Mera Bharat Mahan………………..Yeah Right!!

india1.jpgAs a little boy I learnt that the Indian Constitution was the largest written constitution in the world. I learnt that it contained numerous laws with numerous clauses. I was awed. Now, as a seventeen year old, I know that none of these laws matter.
Stunned? Of course you should be. The last time you heard, India was an organized, democratic country not a chaotic, anarchistic mess. Sure, that’s what we all learn in school. And yet, like most things we learn in school, this notion has ceased to make sense. After the Gujarat riots, continued poverty and corruption and, of course, Indian politicians, one begins to wonder, ‘Who the hell is running this country?’ and ‘Did the members of the Constituent Assembly actually have the acumen to make all these laws?’ There are, however, some laws which are followed and yet, strangely enough, are of no comfort. Consider, if you will, the Indian railways.

Traveled in a train lately? The last time I traveled in a train it was two hours late. In fact, whenever a train arrives on time the passengers let out a sigh of relief. Try asking for compensation because your train was late, and you will be shown a law which states that the Indian railways is not responsible for a train being late.

Therefore, every time we board a train we are clearly at the mercy of the railways who, out of the sheer kindness and goodness of their hearts, do not delay our journey, however important, by ten hours. Forgive me for not feeling grateful.

The Indian Constitution is strictly against child labour. The intelligentsia of today has made it their duty and prerogative to ensure that no child below the age of eighteen should be allowed to work for wages. In order that they might accomplish this noble goal they set up posh private schools (with fabulous education facilities and inept teachers) and government school (with inept teachers and with no education facilities). However, these schools (private and government) believe that making students stand in the sun for a whole day to greet a minister or students working hard at fetes to collect money for a “good cause” (though half of the money collected goes towards a benevolent donor’s birthday gift) is not child labour. At least the kid working in a tea shop gets paid.

The number of hawkers are growing day by day. There is a law which states that to open a shop or sell goods one must obtain a license. Most of the hawkers don’t know this (which raises another interesting issue – “why make laws if most people don’t know about them?”). No action is taken against them by the Kolkata police (what is taken is an extremely large number of bribes). The state government knows all but will not take action. After all, there is the state revenue and ministerial pocket money to be thought about.

There are some who will insist on asking why our country is the way it is. These extremely foolish people must be told that in a country where three fourths of the politicians have a criminal record, to expect anything else is absurd. The fact that Indians stopped giving a damn about politics was evident when the likes of Laloo Prasad Yadav became ministers. When the constituent assembly stated the minimum requirements for a person to be minister they forgot to add ‘intelligence’.

I’ve always wondered whether or not traffic policemen are trained. Of course not! This is India after all. Anybody capable of wearing white uniform and holding out their hands for cars to stop is considered a potential traffic policeman. Not surprisingly we are inflicted by the traffic jams similar to those in America.

However, unlike America where every second person has a car, the Indian standard of living is not so high. Thus, what we lack in wealth we make up in incompetence.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I’m not patriotic or I’m antisocial. It’s just that I’ve often wondered what it is that I am to feel patriotic towards. Is it the Indian soil? The Indian society and social infrastructure? The political infrastructure? An idealist would answer “towards India as a whole, every component of it”. But some things in India aren’t worth feeling patriotic about. Like India‘s obviously corrupt political system. If I do feel patriotic about anything it is what India has the potential to become, what it should become. But it cannot, owing to corrupt and inept politicians, lawmakers gone awry and of course, the general public which has the political consciousness of a wood louse. Add, to all this, problems like overpopulation and pollution and you get a recipe for disaster. “So what are you going to do about this?”, you ask. Well, like most intelligent Indians, I will ignore these facts, proclaim “Mera Bharat Mahan” and promptly immigrate to America.

Avinash Antony