Anuja Rathi Writes a Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

Hello, howdy? All well?

Writing to you is quite a daunting task. You’re at such a high position and all that…

Besides, I am not one of those updated, well-read individuals who know something about everything. I don’t care much about what’s impacting who and what is being done about it. I do not proactively take steps to set things right in a politically wrong world. God knows I don’t even know half the things that are or are not right. I honestly don’t bother much about what’s happening in whose jurisdiction and who’s doing what. In fact, I avoid politics like the plague, and my typical comment in most discussions about current affairs is “Nothing will change, India mein aisa hi hota hai.”

It may come as no surprise to you that most folks, Indians or not, truly believe that all politicians are corrupt; the only difference is the extent of this vice.

Even when we vote, we think of who’s richer than the competitors, thereby indicating that he or she would loot us that much less. We’re used to fake promises; we know assurances are superficial and transient. But we still hope and we still take a half day off to stand in a queue and vote. We enjoy movies like “Nayak” (starring Anil Kapoor and Amrish Puri: brilliant Bollywood film! ) but few of us would be ready to get down into the muck and clear it up for the nation and countrymen. We bribe policemen though we enjoy Jaago Re ads.

Yet, we have an opinion on almost everything. We have questions and suggestions.

And now is the time for us to talk to you. Thank you for this opportunity.

I understand it’s difficult for you to manage and run the country with a wild crowd of youngsters as careless and casual as me. But hey, we can chip in if we see things changing for the better. And once committed, we will take it ahead.

That’s my promise to you, before I share with you my grudges.

Shall we, then?

My first query: Why is everything in India so expensive?

Be it fuel, gold, real estate, food and household commodities, or textiles. Be it in the metro cities or villages. I think most things are over-priced. In one of the “developing” countries of the world, how can we ever develop if nothing is within our reach? All purchases have to be planned and accounted for, by the majority of the population. Those that needn’t think twice before wishing or buying, don’t really fall in the average category, and don’t really “need” the stuff anyway. They already have all of it.

That’s a sub issue by the way: the class divide. The rich are loaded beyond imagination, and the not-so-rich are struggling to make ends meet. You tax them according to their earnings, but hey, the Richie rich’s can still do without the 30% they pay to the government; the rest of us can’t!

There’s a sub-sub issue: What happens with our taxes anyway? You say you need 100 crores for a particular project, and frankly the quality of the product is not even worth 1/30th the cost projected.

Too much corruption, too much sub-standard material in the market and too many cheats and goons. You’ve got to figure out a way to set this right. And then tax us right. We shan’t complain if we see valid returns. I am not paying so that a buffoon can get rich and roam the world while I can’t afford an auto to reach office. Maharashtra irrigation scam, Uttar Pradesh 6000 crore scam; not good news at all. And right under your nose, yet unproved and unpunished.

Going back to where I started, things need to get cheaper. I don’t know how and I know it’s easier said than done. Transport cost, middlemen charges, blah.

But the point of the matter is: inflation is killing us middle class folks. If you really care about our well-being, and want us to be happy, and live comfortably if not luxuriously, please help. Reduce the exchange difference between the rupee versus dollar and pound. We need to express our importance. We need to raise our value. We need to end the belief about India being a poor country. It is not. Not when politicians, businessmen and actors have millions of rupees and assets worth billions. The day you see fewer (or no) beggars on the road is the day your efforts have been successful. Everything else is just talk and no effect.

How can we do this?

Education and tourism are probably the best ways to bring in foreign exchange. Why don’t you do something about them? Health and sanitation sure could do with a shot in the arm. Jairam Ramesh said it all in his toilet-temple statement. Sit down and brainstorm about how and by when can we start marketing India to the world in a more lucrative and effective way.

Of course, that can only happen when the parliament is in order, you cannot be abandoning it all the time. It’s your job, and it concerns our lives…

Whew. That got a little heated. Let’s begin over. Allow me to summarize:

–       Inflation and class gap

–       Corruption

–       Education and tourism

… And it’s time to move on to justice. Or rather the lack of it.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Pretty, little, popular sentence.

What is being done about it? Zilch.

Rape, murder and other heinous crimes should be awarded capital punishment. You cannot be lenient with criminals like these. You can’t expect them to turn over a new leaf and forgive the justice seeking victim once they have been condemned to a few years of “rigorous” imprisonment, all of which consists of pampering them in the state prisons. They get away with little damage because of their “contacts”. It’s not fair. After the lawyers have skinned and sucked the victims off their meager possessions, the least that the victim can rest assured about is that the crime will be punished in a worthwhile and just manner. An unforgiving fear that will ward off future potential law-breakers. And this should be equal for all, of course considering the circumstances and implications.

It’s true that one size can’t fit all, but as humans, we sure are capable of superior thinking that is not always crippled by the rules. Some clear dictates and some that can be tweaked honestly and impartially… Now that’s more like it. Loop-holes are killing everything we hold sacred, our values are tarnished and our faith diminished due to scheming, shrewd thugs and the helplessness of the arms of justice.

I read that India ranks 131st in the press freedom index. Considering we are the largest democracy in the world, this comes across as a cruel joke. However, it is entirely believable. After the Facebook drama, and Aseem Trivedi episode, I feel inclined to trust any sort of dictatorial behavior. It’s sad, and it’s churlish. Forcing people to speak Marathi is childish. We’re all free as per the law, right? Then permit us to BE.

I am aware that the above may be concerns you’ve addressed and explored in the past, with some or no success. I understand you do not have a magic wand that will correct all troubles on earth.

I also know that a lot has been done and there is potential for so much more.

We’re with you. Just take the right steps and adequate measures.

Thank you for reading this. I hope you will think about this when you go home tonight and take some action when you get to work tomorrow.

Do remember this: We may say we hate India and the government, but therein lies an opportunity to make us choose to be here, to like this beautiful place and wonderful people. Apparently, even the gods want to be born in India. So, why don’t we make the most of it while we’re here?!!

God bless you. And I repeat: we’re with you.

Drop me a line anytime you think I could be of assistance.

To write and share, if nothing else…

Have a good day and let’s make ours a great life and a mind-blowing nation!

Anuja Rathi

Image Courtesy: [The Viewspaper]

Disclaimer: The above article is the personal opinion of the author and not of the publication.