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Freedom!?

  • Aug. 17th, 2008 at 5:27 PM
In too deep, Brood
For thousands of years, India held its own among the powers of the ancient world. We blame the British Raj for what we are today. However, India as a country, won its freedom 61 years ago. 61 for god’s sake! What do we have to show for it? Pretty much nothing. We wallow in self-pity, enjoying the spoils of incredible poverty, and an amazingly corrupt politic system. The public masses are incredibly viscous and refuse to embrace advancement in any sense of the term.

A country where almost a billion people lie below the poverty line, clawing at each other and ensuring that forward movement is as restricted as possible.. Illiteracy raises its head above and beyond all sense of good conscience. Birth-control is something that the intelligent minority of the population embrace. The majority, the illiterate, the backward masses tend to exercise virtually no restraint. What we end up with is a much smaller intelligent population when compared to the mindless millions.

We've blamed the British all these years.... When will we start taking care of ourselves? Frankly (I've talked about this issue before in two earlier posts located here: On Misplaced and Misinterpreted Patrioticism) and here: Reserved!) it is we who should be blamed, not the British. If the British were still ruling us, we'd have been forced to improve our ways.

If they were alive today, I'd love to see how the so-called fathers of the nation would react to the situation our country is currently in. We can't trust our fellow men to do anything right. I'd trust a foreigner with bad intentions toward me and my race before I could bring myself to trust a fellow countryman. Why?? Why are we always fighting ourselves? Why do we have the closed minds of the past?

If someone so much as sneezes into a handkerchief printed with little Indian flags, the guy's going to probably get life in prison and be stashed in a dark, dank jail cell before he's through with the third sneeze! However, the Politico who justify mass injustice in the name of the country are supported in every way by the very people who claim the country’s image lies in a handkerchief with little bits of coloured ink on it!

Have we lost our brains somewhere along the way?

I've been told a thousand times that speaking against your country is not a good thing. I've been threatened by people, I've even been approached by certain (unnamed) officials requesting that I take some posts off my public pages. But they don't worry me. I have a better understanding of the legal system than they apparently do. I know my rights, and I know what's good for a country. Maybe not better than all other people.. Just more than those running mine. :)

We've got SO MUCH potential as a country. I'd be the first one to claim that we could rule the world single handed! But alas, we're too busy attacking each other and curbing our brilliance that we're doomed to eat from the trashcan of human civilized. What happened to the once monumental figure of a country? What happened to the center of the world? Whatever happened to greatness? No, it was'nt the British. It was _us_! Every step of the way, it was us. We grabbed the edges of the carpet under our own feet and gave it one huge mighty tug!

We claim to want what's good for us as a country. But do we really know what that is? Bah!

We're such brilliant people, we have such immense potential.... From the early past, our culture has such amazing ideals and ingrained concepts.. We have (or had?) the best brains in the world! And yet, we have nothing to show for it.

No wonder we're so alone. Our closest friends are called terrorists. We don't even know who they are! :(

God bless this mighty nation.. We can't seem to do without divine intervention (if such a thing exists at all!).

Kaydeeyoh!

Comments

(no subject) - fugney - Aug. 17th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Aug. 17th, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
Assuming we were still under British rule, we'd have progressed a lot further, a lot faster. Honestly now, what do we have to show?

Since the British left, literacy has actually gone down. That's probably due to the population mushroom, but it has definitely gone down. Percentage wise, there are a lot fewer educated Indians on the surface of the planet. Mind you, almost 99% of those not residing in the Indian subcontinent _are_ literate. I don't know the statistics for Indians residing in India, so I'll only assume that the value is quite a bit lower.

Life expectancy was bound to increase due to medical advances globally. India has done little in that area. Frankly speaking, compared to the increase in global life expectancy, India's ranking has gone down by about 160 places since the British left. I don't call that an increase.

Agreed, Food insufficiency has been much better managed. But it would be wrong to say that India has not suffered for lack of food for decades. Every decade, there's at least one or two episodes of food insecurity. The impact have been greatly improved with the improvement in food storage and stocking, but it has not completely vanished.

There have been a genuine chance to eradicate poverty for decades now. This is not something that has suddenly turned out to be true. However, it's not a dream that's getting closer every decade. With the increase in population and the tax payers money being used with increasing irresponsibly, this hope of an educated country is moving further and further away from any semblance of a possible reality. The rate at which the population is growing also contributes to this inability to catch up to our past inabilities.

