August 17, 2011

First conquer the evil in you

In the last few days, thanks to the zillions of news channels and news papers in India which have their content online, I have seen Indians getting emotionally charged like never before in the last couple of decades. Here is a list of questions I would like to ask each emotionally charged Indian. I pray that after reading these questions you are still charged up to address the issue of corruption that is raping my country and this beautiful earth.

1. Have you voted in the last general, assembly, and municipal election?
You can protest if you have taken part in the democratic process. If you have not performed your duties the question of your rights does not arise. Only those who have performed their duties should talk about rights.

2. Have you updated your ration card? Are you buying food from the allotted Ration shop? If no have you converted your card to a card that indicates you will not buy food from (public distribution system) PDS shops? (In Pune my family has a white ration card which is for people who want the card only for address proof and not for rations).
The questions ask you if are indirectly contributing to malpractices due to your ignorance (which is unpardonable given that you can at least read english) and lethargy. The above questions are related to hunger in the country which is by far the biggest proof of inequality, and the dirtiest consequence of any malpractice -- killing a person with hunger makes the killer a parasite which feeds on another living creature. The government uses PDS to ensure that the population gets the bare minimum supply of food. Sadly malpractices in PDS result in hunger related deaths. These malpractices coupled with inflation is making rotational hunger common in many areas. Rotational hunger is when a person eats one day so that he/she can work in the fields or the MNREGA; the next day another family member eats and goes to work -- the money that finally reaches the household after a days worth of manual labor (close to 12-15 hours) is enough to feed one person and if possible his/her children thanks to inflation. Your laziness and ignorance gives officials working in the PDS a chance to be manipulate the food supplies; this indirectly also affects inflation.

3. Have you filed your tax returns? Have you submitted false information to reduce your income taxe and/or other taxes? For example given false rent receipts to reduce your income tax.
People reading this blog post have access to the Internet; hence most probably have sufficient earnings to be taxed. Black money is the money that should have been taxed. This question asks if you have created some black money.

4. Have you bought a house? How much cash did you pay your builder to reduce the property tax?
Corruption and black money is not limited to the government sector. The private sector is a big source of black money. Once black money is created it begins to flow as bribes.

5. Have you paid a bribe because you thought paying money is preferable? For example paying Rs 100 is better than Rs 500 for a traffic rule violation or it is better to bribe rather than waste time waiting in a queue.
Giving a bribe is morally (if not legally) a crime of the same magnitude as that of taking a bribe. एक हाथ से ताली नहीं बजती -- it takes two to tango.

Anna Hazare is fasting against corruption. One of the objectives of a fast, according to Mahatma Gandhi, is self purification. Going on a fast does not mean that your sins are pardoned after the fast; a fast is supposed to awaken the very conscience that you have inherited thanks to the billions of years of the evolutionary process. This awakening shall guide you and help you guide the ones around you from committing the mistakes previously committed. Anna's fast and protest is against the evil of corruption. He can fight this battle because he has not let the evil conquer him. To become part of his battle you must first conquer the evil in you before you start your attack on the evil present around you.

Before you begin any battle please keep in mind this quote by Friedrich Nietzsche "Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one."


Anonymous said...

I appreciate the concerns you have raised in this blog. But, I personally feel that, people still qualify to protest in support of Anna Hazare and for India's overall good.



Pankaj said...

@Manoj, well said.

@Ashwin I understand and share your frustration. But in the nation of a billion people, we have to follow the top-down approach for any radical change we want. Don't forget that the non-leaf nodes are more powerful. There are three essentials for democracy: respect, fear and consequences. Stricter execution at the top is more likely to create a bigger impact. Awareness among the citizens may bring the respect for the law, but never the fear and consequences. And it will be an endless process.

Also, it doesn't matter if people participating in the protests were dutiful. They share the same environment as we do. You don't want to distribute ration cards, provide medical services or any other social benefits only to people who participate in the democratic process. You don't want such bias, that is just unfair.

If you are thinking that the protests are not democratic, you have to understand that democracy is an evolving process and not fully mature by itself.

Ashwin Rao said...

I agree with the both of you.

@Pankaj: You do not have to follow a top down approach. Revolutions or radical changes have in the past been bottoms-up where the farmers and/or the workers revolted and brought the change.

Speaking of unfairness - how is a person not performing his duty fighting for his rights being fair to the person who performed his duties and fighting for his rights? Any government/ruler shall begin to crumble when the rights are not respected and also when the duties not being performed. Look at the margin with which Kalmadi won the last election and the fraction of people who voted in the election [ ].

Protests are fine, but what after the protests. This abrupt behavior without any consistency is the biggest problem. One fine day you wake up and start cleaning your room but after some time laziness and chalta hai attitude takes over and you get back to your old ways. The cycle repeats and you complain "is desh ka kuch nahin ho sakta" and also "shivaji janmala yava pan shejarchya gharat!" -- this is what bothers me....

Ashwin Rao said...

@ Manoj bhulne ke bimari jo kalmadi ko lagi hai wohi pure desh ko lagi hai .. subah sab bhul jaate hai .. shyam ko vapas aate hai .. agle din subah hote hi phirse bhulne ki bimari lag jaati hai! ...

is chakravyuha se nikalne ka bas ek hi upay hai .. is bhulne ki bimari ka anth!