At Gunpoint

First appeared in 21Fools e-magazine.

This article is not to be viewed as a negative criticism of the great efforts of our social workers who have forever brought people’s problems to the notice of the rulers. However, it aims at highlighting the importance of not viewing national politics as a taboo left to perish in the hands of a few corrupt people. The country needs smart and intelligent youth with sufficient life knowledge behind them to take a plunge into national politics now more than ever! As a nation of youngsters, it is also our duty to now give our long serving leaders a break to retire and spend some peaceful years relishing the fruits of their years of hard work. It is time for a more focussed next generation India that can take on today’s superpowers.

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“You know that 64 year old industrialist Bharat, the famous man who was born on 15 August 1947? Someone’s kidnapped his wife and is holding her at gunpoint!”

Bharat is the head of a big family. His wife, their many children and grandchildren, and several other relatives- close and distant, and friends –all live in one large house in New Delhi. Bharat had started his business at a very young age but his risk fearing business model never earned him much returns. About twenty years ago, on the advice of one his sons, he revamped the whole business model, got into some foreign collaborations, introduced computer systems and today his company has, in its own rights, reached a point where they can dictate terms to foreign conglomerates! An unbelievable case of ‘rags to riches’ in the last four or five decades, as other players stood gazing at their development.

With large families and large fortunes come large scale intra-family feuds. Bharat was showing signs of ageing and there was a general consensus for flushing in younger blood into the company. As a result there have been widespread conspiracies brewing within the household over the last few months. But this one was a shock to everyone in the family!

Bharat never thought that one of his sons and a few ambitious grandsons would kidnap his wife, and bring his empire to standstill! “Could this have happened anywhere else?” he thought.

Bharat had registered more than half of his business in the name of his wife, and she was his pillar of strength. In his own words, “she is the reason for his existence”. They were about to bid for an international project in a couple of days that could get him and the company a global centre stage presence in matters of policy making, and this kidnapping drama had only brought everything to a grinding halt!

Bharat was down and depressed, determined to bring his better half back home by negotiating with his ‘own sons and grandsons’! By kidnapping the lady her kidnappers had brought peril to the same business that they were demanding for, and this was as stupid and futile an effort as young Kalidas’ chopping off the very branch of the tree on which he was sitting!

Needless to say that complete lack of focus on what must be a collective effort towards growth of the business can impede its progress and pull it down to the very foundation it was built upon!

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This is not an aimlessly cooked up story without an ending. It is pretty much a fictionalisation of the present state of affairs in India.

India and its governance are represented by the protagonist who shares the name Bharat with it. The business he builds up is our economy and position among the other countries. The foundation of our nation undisputedly lies in our democratic set up, and it is the same thing that has been held at gun point by a few children and grandchildren who are none other than the citizens of our country.

However pure and honest their intentions are, what social crusaders like Anna Hazare and now Baba Ramdev are doing is nothing but holding the country and its government at the gunpoint of a threat. Albeit it is true that in our history we have Aurangazeb who waged wars against his father and brothers to prevent disintegration of the vast Mughal Empire so that he could be the only ruler of the dominion, and later Mahatma Gandhi who held the vast British Empire at the virtual gunpoint of a threat to go on indefinite hunger strike if they proceeded with oppressive governance.

But neither are we governed today by selfish monarchs nor are we fighting a foreign empire!

The government in New Delhi is elected by the people of India to lead the country, and reviewed for extension after every five years. WE the people of the country are solely responsible for OUR representatives WE elect to the capital. And it is only unfair if we ourselves do not let them focus on running the country. By going on mass protests and agitations, we are only pulling our country down by not allowing our ministers and bureaucrats to focus on what they must be.

Recently, Baba Ramdev created a flurry in the national capital with his threat to go on fast if action was not taken on corruption and black money. This brought some very important cabinet ministers to the New Delhi airport awaiting his arrival in his chartered aircraft, for negotiating with him to pull out of such a protest. Is this way of influencing the working of our democratically elected government with the support of a section of the population and media, the right way to go about brining a change?

It is not the intended result, but the actual impact that matters in such things. As responsible citizens of this democracy, it is required of us to ensure that we choose the right people to lead us. If we do not find any among the existing politicians of today, it becomes our duty to find ideal ones from among us and provide them the opportunity. And worse still, if there is no one else worthy of contention, plunge into the pool ourselves and promise to remain morally truthful in spite of all the eye-glittering opportunities that might come our way in the future.

Our fellow-state Pakistan is no stranger to coups that result out of dissatisfaction in the governance. We have thankfully been pro-democratic and non-violent in our approach to our problems so far, but it does not take a Rang De Basanti to jump from being a passive critic to an active participant in our own nation building process, does it?

 

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