Throughout 2012, India has behaved like one of the most undemocratic countries in the world. And in all honesty, it hardly surprises me that the country is excited for Republic Day for a rather lazy reason. If we quickly review the year that was, you’ll realize that India is clearly falling in a backward spiral that bares an uncanny resemblance to a neighboring country.
India is a country that quickly forgot about three ministers who were caught watching ‘objective videos’ (read: porn) during an assembly session. While we laughed and outraged for a day, we let the government sweep such an issue under the carpet. We then allowed a state funeral for a dictator, Bal Thackeray. The city of Mumbai was shut down and immobilized for a day as people were forced to pay respects to a man who has ruled over a city via a non-functioning government for years. And then, when a young girl from democratic, free-speech allowed India decided to question the need for such an extravagant funeral and for the shut down of Mumbai, her Facebook post landed her in jail. If that wasn’t Taliban-like enough, the whole world watched (and is currently watching) how we as a country reacted to the brutal gang rape of young girl on a bus in Delhi. Onlookers were too afraid to get involved because of sheer fear of the local corrupt police. We saw government and religious leaders make obscure conservative comments, take no responsibility and attempted to play down the issue. And when the otherwise passé people of India stood up against such an atrocity, they were beaten by the police as they protested in and around Delhi.
The problem is that we are more concerned with stupid issues that do not really matter. We’re more worried about why Oprah Winfrey made India appear outdated in her documentary. Well, the fact of matter is if you behave in such a fashion, then what else do you expect? Instead of worrying about her eating her chapatti with two hands, we should really be worrying about how we ought to teach the men in India to keep both hands to themselves. In a secular country with such a huge democracy, India now needs to worry about the future of its state more than ever. The country is moving at a rapid pace in the wrong direction. If you will behave and govern the country in a Talebanesque fashion, what example are you setting for future generations and to the rest of the world?
It is during such times that one looks to the government for strict firm action and swift change in education, social reform and attitude. They call on generation X to take charge and run the country. But do they realize that they hold on to them by a tight leash? They tell them to speak their mind but teach them lessons of inequality and gender differences. And when something horrendous happens, they point fingers at the influx of western cultural influences, films and other idiotic reasons. Our educated ministers are nothing but mute goats while the uneducated run the country in a most undemocratic old fashioned manner – the only way they know best.
The West looks at India and laughs now. Filled with corruption, rapes, poverty and nonstop drama, this is the country that is regarded as a ‘future superpower?’ Democratic countries allow their people to grow; they teach them how to be better citizens.
Today, I’m sure I can speak collectively when I say that as Indians, we are incredibly proud of our heritage and our country. It’s our ministers we’ve been put down by repeatedly.
So on this day, what should the people of India hope for? Well, for starters India needs to wake up from the 1936 bubble they are currently engulfed in. Then, they need to stop it with the ‘chalta hai’ attitude. Change can only come when they group together and demand it. That is how a democracy works. Social reform is one that future generations will need to take on themselves. And above everything, they better hope all their Gods come together and protect from falling in a downward pit and pray for a brighter modern tomorrow.
Personally, I’m a diehard Indian. Amidst the failures of the country, I still see beauty and hope. And as usual, in true filmy fashion, here’s one that always resonates with me, “Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota use perfect banana padta hai.”