will repeat the same rhetoric for the next election. “Garibi Hatao” was a great slogan. Garibi is only increasing! We, in 2009, have the largest load of malnourished children in the world, 47 million in all. Majority do not have clean drinking water. Sanitation is missing everywhere even in our larger metropolises. Infrastructure facilities are lacking even in the larger cities, not to speak of our poor villages.
Majority of Indians live on a hand to mouth existence, while India could boast of the largest number of billionaires in the world! Unorganized sector of the working class gets exploited. Those who get all the benefits ask for more using their organized clout with the powers that be. Health care is not catered to while medical care, some times five-star type, is being encouraged by the politicians for their personal benefit. Common man is made to pay through his nose for even ordinary medical care. The sharks in the arena of big business are behind all our politicians. Politicians? complicity with big business could endanger our health, life and make the poor poorer!
While people always brand their opponents as communal, they themselves indulge only in dividing society on the lines of religion and caste, community etc. I am yet to find a puritan in any party in this area. Some of them shout from house tops that they are “secular” without having the slightest idea of what that word really means in today?s context in our country. If one is truly secular s/he should not just love his/her religion but s/he must RESPECT other?s religion as well. The latter is more important than loving one?s own religion. Fanatics are there in all religions but the spirituality behind all religions is the same. Live and let live is the essence of spirituality.
Now there is a cry for younger fresh blood in politics. While the media goes to town with that news under the tutelage of some political parties, most people forget that even in that they are following the Mathew Law. All those youngsters, being brandied in the media day in and day out as our future saviours, have their genetic lineage well established. One must either be the son or daughter of some big politician living or dead to be propped up. They become heroes overnight without any sort of political training. We, as a nation, love sycophancy. I am yet to see a new face coming up in politics from the crowd of common people in this country.
The suppressed, oppressed and the denied class still lives in abject poverty and misery. A few of them who claim that they are from the oppressed class try to become richer than the richest in a short time span only to help their own kith and kin or to project themselves in the most vulgar fashion by putting up their own statues or blow their own trumpets all over the place. The genuine loin cloth poor man, the real farmer, and the real daily wage earner are not in their list at all. We claim to have farmers in the Parliament whose only claim to farming is that their great grandfathers were farming in the village! The genuine poor farmer?s children can not dream to be in the Parliament for centuries! Where is justice and fair play? You must be some one?s son or wife to be projected in politics. Genetically unconnected are not cared for. Many of the progeny just become leaders without having been the led in the past. They directly become public masters.
I have a dream that all this will change one day when the sleeping giant of the masses in India wakes up to the above reality and asserts it?s right to govern. Then, and then only will a new generation come up that will become honest, transparent, authentic and service minded. India has a long history of people hating one another and trying to pull down the opponent. Even our Kings and Queens in the past did the same thing to help the foreigners to come in and rule us for hundreds of years! The same mentality prevails among the present rulers, irrespective their party affiliations. They all want to divide and rule.
The party system here makes a mockery of democracy. Even the great leaders in one party who had hated others suddenly change their colour and get a ticket from the party they hated days before. This is called opportunism of the best variety. All this must change for the better for a true India to rise in the comity of nations. It does not happen immediately. The present lot of unholy politicians must either become old and invalidated for the new breed to come up! This country will never go to dogs despite all the efforts of our present day politicians to bleed the country to death. Our politicians fail to see beyond the tip of their nose and are incapable of seeing the writing on the wall. They will be defeated. It might not happen during this Century but will have to happen for the good of mankind at large. Hatred only begets more hatred while love spreads camaraderie all round.
I have a dream to see every citizen in this country as an Indian first and Tamilian, Kannadiga, Gujarati, Maharastrian, Hindu, Christian, and Muslim next. I want every Indian to be a human being first and religionist next. Humanism should prevail over all else in the nation?s polity. Humanism is the greatest concept where primacy is given to man in all our endeavours. I hope every politician will read that beautiful book that Eric Blaire (George Orwell) wrote years ago- The Animal Farm. Let them remember that every action of theirs has a reaction and every crime against humanity has a punishment. Till such an egalitarian state comes into existence let us live by this beautiful motto that I saw years ago in a London Primary School-“Happiness is living dangerously”.
“Those who lose dreaming are lost.” – Australian Aboriginal Proverb.
MD, FRCP, FRCPE, FRCPG, FRCPI, FACC, FAMS, is editor-in-chief of The Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes; chairman, State Health Society?s Expert Committee, Govt. of Bihar, India, Visiting Prof. Cardiology at The Middlesex Hospital Medical School – University of London, Affiliate Prof. of Human Health – Northern Colorado University, Visiting Prof. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies – Shimla, Retd. Vice Chancellor, MAHE University – Manipal. Prof Hedge regularly gives talks on AIR, Doordarshan, BBC and Zee TV, London.
Author: Dr. B. M. Hegde- India