Friday, August 14, 2015

India @ 68

15th August, Independence day – that time of the year when the President makes speech on its eve, the Prime Minister addresses the nation from the Red Fort and yours truly posts a blog about the state of affairs of the country, a tradition which has now entered its 9th edition. (Here is the 2014 edition)

The shape of the country changed slightly in the interim with a long standing border issue resolved with Bangladesh. It was a case of geography-ception with an Indian enclave within a Bangladeshi enclave within an Indian enclave within Bangladesh. 

How is the nation doing as a whole? My hypothesis is that the Brownian theory of motion applies to the nation as well. We see one incident, we outrage till another event takes its place and then we outrage about that. Aiding this chain of outrages is the knee-jerk actions of the people in-charge. 

Which brings me to the subject of bans. Some prominent bans (meaning with widespread media coverage) were the roast, the beef, Maggi and porn. Some folks have a beef with people eating beef, others have a beef with such kind of people. The beefs continue and so does the ban. Maggi was banned by Government agencies and then unbanned by the Courts. Maggi passed by the testers in Singapore, USA & UK and failed in India which implies either (a) our norms are more stringent (Wow) or (b) Maggi supplies inferior quality products in India (WHATTTT?) or (c) simply our testing labs have some issues (hmmmm….). And finally on the porn ban – government compiles a list of sites to be banned, issues the “banned” list and then decides to lift the ban. Overall resulting in a comprehensive list of sites available in official public domain.

While the Government is busy with bans and post-ban activities, the Prime Minister has been on a whirlwind world tour and giving speeches and doing yoga and creating slogans and taking selfies. All these efforts, of course being made, for bringing the promised acche din. Meanwhile the Opposition leader holidayed, then got recharged and suddenly started speaking. The Congress is hell-bent on opposing the very same bills it had proposed which the BJP had opposed during its stint in the Opposition but is now trying to get passed. These parties seem to be taking the word “Opposition” too literally. As the President said in his address to the nation, Parliament is becoming an arena of combat rather than a place of debate.

History has always been a winners' tale. Only issue now, in the age of internet, nobody knows what actually may have happened with many claims and an equal number of counter-claims for each historic/mythical leader/event/fact/action/non-action etc. And gullible social media encourages widespread circulation of such nonsense (e.g. INDIA being derived from Independent Nation Declared in August (Quora link). By this logic why wasn’t Pakistan named as such?). Unless you are deliberately hate-mongering why can’t one just do a simple google check before sharing anything on social media.

Coming to the social media. We have a very active social media. But why is it so full of hate mongers. Every issue/event/speech is lent a divisive flavor to it. Whether it’s a hanging or a terror attack or a movie or even personal lives of prominent people or bans, every event is seen through the divisive prism by the social media hate mongers. We really need independence from these now.

In the past one year, we have a new Nobel prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi. While we praise his noble work, we should make efforts that such work is not needed in the first place.

On the movie front, the 100 crore club is now history. 300 crores & 500 crores is the in thing now. Blame it on inflation. 

On the sporting front, the Saina-Sania conundrum continues with both having become numero uno in their respective fields of play. Indian sports have been in news more for the power games being played off field than the ones on the field of play. True for cricket, football, hockey, boxing. Only Kabaddi has come into prominence in a positive light with the advent of the ProKabaddi League. With a year to go for the Rio Olympics certainly need to sort out the mess or all progress from London may get lost.

But enough of all the negativity. These are times of opportunity. With depressed crude prices and global slowdown, if the government acts (and it can certainly act when it wants to), we can certainly hope for good times (sorry achhe din) ahead.

Happy Birthday India!!!

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