I was watching a Talk show on some channel. The issue was corruption. They had roped in the most upbeat officer of that time as the guest. The show was moving on smoothly. Nothing new was being said. Everyone was being politically correct. Two guys in the prime of their youth, were arguing, “Nothing can be done. Corruption is so widespread. Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!” Suddenly the chief guest, the same upright official, remarked, “You don’t have any warm blood left in your body. Tumhara Khoon Thandha ho gaya hai!” The guys blushed and remained quiet throughout the whole programme.
I could not forget that remark. Who will like to subject oneself to such an observation.
Recently one of my acquaintances has locked horn with an ex-maharaja (I have seen the ex-maharaja’s palace in a glossy magazine. Just to get a tour of that palace, many will feel fortunate and blessed.) on the tax matters or rather on evading taxes. Maharaj’s CA was dumbfounded that a girl (who has forgotten to complete her full five feet height) fresh from civil services exams has the guts to refuse to meet His Majesty! I kept on pondering what separate those youths from that girl. The trios probably have the middle class background and completed their schooling from some Kendriya Vidayalaya! She too can be sane, practical, down to earth, amass wealth, float in luxury like other bureaucrats. She too can be like the rest of the herd.
I thought secretly, that that’s just the jest of a young recruit; she will toe the line ultimately. But no, with each passing year, she is becoming more ferocious without any sign of slowing down.
I often keep asking question to myself, why most of us are not like her? Sometimes, I think it’s her upbringing that has made the real difference. She has never seen her father getting rich by hook or crook. Casual flow of money (read bribe) was not the done thing in her house. Right from the childhood, she has seen her parents, living within their means and not being ashamed of it. They lived how they wanted, listening and trusting their mind and not the mob’s. Making and breaking their own rules, not going by what are “in things” and “out things.” I remember one incident. Her father was eating out at some restaurant, and as usual he was using the best fork, the nature has endowed the human kind, his fingers. The waiter was from U.P. and his fellows were making fun of him, “Tere yahan log fork, knife se khana nahi jante”(Your folks don’t know how to use fork and knife). The waiter felt humiliated and isolated. He came to his guest’s table and pointed out politely, “Sahib, the forks and spoons are here!” The sahib was listening to everything. He replied, “Go and tell your friends, I have used these God given fork in London, Paris, Italy, Geneva and in Hamburg too! What do you think, I will imitate Firungis in India?” No doubt, waiter’s day was made.
I think her parents taught her not only to be an independent thinker but to stand her ground too. But I think every one is not as fortunate as she is. Most of Indian youths have observed their parents to offer and accept bribe as daily routine. Some of us never purchased stationary. Most of the time, Papas bring it from office. If we want print outs or Photostats, ok go to daddy’s office. Mamma herself don’t know how much money is there in the safe. How Mamma’s trunk is full of clothes? That doesn’t matter. What is significant is her trunk and jewellery boxes are full. Means to fill them can be damned. It’s difficult to keep track of liberal donations for “Chai Paani.” Most of our youths grew up seeing daily, “Chalta hai” attitude followed religiously by their parents. Day in and day out they watch parents resorting to unfair means, be it telephone connection or applying for a passport.
HOW CAN ANYONE EXPECT FROM THAT CHILD that abruptly he would change into an honest, upright, no-nonsense attitude donning youth? How can he shake off all those formative years speedily? How can he / she be able to transform completely? Isn’t it too much to expect from him/her? When the entire generation has failed to throw up able leader of national and international stature and transform India to a great power, how can they blame today’s youth? By this, aren’t they masking their own failure? Their parents had given our parents an Independent India. And what they did with that country? They put India ahead in corruption list, communalism, nepotism, and giant government enterprises, which ultimately proved white elephants. What was that generation’s most serious failure? A particular mindset, that if we are electing a particular government, then we are entitled to free power, free irrigation, all our credits should be waived off and everything should be subsidized. They imparted that mindset to poor and needy. No need to take initiative. Everything should be taken care of by government.
Previous generation put us in denial mode that nothing can be done, they have made the system too rotten and stink is everywhere. At least, current generation knows how to work hard and play hard. On and often, many of us contribute for some good cause too. We don’t waste our time in looking for government jobs. We don’t hesitate in venturing out and trying something new. Well, in that process, sometimes we fall flat and hurt ourselves, but we know how to get up and fight again. Hopefully we will prove to be a better example to the next generation.