Sunday, August 16, 2009

Independence Day – Tryst with Promises

Tryst with Destiny

For one more time, the Prime Minister of India, this time Manmohan Singh, addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day, 15th August, 2009. The occasion of Independence Day is our annual tryst with unkept promises to redeem the “pledge” of the earlier generation that brought us our freedom. That, seems to be the destiny of our people, a far cry from what was visualized by the leaders of our freedom struggle.

I have (unkept) promises to keep, and miles to go....

(Robert Frost)

Like many times before, the address of the Prime Minister was deja vu, a mix-and-match of promises old and new, very many of which have been presented at different times over the last 60 years or so in some form or the other. Year after year, over a billion people - many cynical and many still credulous - listen to promises presented in new garbs, embellished with empty words of sympathy and understanding for the plight of the people.

Sixty two years after the famous speech by Jawaharlal Nehru, the struggle for freedom from want and hunger still continues and may continue for another generation.

Here is a quick look at the real "reality show" of THE PEOPLE.

Security and safety of life ....Terrorists are responsible

House and shelter......High Prices and Shortage

Power....High prices and Shortage

Food....High prices and Shortage


If they can't get bread, let them have cake - Marie Antoinette(?)

It is true, however, that in the ultimate analysis WE THE PEOPLE are responsible for our miseries. We keep on exercising our democratic rights in a non-serious manner by electing parties and persons who do not deserve to be elected ever and by not raising our voices loudly enough when those in authority misuse their power and fail to do their duty.

The only pledge the people need to take is to become responsible citizens who know how to exercise their rights and who also know their duties towards the society and discriminate between right and wrong.



At August 17, 2009, Blogger Suman said...


At August 18, 2009, Blogger Ashok Pande said...

Well written ... and very apt pictures to go with the text.

Keep it up!


At August 18, 2009, Blogger Amol Agrawal said...

excellent stuff... Great reality show....

It is all so much of a show really in India. All that matters is GDP growth, FII investment, FDI investment and ofcourse equity markets going only up. Earlier economics and policymaking meant some sensibility to the people's needs. Now we just don't know who those policies are for? Name one basic need and we are struggling to provide it. Despite this India shining is the mantra.

At August 18, 2009, Anonymous sm said...

well written
we do not exercise our right to vote.

At August 18, 2009, Blogger keepcool said...

you have put it very well.

the article itself is very pertinent.

At August 18, 2009, Blogger Balvinder Singh said...

I think every one rises to his or her incompetence one day and it seems that present government has done so. The victory in the recent elections has made them complacent.

At August 18, 2009, Blogger Dr. VIDYUT KATAGADE said...

Saying so much in so few words (in spite of voluble pictures) runs the risk of 'Miscarriage of message'. Lokadhikar isn't the only Angry Aam Aadmi to find a soft Punching Bag in MMSingh, at least a former bureaucrat, perhaps using learnt skills on behalf of scoundrels of varied shades. Who ever asked the public to listen to his promises ONLY and NOT his WARNINGS? Did he not mention Environmental Imparity, Population Boom & Rural-Urban disparity adding to peoples' Shift today,a fight tomorrow? A Simple man, so are his ways & hints. Is only a PM to have a Tryst with Destiny and his teaming millions Free to wag tails or tongues? Do Common Indians see no code or cause to chase? We either fall in line or fall apart. We don't reach Red Fort,and fill Blogs. All feel relieved, while problems grow. This is NO WAY to TREAT A DEMOCRACY!! We need to chip in for a Shared Future, more than abuse our Freedom of Expression.

At August 18, 2009, Anonymous Yasmin Batliwala said...

referring to message of mr. vidyut, i feel Lokadhikar has already said as much about the people's own responsibility at the end.
but in democracy, the people's responsibility is also to elect people who will deliver and not merely give promises. then it is for those elected in govt. to prove their worth.
if MMS has warned about certain things, so have others.

that, or his simplicity is no excuse for failure to deliver on basics as pointed out by amol, begininng with our security and safety where the govt. has truly failed.

their job is to deliver. thats why they are elected.

At August 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with yasmin.
of course, it is not that only the PM is at fault.

but he happens to head the govt. that has been messing up by focussing on only GDP and stock markets to show progress.

At August 18, 2009, Blogger Dr. shyam gupta said...

यह सही है,कि सिर्फ़ पी एम का ही काम नहीं, पर ’कीप इट अप’ नाइस आर्टिकल आदि कमेन्ट देने से क्या बनेगा। सभी को स्वयं को राष्ट्र-भक्ति,संयम,जिम्मेदारी,नागरिक-समझ, लोभ-लालच ,अति-सुख अभिलाशा,अनियन्त्रित नकल से बचना,आदि पर सिर्फ़ सोचना नहीं अपितु स्वयं चलना होगा।
"आप लडिये या झगडिये
दोष चाहे एक-दूसरे पर मढिये,
दोष इसका,न उसका न तेरा है;
मुझे शूली पर चढादो,
दोष मेरा है।"

At August 18, 2009, Anonymous anushaasit said...

डॉ. गुप्ता आपकी सोच सही है और जो कुछ एक नागरिक को करना है वह हमें करना चाहिए.