We can eradicate poverty and illiteracy, but we're not doing a thing to close the gap. All we're doing is trying half-heartedly to catch up, but we're going so slow, it looks almost stupid to try. My respect goes out to those who still try so hard even knowing the inevitable truth behind the picture.

We curse ourselves.. Yeah. But that's you, I and a few of the intellectually sound among us. But the vast majority still see no error in their ways. They even attribute their own outlook as a remnant of the British Raj. Ask the uneducated masses, and they'll all point in unison at the British. Why? That's what the politicos point at. That's what's being spread among the majority, that's what people are convinced of. What you or I think makes enough of a reaction as a single atom in a concrete block the size of our solar system. :(

No matter how much we look at ourselves and accept that we're lacking in some way. No matter how had we push ourselves to be better as individuals, the vast majority will still believe what they want to believe. They'll wallow in self denial and repression because they don't have the sense to look into themselves and see that it's they who are the problem. The issue does not lie outside of ourselves. They won't see that.

You are a very positive person. :) I can see that glow emanating from your thoughts and way of looking at things. The way you try to see the up-side of a scenario.. I on the other hand, am not such a positive person. I look at things as they present themselves to me. I gather as many facts and analyze a situation, draw conclusions and then hope to hell that I'm wrong. But I still embrace the dark side for I know, as humans, as Indians, we're not going to learn the ropes fast enough. :)
(no subject) - fugney - Aug. 18th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Aug. 19th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
>>Assuming we were still under British rule, we'd have progressed a lot further, a lot faster<<

I disagree. What incentive would the British have had to improve anything here?


Embarrassment! A true British colony in a state such as ours.... The British would never let it be known that such a situation could have existed or continued to be tolerated under their rule. Point at any recently de-colonized country/province/island/patch of land. One that's been 'granted' freedom. Hong Kong being an excellent example. I'm not saying they could have done something on the same scale as that here in India, but they would have done something.

Sometimes, commands work better than advice.

Following the "re-connection" of Hong Kong to China, look what embarrassment did to Beijing and Shanghai.. That's the power of the Chinese understanding of the term "face".

>>Mind you, almost 99% of those not residing in the Indian subcontinent _are_ literate<<

Does this include Africans?


99% of Indians not residing in the Indian subcontinent I meant. I assumed I did'nt stray too far from India there in that paragraph. I sometimes miss out things in my explanations. :) If by Africans, you meant 'people with Indian citizenship living in Africa', then yes, the study includes them as well.

You don't have to be particularly intellectual to say "all politicians are assholes", which most Indians I know do.

I see the word 'intellectual' was taken literally. Probably based purely on definition alone. By Intellectual, I mean someone who can and does think for him or herself. Someone who can put two and two together. You have to have that reasoning ability to understand what's at stake and how it affects the populace as a whole. Not just that, you have to have a mind that's open enough to see it that way. I know a lot of people who have brains. But few who actually use them. There's a big difference. That's another issue that nags me endlessly. Our amazing Education system and how it's been evolving over the decades.. But that's for another post.

You seem to believe that this country couldn't possibly have done worse (correct me if I'm wrong).

Then I'm obviously projecting my thoughts incorrectly. The truth is that I believe the exact opposite. I think this country could have done a HUGE lot better! I'm amazed at that interpretation.. :o)

India could have done really very badly for itself. Much worse than it is today. But the idea behind this post is not about thanking the gods that India did'nt turn into Hell. It's to rant about the fact that it could well have been better and we messed it up along the way. We just did'nt try too hard as a people.

I think we've done better than you think we've done, and I'm just pointing that out.

I think we've done rather badly. Mighty badly in fact. You're judging my interpretation of how bad it is and comparing it to how badly you think we've fared as a country. I'm of the opinion that I'm very accurate in my judgment as I'm sure you are of yours. Measuring these levels does not locate a hitch in the portrayal of the opinion behind the post or comment.
________
Continued >>

Edited at 2008-08-19 12:12 am (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Aug. 19th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
<< Continued

At least we didn't end up like Pakistan or Zimbabwe.

That's a rather low level to compare a country to, but I see what you mean. I did'nt say we ended up like Pak and Zimbabwe. I did'nt mean to give that impression either. All I'm trying to say is that we're phenomenally behind what we're capable of. Given our resources, our background, our culture, our heritage, everything!! My country has not made me proud.

At least we don't have constant civil war, or repressive dictators. At least we don't have to beg the world for food. There are countries that still do that.

Can you name a country over the past decade that's been under British rule that's facing any of the above situations? (Barring the food shortages) I can't. No civil war, no repressive dictators.

