Monday, March 7, 2011

Crazy Crazy World

What has the world come to? Doomsday on 21 December 2012 was hard to believe even a couple of months ago. But the amazing turn of events in the Arab world makes us revisit the prophesy again. Most disturbing is the turn of events in Libya where the government got cracking on its citizens opposing mad man Muammar Qaddafi. This actually began in Bahrain which first unleashed its Army in the wee hours of the morning on its citizens in Pearl Square. Wisely though, the Royal House withdrew this audacious attack, fearing backlash from the Western powers. But no such effect is evident on Qaddafi who has the guts to state that all Libyans love him. The Mad man's regime continues and its effect is felt world over in tumbling bourses and spiraling oil prices. God help all of us who are just coming out of the worst recession in world history.

The major reason for the populist Arab uprisings seems to be because of the oppression which the people suffered at the hands of rulers who in some cases have been around for more than 40 years! Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. How true is this in the case of Arab nations where absolute Monarchy or Dictatorship is the only power center? Arab citizens are of the view that a democratically elected parliament based on a nationally accepted constitution is the only way out. But is it really the case? They have just given vent to their anger on all the possible forums and have also successfully toppled long stable governments in the wink of an eye. Is it all really worthwhile?

Change is the only thing that is constant. But a change without a proper direction is like a rudderless ship. It will have its bottom torn apart. I have always had this opinion that a military rule in India will lead to a more organized society than what it is now. But, being in an Arab nation which is called a welfare state and also taking in consideration all that is happening around me, I can see that that too is not a correct solution. In fact I am confused.

To draw an analogy, let’s see how the state I grew up in, Tamil Nadu is shaping up. We have a democratically elected government running our affairs for close to 10 years now. How has it helped the people? Well, the average income of a household has definitely increased and the lifestyle has also seen uplift. But is the government ruling the state responsible for it? Not really. We have always yearned to be like our counterparts in the Western country so as people; we have made this state a safe haven for investment. We, as normal law abiding citizens, want to lead a life of contentedness and hence we are burning the midnight oil to ensure that we are wealthy and prosperous enough in the years to come.

But, is the government actually doing anything at all? I would say the answer is no. India on the whole is riding on the great Indian story with galloping stock markets and blazing IT Superpower. But, somewhere in the middle of things, we have forgotten to ask: What about governance? What about our growth plan? Things have come to such a position that we don't care whether its Ram or Ravan who is ruling the state as long as we get our monthly cheques. Slowly, the aam admi is feeling the pinch of inflation on his wallet. He is starting to question why prices have to double each year when the Price of a liter of milk in US hasn't changed in a long time.

With the plethora of scams hitting the country, our taxes meant for improvement of our country's infrastructure is falling into the hands of a few powerful lot who in turn enrich themselves, but cleverly masquerading in the public as a good government servant. For instance, the print, visual and audio media in Tamil Nadu is completely controlled by the first family. So, all the medium of propagation is already in their hands. It is they who will decide what its citizens need to hear, see and read. Is this any different from the likes of Qaddafi and his son? I don't think so. It’s a well known fact that booth capturing in the southern part of the state is a long time activity and is noticed, but ignored completely by the state and central officials. I am surprised people don’t see this as tyranny!

Cinemas were one area of relaxation for the public. But, now, even the movies are produced, purchased, released by companies and theatres owned by the first family and also reviewed and ranked high in channels owned by them. WOW! Amazing.. THIS can happen only in Democratic, Republic nation called India.

If this is not enough, the government decides that its people do not have enough outlets for entertainment, so it decides to give a TV Set free to all of them! And since that TV can accommodate 100+ channels, the government sees it fit to start its own Cable/Satellite TV! Little do people realize that this will take their view of Tamil Nadu to each and every home in a single move and also ensure that the channels held by them gets better revenue!

Wait wait.. you cannot completely write off the government, can you?? ;). It did have a brainwave when it realized that giving the people TV alone won’t suffice as they will end up being lazy and earn less. What did it do? Give Rice at Re.1/- per KG and other commodities at such low price that people will have sambar, pongal and vadai at home and keep watching the Government TV beaming the First family's political propaganda. The family head doesn't stop there. He further enters the visual and print medium with his books and scripts that are converted into movies that bomb without a trace. A good move to convert black money to white??

And if this is not enough, the MP from the ruling party also thought that he could get his hands on a couple of, if not more, telecom companies so that they also give free Mobile handsets to people for the next election. Thank God he is lodged in Tihar Jail.

With all this happening in front of our eyes, we are still content with it as long as our pay packets are on time and we can maintain the current lifestyle.

NO.. please don't get me wrong.. I am not asking to replicate a Tahrir Square at Marina Beach or MGR Samadi. Just trying to let the Tunisians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Yemenis, Bahrainis and Libyans know that grass is always green on the other side.

This is the world as it is. People come, people go. Corruption, Greed and thirst for power will always be there as long as Earth lives, just like the cockroaches.



aditi.rg said...

Very valid thoughts..the irony is those people in Arab world are fighting for democracy and we are fighting against a democratic govt..
now, I think its not the form of govt. that ensures growth..rather the vision and honesty of the leader at the power center. Good post!!

Basement said...

@Aditi: :)Thank you!! You are spot on when you say its all about the integrity of the leadership that sets the precedence. Hmm.. hope things get better in India.