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I have a dream for my country

I have a dream for my country

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Published by arifakhan
An essay on Indian politics, and an innocent dream of an educated woman
An essay on Indian politics, and an innocent dream of an educated woman

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Published by: arifakhan on May 03, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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An essay on Indian politics, and an innocent dream of an educated woman"To most men, power is such a thingseems a worthy end, just the pursuit of itPower is a trip.. just ask anyone who's richBut, tighter is your grip, if you don't appear to scratch the (power) itch"I am acutely reminded of a pinching absence of leadership these days. We sure havea plethora of world leaders gracing powerful posts - charismatic, ambitious andeven aggressive. But, can any of them think beyond themselves? Could they possiblybe concerned beyond how to secure their positions of power, to extend their reignfor just another term, to foist their most malleable cronies as able leaders uponunsuspecting junta, and once in power which natural resource rich nations tostrategically aggress upon so as to arrogate more power to themselves? I suspectnot.We have all seen to what a helpless state the whole world was reduced to, whenthose in extreme positions of power seemed to take even more extreme positions onsome inviolable principles such as human rights, world peace, and sovereignty ofnations. It was a kind of learned helplessness that the world felt. Except forsome protests by well-behaved and peace loving civilians who were too tame to makean impact in a terrorised world, and for some civilised nations that had courageenough to vocally espouse civil liberties over aligning themselves with the mostpowerful nation, nothing much was done. Many conscientious nations fell to theabilene paradox for fear of offending the leader of the pack. It's like theelephant that got used to being tied by iron chains all its life and forgot itsstrength when suddenly it found itself tethered to a meagre rope which would havebeen shred to pieces by a mere tug, if only the elephant had remembered itsstrength. We forgot that our voices could be raised. And, perhaps raising adissenting voice could have changed the world order a little.We seem to have sacrificed our thinking prowess to the feel good prosperity of theglobalising world, as we belonged to the fortunate slice whose concerns revolvedaround maximising our quality of life - and not to the slice who were fighting,right under our noses, for basic rights like freedom - from fear of life, abjectpoverty and aggression. And those of us who were inconvenienced about these goingson took on the aforementioned 'elephanticitis' and thought our scope ofcitizenship did not extend beyond our own individual lives.Where are the leaders who sacrificed their lives, their youth and their ambitionsfor the sake of their ideologies? Where are the ideologies? Where are the leaderswho risked being unpopular and stood for what they believed in?Certainly there are ideologies aplenty. Especially in my country with any numberof political parties and a different ideology to suit each party. Before i amaccused of any hypocrisy, let me confess with some embarrassment that i hail froma political background and am guilty of witnessing the greed, lust for power andits other trappings from close quarters. With all my avowed aversion to politics,I have indeed had my rites of passage into the corridors of power; grown mengrovelling before the power brokers for tickets before elections, for votes afterthe tickets, and selling their souls for unworthy objects of pursuit after winningthe votes.Coming now to the specifics of my country, we are a people who revel in ourleaders. We are in love with being in love with our leaders, or rather publicfigures. We are especially fond of our celluloid heroes. We have a special gift
for projection. Let me explain. If the celluloid heroes happen to have enactedsome mythical roles, we are absolutely at ease attributing those mythical heroicqualities on reel to their real life characters as well. This is very true foratleast South India, without exaggerating (covering the states of Andhra Pradesh,Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala which to a statistical ignoramus like me amounts toaround one fifth of the indian electorate) That explains our predilection forchoosing people with theatrical abilities for public offices.When Brad Pitt was asked once by a reporter what he thought China should do aboutTibet, he replied 'What does anyone care what i think China should do about Tibet?I am just a f&** actor, a grown man who wears make-up'. I liked that. Atleast hewas a grown man with no presumptions of grandeur that come with being a star!Grandeur so commonplace for his counterparts from India!Now pose the same question to our Indian stars, excuse me, the stars from thesouth. For context, we have had atleast 5-6 Chief Ministers of south indian statesand many new super stars springing up all the time, particularly at the twilightof their movie careers when nothing more is left to be milked of publicimagination for their roles - college going, prancing around trees and romancingteen heroines their grand daughters age. They are sure to have an answer to theChina question or any question for that matter, and there will be armies of fansready to immolate themselves at the significance of the star's reply or lackthereof! I grant you ,however, that their answers may not be as stupid as those ofSarah Palin's!In the north, my countrymen are admittedly not as enamoured by super-stardom aswith family names and dynastic legacies, when it comes to politics. My point is -there is no problem per se with any of our queer preferences, except that suchpublic figures/ heroes do not have any real vision, desire to improve people'slives or aspiration for leadership, but just hunger for more public adoration andcult status. Yes, we are not really ignorant and we are aware of our power, powerto elect our leaders. We do get tired of such 'all charisma and leadership intrauma' leaders after voting them to power, and do promptly replace them at thenext election. But, the substitute is just an exact replica in terms of leadershipabilities though he may look and feel different to the untrained eye...The problem comes with the lack of real choice presented to the Indian public.Here comes an idea, though it took a lot of courage to even propose. We need totake ownership of our democracy just like the Americans did in atleast activelyexpressing their electoral preference in the recent Presidential election. Indianeeds a third alternative besides the two ruling parties which have been tossingthe baby of gullible indian public between them. The third party should constituteonly educated thinkers who can run the country like a turnaround management. Thesolution might sound silly to you, but tell me how many able politicians likeManmohan Singh have you seen who also have the boldness to embrace the murkywaters of politics or the spine to stand by their ideologies and convictions, andnot take the beaten path of millions of non-descript indians like us out to justeke out a living?Wasn't an Indira who would unswervingly take decisions and stand by theconsequences of her actions better than these eternally insecure and petty lot ofrabble-rousers who might delight in the next terror attack so they can get somepublicity. Who would tell these imbeciles that taking advantage of one opportunityto do something of real value to the public is better in the long run than vyingfor the public attention and imagination, and offering no leadership at all?After all, yeh public hai yeh sab jaanti hai yeh public hai. (Afterall, the hoipolloi knows it all.)

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