When Are Achhe Din Coming?
However, my guess is not even in 100 years and I am being optimistic. Governments do not bring achhe din, people do. In countries where we believe achhe din prevail, people hadn’t moved from the cave-dwelling stage when India had achieved civilised status. It has taken centuries of de-civilisation to reach where we are. We entered the 21st century with large parts of our society still proudly stuck in the medieval ages.
A nation is a collective force. We are defined by how we are in a crowd. A working mob at best. Individual brilliance is an individual attribute. What is the collective attribute we encounter often? We have brilliant cricketers and cricket administrators, but we cannot say the same about the gentleman’s game. Justice Lodha has just barred two great teams from the Indian Premier League. The man who created the IPL is tweeting from London, while the law looks for him. This, however, is not about cricket. This is about us, together.
Mother Gange is being polluted since the Adam and Eve decided to mate and give the birth to most dangerous specie of all, the Man.
People go for a holy dip in a river, and 27 of them do not come back. Trampled to death in a stampede. Forming a queue is alien to us. We are forced to fall in line. Remove the law for helmets, and helmets will be a rarity on the road. Which civilised country has people driving in the wrong lane to avoid taking a longer route? This does not only cause inconvenience to others, but also puts lives in danger.
While we hammered Hema Malini for seeking medical assistance before trying to help others, we forget that it’s not Hema Malini’s doing. The crash happened because one of the drivers did not care about others on the road. We do not have to go into facts like why was a two-year-old sitting on the lap of a woman on the passenger seat, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Because most Indians wear seatbelts to avoid paying a fine. Remove the policeman from the traffic lights, and watch India in its full glory.
While we take pride in coming together in demanding a tougher law to deal with violence against women after Nirbhaya, but that girl was half-dead by the side of the road for over 40 mins with onlookers who did not so much as offer her a cover in that chilly night.
One of the reasons streets are not safe for women, because a woman being harassed is nobody’s business. Again, there are individuals who would standup to a goon, risking their lives, knowing that the onlookers will look the other way. At the individual level, we are as great as any other nation.
Achhe din is a good slogan, so is Swachh Bharat. The world’s cleanest cities are not clean because the municipality keeps them so. It’s because the people who live there do so. Modi’s campaign does appeal to the citizens of India to keep their surroundings clean. But as a country, we have lived among filth for far too long to object to stuff being thrown around.
The Yamuna cleans itself once every year. We call that flood. But that is probably the only time the river can be called a river. Billions have flown under the Nizamuddin Bridge, and India’s capital lives next to a giant sewerage.
Now we also have the Namami Gangé. A government project. We already have politics, including the communal shade of it, casting its shadow on it.
The truth is that the Ganga is not polluted because we didn’t love the river. It is also polluted because we worship the river. We worship cows too. Our city roundabouts are witness to how we treat them. If you are disagree head to Varanasi, thousands of bulls and unproductive cows are abandoned, they are all live on open roads, eat plastic bags and leftovers, life is hard to them. Worshippers are to blame. Also, the dead body of a cow can result in scores of dead humans in case the cow is killed by a person from another community.
Indians die fighting each other over a rumour. To protect imaginary gods, we will kill real people. If we are not busy fighting, we will cheat one another.
Politicians will lie to get votes. Shopkeepers sell synthetic rice. Pharmacies sell fake life-saving drugs. We do not want to pay electricity bill, water tax, house tax, car’s or two wheeler’s yearly premium for its insurance There are pesticides found in mother’s milk. How did this come about? Because as a people, we do not care for others if we can profit from it.
Crime, corruption, adulteration and profiteering are not unique to us. No country is untouched. The sheer prevalence and level of acceptance we have for dishonesty and unprincipled behaviour are unmatched. The respect for law and order, the concern for others and a thought for common good have become rarer than ever.
We have built swanky airports, Metro rail networks and giant flyovers, but nations are not built of concrete and chrome. Nations are built of our love and concern for one another. We are the truest when we say we will die for our country. Most of us will, if needed. But that’s the landmass we are talking about.
A nation is not the landmass it occupies. A nation is the people who occupy that landmass. Whither achhe din?
Author is a Senior Journalist, Blogger and an Export Entrepreneur.