Whose statue is it anyway!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Many of you reading this blog would be aware of the statue building exercise carried out by different state governments in India. Maharashtra will spend a bounty worth Rs. 350 crores for Shivaji Maharaj statue which when completed will be taller than the Statue of Liberty. Not to forget the Uttar Pradesh government will in all spend Rs. 2600 crores (yeah that’s right, no typing mistake) for the statues of uh….Mayawati behenji. (The actual education budget of the Uttar Pradesh government is a paltry 70 crores)

Such blatant display of we-are-wealthy-and-we-will-show-it-to-the-world kind of attitude is a cardinal sin considering that it’s the tax-payers money which will foot the bill. The feeling that these tall structures, monuments will make us a proud nation by increasing maratha pride or by giving voice to the dalits is farce. The foreigners visiting our country will surely be in awe of these tall and magnificent structures but soon the truth will dawn on them when they see the beggar on the street right next to them. Such elephantine symbols are only for the politicians who score brownie points by increasing their media exposure and not for the middle class, whose money is used for building these and definitely not for poor who would have got this money otherwise.

It takes just Rs. 5000 annually to educate a child till 12th standard. Then Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra government together have deprived education to almost 4,00,000 children thanks to the equivalent amount of money spent on building these structures. These very deprived children will end-up becoming job-less adults, bar-dancers, beggars (maybe just sitting besides these statues and seen by the foreigners) and not to forget criminals. What a great vision of India 2020, isn’t it?

But fortunately we have institutions like the Supreme Court to see if this senseless expenditure doesn’t go unchecked. Some days back Supreme Court ordered to shut all activities related to the statues within 6 hours of the order.

In our country, when people start questioning our ineffectiveness we always take the garb of culture and try to stamp our cultural superiority. But who is to decide whose culture is superior. Also this so called great culture is no good when we are not even able to feed our own people and when the farmers who produce the food grains commit suicide. A country is in a very bad situation where it’s is past more glorious than the present. And thankfully due to the Supreme Court and other such bodies we are not falling into that trap.

Destiny's child

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

There has been hectic news flow throughout the week, from Indian football team making a hat trick of victories in home turf to Andra Prdesh chief minister, YSR’s tragic death. From making 10th board exams in CBSE schools optional to the landmark declaration by the Supreme Court judges to make their assets public. But hope can come from smallest of quarters like a ray of light entering a dark room. There was an incident last week that would make every Indian proud; something that we could call world class, something which saved a little life. I being an eternal optimist will write about this positive story.

A woman in Bihar gives birth to child whose heart is protruding out of its body. This is a very rear condition and the babies that are born with this defect unfortunately die because of infection in just 3 to 6 days. A man and his wife bring this newborn baby to AIIMS wrapped in a simple muslin cloth in a hope that their baby will have life against all odds. An emergency operation was performed and miraculously the baby is stable now. First time in the world the operation involving this has been successful. This story can very well be an episode in the American hospital melodrama ‘private practice’, only that this has happened in real life. God has certainly written a wonderful script for this destiny’s child.

We as a country require heroes. The doctors who gave this baby life are one such heroes of modern India. Their weapons are stethoscopes and computers. It will be heroes like these who will take India forward in its quest for being a global power by 2020. More than a military or a financial power, India will be a soft power. Another example is people like the brave staff of the Taj hotel that stood in the line of fire to save their guests. These stories of heroics give me hope and reaffirm my belief that this country with 10 raised to 9 people has something working for it. The very people who have, made this one of the most corrupt countries in world are its biggest strength.

Coming back to the small baby, I remember the starting lines of one of my favorite movie ‘Schindler’s List’ which goes like “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire”. In this case we can say, “One life was saved, 10 raised to 9 ambitions light up”.