Vantage point

Friday, June 28, 2002

My past few blogs have been diary-ish so here's a columnish blog.

First of all, the trouble these are having. First they have to explain why they used prostitutes to entrap corrupt people. Why don't I see anyone asking corrupt people anything in the first place? Then CBI people raided one of their employees' house under charges of poaching. And then, the CBI spokesman says, "This has nothing to do with Tehelka's expose of the defence deals." It is extremely annoying. The government is literally saying - "How dare you question us?" in a subtle terms. Earlier I used to think the Congress as a bad party, but the was the BJP is ruining the country, I am reminded of a marathi proverb that translates- "Bricks are softer than rocks".

What is even more shocking the reaction of the common public. No one really seems to care. There is a distinct lack of outrage among the common people at the way tehelka is being victimised. No protest marches, no chain letters, no hunger strikes. There are people (like La Roy) who will protest the nuclearisation of India but just ignore a bigger issue to public accountability. They convey the impression that vigilantes are wasting their time in a country like ours. In fact, we need to stop and think hard. We keep blaming the government for all evils, but aren't governments usually reflective of citizens in a democracy? For instance in USA, there was a hue and cry over Clinton's sexcapades, but isn't it true that adultery is very common in USA? Or when they talk about the stupidity of Dubya and his gaffes, they forget that 95% of the population of USA would probably make the same mistakes while answering simple questions.

But India is much worse than USA. At least in USA, the flaws are cosmetic and of relatively little relevance. We as a nation possess all the evils that we accuse our government of possessing. We routinely pay the traffic cop a lesser amount to get out of a hefty official fine. We drive 2-wheelers without a license and we litter the streets without a second thought. These are all day to day sins that we commit and then we say - "Our leaders are so corrupt."

Another issue is the Kashmir and Pakistan problem. In trains, coffee shops and on dining tables, we keep saying - "Our government is chicken, it doesn't take hard steps to punish the terrorists." or even better "On the 13 Dec attack, a few MP's should have been killed." At times, some of us (mostly hindus) talk highly of the way Israel deals with terrorism and rue the fact that our government doesn't do the same. Well, throw your mind back to 1999 and the Kandahar hijacking. 150 odd people were in the plane and they were released for 3 men, who since have been responsible for EACH AND EVERY terrorist attack on India so far. Did we as a nation show the will and the guts to stand up to the hijackers? NO! While the crisis was taking place, we had relatives of the passengers crying and pleading the government to meet any and all demands. We had family members sleeping on the street in front og the PM's house, all giving a display of what we are. Not one of them said- "May my family be martyred but let us not give in to these terrorists. let us look at the bigger picture. They have killed thousands of armymen and civilians till now. 150 is a small number." All they did was pressure the government to release the terrorists. I am not saying "they" in a blaming voice. I too would probably have done the same. It is our flaw as a people.

Look at the flight 93 of September 11. They fought back the hijackers and gave their lives, and probably saved the white house from being destroyed. But forget that. They were saving their own country. Cut to 1994 when 5 foreigners were kidnapped by Kashmiris demanding the release of Masood Azhar (we shouldn't call that a**hole Maulana, he dopesn't deserve it) and his cronies. The family members of these foreigner, never publicly made a statement urging India to give in to the kidnappers' demands. Never!! They kept on pleading with the kidnappers to release their husbands/sons/brothers but never told us to give in. This in spite of the fact that they have no sympathy for India or our Kashmir policy, but because of the simple feeling that you should not give in to threats. The terrorists had then stupidly assumed that kidnapping foreigners would in some way make a bigger difference, when all along (Rubina case), kidnapping Indians had borne sweeter fruits. They just kidnapped Indians in 1999 (the hijacking) and got M
Shame on us. 5 foreigners were sacrificed by their families for the sake of our self respect but we were too yellow.

This is the very country that once produced martyrs like Bhagat Singh. What has happened now? People will give their lives for a temple in some corner of the country, but will not make smaller sacrifices for the motherland.

They need to think. I need to think. We all need to think. With this yellow streak in us, where are we heading?