Look at countries where Britain pulled out early. No dictators that I can think of.. But civil wars, yes.

It's not Britain that I love! It's just that they happened to be in charge once, and they were helping us grow. There was a lot of nasty stuff, stuff I hate to think about even, but they did a lot more for India than most of us are aware of. They helped!

Call it fate. It just happened to be the British. and that's my only point of reference for that very reason. Chance.

I do see hope for the future of this country, but I see a lot more darkness. I just want to state precisely what I believe.

I see hope too fugney, I really believe that we still have a chance to rise above all the problems that we face. I'm sure we will one day.. But I'm afraid it's not happening with any level that we can be proud of claiming, or saying out aloud.

I'm sure you can tell quite easily how unhappy I am. maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm right. Some people may still care enough to proactively help the country forge on. I'm no longer one of them. :(
vaguelyalive wrote:
Aug. 18th, 2008 09:32 am (UTC)
61 years is really, really not all that long for a country. While we have not accomplished all we would have liked to have accomplished, I think we've managed to achieve quite a bit. IMO, we're still getting there, still in the process of building the country.
angiasaa wrote:
Aug. 19th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
61 years for a country of India's potential and abilities, is a HUGE amount! Smaller, weaker, less privileged countries have made leaps in 20 to 30 years.. We're not doing even half as well as we could have been doing. :)

And as I see it, the process of building the country has come to an excruciating standstill.. and we'll start regressing if we don't sit up and take notice. :(
vaguelyalive wrote:
Aug. 20th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
It honestly isn't. We've gone from having a distinct lack of basic amenities, to having them...you really can't look at a country's ~abilities~ and decide that that it must reach perfection in n amount of years. Which countries have gone from absolute subjugation, having nothing, having really no common language, religion, culture to keep them united to an ideal state in 20-30 years? (Honest question; I can't think of ANY.)

And we are still making progress...it just takes some time to trickle down. For example, I'm pretty excited about the JNNURM.
angiasaa wrote:
Aug. 21st, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
It is actually.. :(

I agree we've had a big disadvantage with the common language issue, but religion and culture is not such a big deal. Basic education and religious tolerance would have dealt with those disadvantages quite well. In fact, Culture is something we all share whether we like it or not. That's the point about calling ourselves a country. The culture of one populace becomes the culture of the others the moment a nation is declared into existence.

You should check out the comments by inspirethoughts down below.. She brings up more points that fit the overall picture that I tried to sketch out in my post. And as much as I regret to say it, she does do a much better job about putting her point across. :)

The progress we're making is one that's destined to happen. It's like natural evolution. We're not helping the progress.

The National Urban Renewal Mission sounds like a good thing.. But I think I'll wait and see how it catches on. From what I've seen, we as a population are rather resistant to progress.

Many good brains have come up with some amazing ideas and ways to better the country, but the masses don't embrace it. Whatever the reason may be that these things fail, the fact remains that they fail!

I do have hope that something will catch on and work miracles, but my doubt overrides it for the near future. We're not united as a country.. if one politician does something good for the country, 20 politicians attack him and kill him. It's the crab mentality, and India excels in it.
vaguelyalive wrote:
Aug. 18th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
And I still don't know what Kaydeeyoh means. :\
angiasaa wrote:
Aug. 19th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
Awww.... I usually leave the description to the offline Meets. It's easier said than written down. :)

But I'll make sure I put up a post on this one of these days. :oP
inspirethoughts wrote:
Aug. 18th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
My thoughts exactly my friend!

I remember a few years ago when a census was done as to what India has built (in terms of huge constructions) after Britishers left, The result was Nought! I dont mean construcitons like buildings and offices and apartment complexes. I mean like Dams, Lotus Palace, Salarjung Museum and Likes. And Karnataka and AP were still arguing about Kaveri River Project that was put on hold for several years. Indian politicians have successfully spent their entire service is not utilizing the funds appropriately.

Recent years have shown considerable development in society in terms of IT, Electronics, Foreign Trade, Travel, etc. However, one thing I had noticed, the rich had become more richer and poor have become poorer. There is nothing like Middle Class now. There are only two classes: rich or poor.

Although people are being open minded, low-caste people are invited to higher-class houses, into the temples, etc, the caste system has become more rigid compared to earlier. Love marriages are getting common, even then people are becoming more caste constraint with caste. Reservations in jobs and education outrightly is increasing the caste barrier.