लेकिन जो सरकार लोकतन्त्रमें चुनकर आती है उस पर जनता विश्वास करती है. दुर्भाग्यसे आज साठ वर्षके बाद भी लोगोंको मूलभूत सुविधा दिलाने में हमारे द्वारा चुनी गयी सरकारें सदंतर निष्फल रही है. सरकार में जो लोग हैं वह सिर्फ़ वादें करते रहें और जनताको बेवकूफ़ समझकर मनमानी करते रहें यह अब कतई मंज़ूर नहीं है.

तो अब हरेक नागरिक का प्रथम कर्तव्य निश्चित रूप से यही है की वह सही पक्ष और सही लोग को चुनें और अगर चुनी हुई सरकार सही काम नहीं करती हो तो जनता उसे सहन न करें जैसे आजतक सहन करती रही है. अस्तु.

At August 19, 2009, Blogger Ajay Mehta said...

As the citizens of this country, people are doing their bit by voting, which is reflected in the voting percentage pattern in the preceding General Elections. But there is absolutely no visible urgency to improve on the political arena. People have to wait for 5 long years before correcting their mistakes, which they always realise after commiting them. But there is no way out than this.
It is the political leadership which is directionless and lacks imagination. As people of this country has become wiser, the political leaders have become more and more complecent.

We Indians keep on blaming ourselves for anything which we feel happens bad to us, this is what we learn from childhood days, to adjust, without raising voice against the injustice.

At August 19, 2009, Anonymous sadaamast said...

ajay mehta has given very reasoned comments.

it is true that we have to wait for five years to vote for new people. but that we never seem to do and always end up choosing the wrong ones.

the main option which we have and which we MUST exercise is to protest loudly and in every way possible whenever we find the politicians in power doing wrong things or ignoring public interest. this is one way we can prove ourselves to be deserving citizens.

At August 21, 2009, Blogger ms said...

why does the average indian think he has done his bit for the country by casting his vote? does it stop him from accepting bribes, providing shoddy service, indulging in communal violence, acting in the most inhumane way? the government is elected from the population of a country. why do we behave as if our elected government appeared from some other world? if we have lazy, incompetent politicians, guess where they came from? from the very people who elected them! everyday we see news about how low we have sunk - dowry deaths, drive-by shootings, kidnapping of children and their subsequent murders, the regular killing of businessmen in Noida, violence and public humiliation of women, heaps of garbage. are you blaming the government if a citizen chooses to drive a 10 lakh car and yet rolls down his window to throw garbage? is the government responsible for the long tea breaks post office, bank and government employees take while long queues form? is the government also guilty of providing drivers licences without the required test? is the PM to be blamed for high price of electricity in a country where so much water is wasted by the ignorant and selfish citizens? is he also responsible for the destruction of our rainforest because developers are there to satisfy buyer's need for swanky apartments? what about the poor condition of our roads and metro flyovers? so easy to point the finger at a government. the definition of a democracy is government "of the people, by the people and for the people". the first two phrases are forgotton and only the third phrase is remembered. the government is not your domestic servant or a pet. they can only come up with measures to fix the country's problems. it is the duty of every citizen to follow them honestly and sincerely. i don't think ManMohan Singh is personally encouraging bad driving and lane jumping on our roads. if the people cannot see and follow the white lines defining their correct path, why blame the government for traffic jams and resulting fuel consumption.
and don't keep throwing pictures of 26/11 and incomplete apartment blocks, mess of electricity wires to explain the nation's failing standards. terrorists have a lot of help from our "faithful voters", and if you live in delhi you will get accustomed to huge entangled mess of power lines on every pole - courtsey our own wonderful people.
the government is like the weather report - it can warn you about storms and rain, but you have to ultimately fasten your doors and windows.

At August 21, 2009, Blogger keepcool said...

what ms has said makes sense.
however, the way the democracy works is through elected representatives. therefore, first and foremost people have to vote for the right people.

as regards the people's own mentality, yes it is to a great extent at fault. but we cant excuse misgovernance by saying that elected representatives come from us only. the fact they are elected means that they are somewhat above the other and expected to do better in government than merely being the irresponsible citizens which most of us are.

i am convinced that the quality of government and governance is key to even bring about a change in attitude of the masses.the change will not happen just because we keep cursing ourselves for not being responsible enough.

there is no escape from reality that elected governments have not only failed but by tolerating corrupt people they have also done harm becuz many people feel that what the leaders are doing, they can as well do.

At August 25, 2009, Blogger Basudeb Sen said...

Good articles, good comments, good blog. Let every common Indian become uncommon, show uncommon responsibility to others, develop uncommon courage to elect uncommon leaders to represent them in democracy and pusue with uncommon tenacity the political leaders and the elite to behave as true democracy servants of the people rather than giving speeches and promises. Let the people lead and the politicians and bureaucracy follow instructions; let the rule be one of autamatic removal of public servants as and when they fail to follow people's instructions.

At August 25, 2009, Blogger Basudeb Sen said...

Good article. Good comments. Good Blog. Let common people become uncommon and force the elected representatives to follow the instructions of the people rather than giving lecturrs and promises.


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