Something’s gone horribly wrong with India...
Don't look at the shining malls, swanky (leaking) multi-crore airports, or new fancy cars launched every other day by leggy models - the real India lives unashamedly around these garish symbols of new wealth. The stinky slums, over-populated urban clusters, polluted pot-holed roads, people relieving themselves in public, the long faces of despair compounded by hopes crushed by corruption and institutional indifference and arrogance. Don't they clearly prove that India is a transparent story gone badly wrong?
In this case it is not a drafting error by an arrogant bureaucrat, it is a lot more. Something has gone horribly wrong with the Indian narrative, and there seems little desire to countenance it let alone correct it.
The bizarre schizophrenia between two different worlds, between women swishing in diaphanous chiffons or men in Saville Row suits. The relentlessly ecstatic Page 3 hyperbole for collective voyeurism, and infinite, stoic silence of our unwashed millions. Outside the uncanny gaze of modernity, effectively detached from democracy's juicy fruits, Indian citizens, who gape with longing, deprivation and lust at the spectacular parade of the rich.
There is an unbroken thread that runs between the sway of pandemics and the Maoist uprising. Is it not the outcome of the mess that the corrupt, insensitive ruling elite has left behind in their desperate hurry to flourish, and nourish their insatiable Hobbesian appetites? So who will bury the memories of underdevelopment?
There are examples galore of the scam that has been perpetrated on a people who are trying to get used to using political freedom to improve their abysmal lot. Over the years, social scientists have revealed the wide chasm between the rich and poor, legitimised by a resilient caste society loaded in favour of upper castes. And what is it now if not a deadly cocktail of feudal and predator capitalism under direct patronage of the 'liberalised' soft State?
In the last two decades of easy money and high aspirations unleashed, successive governments got ample opportunities to make growth inclusive and transform the lives of those who subsist in sub-human conditions. Did they measure up to it even by the most minimal standards of efficiency or compassion?
India seems to have lost the momentum. For instance, they have spent thousands of crores, but they just can't clean up the Yamuna or Ganga. They refuse to do it. Even as the filthy sewage narrative poisons the entire food and water cycle, directly poisoning human bodies and nature. India's 'nuclear leadership' does not show any urgency, calibre or vision to solve issues that have the potential to show up as massive calamities.
In that sense, there is something structurally wrong with the Indian system and its leadership. And there is no reason it will change, despite the chest-thumping and back-slapping all around.
Perhaps it has a lot to do with how organised corruption has ravaged the courage of conviction, resolve and integrity among those who are at the cutting edge of either defending the nation or building it. Little surprising that ten fanatic men sail from Karachi and hold entire Mumbai (and India) ransom for 72 hours, celebrating a carnage. There is no guarantee that such an act cannot be repeated.
Nation building is a gigantic and honourable task which cannot be left to scamsters who rip our resources or pimps who are willing to sell anything - even to the enemy - for short-term gratification. If India has to survive as a nation then it will have to liberate itself from such organised parasites and reject the mindset of a collective victim. In this issue of Hardnews, our editorial team seeks to flag those 'indicators' of concern in this vast multi-hued canvas that have danger and helplessness written all over them. And which will irretrievably damage bodies and minds of the next generations who will inherit the new 'Economic Power's Great Myth of the Sexy Sensex and 9 per cent Growth Rate'.