Many more thoughts that come to my brain, but yes, I ahve heard every big person in the community blaming Britishers for the downfall of such a great heritage and culture. I feel sometimes that we could have been better off under Britisher's rule, probably!
angiasaa wrote:
Aug. 19th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
It's strange that I missed that census. It's of crucial importance as an aspect of national development and should have noticed it before. But it just adds another finger to the equation, pointing in the same direction.

I don't blame only the politicians though, we just have a tendency to vote the worst candidates into power. They have a mass appeal that gives them weight and power where it's needed the least.

The common man is the voter. Not the ones who are educated and can think for themselves without a senseless bias. There's no getting away from the fact that if all the educated among us vote for someone, and only 2% of the uneducated vote for someone else, the educated would still be outvoted by miles! There's almost no point even trying to vote for a deserving candidate! Every year, the population increases astronomically. The educated confine themselves to 1 or 2 kids.. The uneducated prefer to make 7 to 12 kids per marriage. Frustrating!

Politicians spend our taxes gleaning votes off of the unthinking millions. Free electricity, Free boarding, Free health care, Free education (which is not really education by the way)... And they don't even pay taxes. They just vote in exchange for the "Free stuff"!

The rich becoming richer, and the poor, poorer is a fact of selective development. The rich become richer caring less and less for the poor because they live in a country where you can't afford to waste your resources thinking about someone else. It has to be "me, Me, ME!" or lose what you already have. If you give a child whatever it wants, it will not fend for itself. It will always believe and expect that someone will give him or her whatever he or she wants throughout their life. That's what we're doing. Whether you work hard or not, the free stuff is yours. Consequently, they'll never grow up.

The Quota system, as you rightly pointed out is a farce. Again purely a vote generation tactic. Why can't we value those who should be valued? Whatever happened to merit and deserving candidates?

Just cause I'm a Brahmin does not mean I should work twice as hard to get into college, while a minority or someone from a lower(?) caste happens to have a quota assigned to him, is forced into college to fill just to fill up that quota! In the end, we're merely ensuring that Indian educational institutions churn out a mandatory 12% or so of the lousiest students ever.

We're using pneumatic drills on our own knee caps and those who run the country are laughing hard.

I actually think I'm sounding very caustic here. :) I should not let such things rub me the wrong way too seriously.. There's not much I can do to fix the situation anyway. :)

I've added you to my friends list by the way.. Did'nt realize I had already been friended. :)
inspirethoughts wrote:
Aug. 20th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
Very well said! All valid points.

Sometimes I feel that there is so much dirt inside our Indian system in general that it would take a huge brush and lots of soap to clean it out, or may be a mercinary like the one in "Bharateeyudu" or the one in "Tagore" or the one in "Okkadu" (all telugu movies I am naming) would help. Again, the caveat is that this happens only in India.

Apart from all the evil system that we have in politics, education, etc, we have so many good things in us that are being either side-lined or going unnoticed. These are what one need to work hard to eleviate. But again, one person cannot make a place better, it shud be a collective effort.

I saw the movie "Sivaji" recently and one thing stuck in my brain. This guy wanted to build an educational institution, however, he realizes that at every step or level, bribery is seen. Infact it is so common just like how one breathes air. Every department is filled with corruption. An honest person cannot side-step it and proceed further. In the end, this guy gives in and for a greater cause in future, gives all those people the needed bribery, thus feeding it more. This is very commonly seen in several offices there.

I had a first had experience with this when I tried to get by Birth Certificate from the Tahasildaar's office where I was born for my GC. My dad did not want to give in for the bribery system and had to wait atleast 8 months before I got it issued. I was in no hurry to get it at that time so I was ok. But for many of known friends, had to shell out a bunch of amount to get their birth certificates. Why is it that I have to pay behind the walls to get something that I am entitled to?

From my point of view, the main evils that need to be eradicate from society are: Corruption (Bribery the most!), Reservation and the two words that Britishers have taught us and left - Sorry and ThankYou!. This would make our society so better.

I have so many incidents that I could write that boils down to these main points. If these are eradicated, the other evils automatically get eradicated. I was reading this book "Foregin Body" (http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780143143147,00.html) by "Robin Cook", and was so amazed to see the dark side of Medical Field in India. Pity that a foreign author had to write about it, and so shameful. The country that was the inventor of early medicine like Ayurveda,etc, is seeing such corruption in the very field. :(

Well, I think I am ranting a lot. However, if eanc and every person like you and me work together, may be this can be fixed. But, there are very few out there who really want to work for the betterment. :(

Yes, I did add you as a friend long time ago. :) Thanks for adding me too!