Another warm Sunday afternoon as I accompanied Specky, my wife to a department store for a few final things to be bought before we finally catch our flight for London and a well deserved holiday. London… the city that everyone says has charm exuding out of every pore of every skin colour that you can ever think of. Yes, London is indeed a city that has embraced all races and religions and manages to keep them all working for each other. With a few hiccups, of course.
You, the reader might just be tempted to ask, ‘Our Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and other metro towns are just as accepting and we are, anyway, known to have a genetic leaning towards welcoming guests.’ I will nod and remind you gently that there is a world of difference between what the sarkari advertisements say and what really happens to the tourist who lands up here. If one is fiction then the other is the real fiction.
The tourist who visits Varanasi sees the same Ganga that we all see and what we all see is a river that has been the dumping station for all and sundry for decades now. This is the river where even fishes swim around with placards that say: ‘Clean the river, dammit!’ But who has the time or the patience to do that. This is a city where people want to prove to the Gods that a Grand Aarti at a Ghat is more important than looking around for a bin before littering the streets with garbage that no one will ever bother to pick up. And so we have city after city in this great nation where such garbage piles have grown and the people have simply accepted them as a part of their lives. So we have little or no sounds of protest from any direction.
This is why I say that Mr Modi needs to graduate from selling tea to taking up a jhaadu to give us a clean nation. But he cannot do it alone… the aam aadmi needs to rally behind him and each of us needs to do our bit.
Look at the electricity-starved, water-starved, and governance-starved cities and villages all over the country and you’ll know why rapes and crime have become a norm everywhere and not just in UP. Fear stalks the ordinary citizen in both rural and urban areas. If it isn’t goons, it is conmen… if it isn’t unfair babus, it is slumbering policies… the nation is in the grips of crime-laden squalls that threaten to destroy the glorious history that we are so proud of.
Mr Modi, this is why you need to forget your tea-stall now and get down to the more serious task of cleaning up through good and accountable governance. And the people of this nation obviously must not be sitting and waiting for ‘achche din’… they too need to get up and purge themselves of the greed that has seeped into their being. People also need to begin walking on zebra lines, so to say.
We as a nation must wake up to the sordid fact that Modi isn’t a magician who will wave a wand and all the virulence plaguing us will disappear. It will not. Sometimes it isn’t that we need to do something that helps… it is to STOP doing something that will help. So stop littering, stop accepting and giving bribes, stop searching for favours, stop misguiding and misdirecting, stop encouraging abuse, stop pulling creative talent down, stop accepting sub-standard stuff pushed towards you, stop fighting for what is morally and ethically wrong… I know these are the concepts that can be misinterpreted and used to justify all those things that have been pulling this nation towards oblivion all these years. This is where Mr Modi needs to step in. Modi ji, tell the nation how to define these concepts correctly… and half your battle is already won.
Modi ji, it is time for you to stop being a salesman. It is time for you to make the nation follow you with a zesty urge to clean every rotting pore, littered corner, and nauseating mind.
02 June 2014
This article was published in ‘The Education Post’ dated 02 June 2014…