Thursday, July 14, 2011

From Gandhi, with prayers...

If Gandhi were to be alive, maybe he would have addressed the nation this way. This is a pure work of fiction and is the author's view of Gandhi and India.

My dear countrymen,

I traveled my country from North to South and East to West, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Gujarat to Assam. For sure, I cannot walk the entire breadth and length of this country today, as most roads do not have a footpath. So a common man like me will have to encroach into the rupturing roads, with the blaze of horns screeching in my ears. I saw that the import licenses has helped my country boom and make it classy with BMWs, Mercedes and all the big names in the car industry. But the smoke the government buses produce blinds my eye and blocks my breathing. Can't we have good air filters in all the government owned vehicles, my friends? Some roads were tarred, some mud roads, and yet other places, no roads at all. Is it so difficult to lay out tarred roads and help ease the commute of our dear countrymen? I see people throwing litter, spitting on the roads, and treating public way like trash bins. Would you do this at home, may I ask?

As I walked past Bombay, you call it Mumbai now, I saw some very tall buildings. A real tall one, someone showed me was Mukesh Ambanis house. I thought he must be having a big family. But no, there are only four people in his house. Wow! He must have a lot of money I thought. I walked some more and reached the shack centre or slums of Mumbai. And I wondered how much of a dent would it make in Mukesh Ambani's purse, if he and the many others like him, build strong and lasting houses for these people. When he doesn't do that then how can he claim his love for the country?

I was passing by a village when thirst beat the energy out of me. I stopped at a hut and asked for water. The lady handed me a glass of muddy water which she had drawn from a well located kilometers away from her house. It pained me deeply to see people, children, did not have access to clean drinking water, the most basic thing a country can provide to its people. Her children never went to school, and on the other hand my country boasts about IITs and IIMs. Basic education is the biggest gift we can give to our children, propagators of the current generation.

I picked up the newspaper and read about Anna Hazare fasting to end corruption. What has become of the people who have the authority to make India the best country in the world. People hungry for money, people hungry for power, ignoring the basic needs of the human population of the country. These people fail to realize that power is in the growth and well-being of the common man. Power is felt when you have provided drinking water, food, shelter, education and security to every citizen of India. That is the ultimate power. I see that the rich are becoming richer, the poor are becoming poorer. It is so difficult in this demanding environment for the poor man to rise up one level so that he can provide three square meals, education, shelter and safety to his family.

Sixty six years since the British left us, and hundreds of people had the power to do anything in this country, build it, govern it, and make it the best country in the world. We left behind a clean canvas to paint with vivid colors and make it bright and beautiful. But now, I see a torn canvas, bruised with rust at the edges, The shades are grey with intermittent peaks of brightness. India has grown, but in what directions? It is never too late to start a revolution. A silent promise that I will make this a better place. A silent oath to transform India from the grey shades to brightness.
With Prayers,