Sunday, November 06, 2011

Yeh mera India: the week that was - a recap
Last week saw some interesting things happening around. One got to see how desires are fulfilled and ambitions are realized in many different ways in a nation where affluence and poverty co-exist with mutual indifference. Again, we showed how our mixed bag of priorities favors the glamour and glitz of international recognition than the truth of less privileged classes of society. To recap some headlines:

F1, Ra.1, 7 billion...It's all a game of numbers!
Yes, numbers of a different kind made last week's headlines. Numbers to fear and cheer about! For a change it was not the numbers we've been hearing from 2G and other scams. If Baby Nargis Yadav is the 7,000,000,000th kid in the world,  Sushil Kumar had the unique distinction of winning the highest ever amount in a game show (KBC) of Rs.5,00,00,000. And of course , the crores spent on Ra.1 and F1 that were being discussed endlessly- proudly displaying our ability to go international in sports and entertainment business. One quick look at these events and we know how our country is uniquely positioned as a nation of stark contrasts and mixed priorities.

When an 'aam aadmi' shot into fame!
While some need F1, some others need the bare minimum to make the ends meet.True to the spirit of the game show KBC5, the winner immediately shot into fame, from being 'aam' (common) to 'khaas'(special). Doesn't every ordinary person yearn for that 'special' status of achieving something. Ok, what does it take for someone common to become special: hardwork, luck, opportunity etc. For that matter, for most of us, life is a symbolic journey from a present state to better and improved one . However, not everyone is fortunate enough to make this transition from one social status to another.Unfortunately for millions of other aam janta who are toiling hard, there are no game shows to improve their condition.

Of fasts, yatras, jails and bails
Leaders and followers all aiming or getting attention with the tried and tested weapon of 'fasting' - the most misused Gandhian instrument. This has become a regular spectacle at least in my region. While some thought they could garner support for a revolution (a la Egypt or Libya) to wipe out corruption and other vices plaguing our county, some others believe tha yatra is the most powerful way to gain attention. As seen earlier, yatras on wheels or on feet, was a sure fire way for political wannabes to become a minister, a chief minister, wonder if it works for the post of a prime minister as well. And what about those who already had such positions and have landed up in jails. When those in jails fail to get bails would the jails be managed by prestigious star hotels?

Petrol, diesel and electricity
Who said the song from Pipli Live "Mehengayi daayin..." presents only the condition of the hapless farmers! Soon, the song could be equally appropriate for the city dwellers as well. The rising prices of fuel and power are bound to affect every aspect of life. The solution is not as simple as changing to a diesel car or the govt levying extra taxes on diesel vehicles. This will only add to the vicious cycle of demand and price rise dynamics.And what about electricity? Thanks to power politics in Hyderabad, most of us wake up to darkness every morning with scheduled load shedding , what with the government's supposed reluctance to buy power from other states.

Some wishful thoughts and...
If only, the taxes earned from high value events like F1 could be efficiently utilized for the benefit of the aam aadmi. But then, the question remains: what is the definition of aam admi - one who is below the poverty line (BPL)- one who's waiting for a job with MNREGA scheme or needs to depend on Aadhaar card for every transaction? Or, one who earns the livelihood on the pavements of a city or performs hardest of tasks possible with human labor? Or, one who...well, the list is definitely longer. Whoever he or she is, every politician would certainly get interested in them just before the elections.

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