Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Nov 14th,Children's Day,Did we celebrate it the REAL WAY...

November 14th every year is celebrated in our country as "Children’s Day" and it was on this day that Nehruji was born. Quite naturally, he was the 'beloved' of all the children who gave him the endearing name of 'Chacha Nehru'. As a tribute to this great man and his genuine love for children, his birthday is celebrated all over India as "Children’s Day".A day of fun and fanfare. It is celebrated with singing, dancing and storytelling in schools and colleges as well as on radio, television and other mass media. Special functions are held for children all over the country. The enthusiasm for this day is not much in big cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore etc. The mode of celebration is different as for instance Disney is celebrating Children’s Day with a week long Children’s Film Festival on DVD. The weeklong affair beginning on 14th November will conclude on the 21st of November. The Festival is being organized by Excel Home Videos (The Indian Licensee for Walt Disney). But in small and middle towns this day is of special significance marked by competitions and events in schools.

In contemporary Indian politics, only a scientist, ironically, can be credited with a similar affinity with children. Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, to stress the irony, is not even a mainstream politician - only the President of India.

But this year this day was a gloomy day for all tiny tots as an unfortunate mishap occurred in Noida. A three-year-old boy, Anant was kidnapped in broad daylight by unidentified persons from outside his house in the posh Sector 15 of this Industrial Township. Anant is the younger child of Adobe India MD Naresh Gupta and was on his way to play school, when two motorcycle-borne youth abducted him from the arms of his maid.

What an unfortunate incident to mark this day? To add to this the media couldn’t divert its attention and the entire day the various news channels flashed this news in some form or the other.

In Mumbai there was an incident in which a bunch of spoilt young brats returning from a five-star hotel ran over six laborers sleeping on the pavement, killing all and injuring eight others. The six youths were totally drunk and were driving a Toyota Corolla. All of them were in the age group of 18 to 21. 'The person driving the car, Alister Pereira, has been charged with culpable homicide under Section 304, which is a non-bailable offence, and several other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).’ More here.

Now guess what will happen? A case will be filed and a trial will begin. It will drag on and on like a steam engine. The key witnesses will be paid and their mouth would be shut deliberately. So after few months the Judiciary system will announce that the case has to be closed for the lack of evidence.Money and Influence will bail out the culprits and they would move scot free.

Is this the kind of youth that Nehru dreamt of for this country or did he want the kids to be abducted at day light only to be returned on payment of ransom.

Nehruji,my country has hope and I believe in it. I am not saying this out of sentiments but from an instance of which I was part of very recently.

Few days back I had been to St.John's Medical College,Bangalore to attend the All India Inter College Fest. There I had a chance encounter with one very humble guy by the name KD.KD took me to all the counters and spoke to me about all the events, contests and various other details of the fest such as the budget, the key sponsors, etc. Till this point he was under the impression that I was a student and another regular participant, only to learn later that I was not one. KD is no ordinary person, he made into the 3rd Best Medical School in India (i.e. St.John's Medical College, Bangalore) after scoring 95% in his +2 examinations from Vizag in Andhra Pradesh and clearing the entrance test. His father works as an employee at "Dock Labor Board" and his mother is a housewife. Since his parents could not afford his fees/expenses of Rs1.7 lakhs per year (close to 1.7*5 = 8.5 lakhs, as in India it takes around 5 years to complete a MBBS degree), he had arranged for the amount through educational loan. He spoke to me and wanted to know if by some means IT firms such as Wipro, TCS, Infosys, etc can help him in any way in the form of scholarship.He is also ready to serve in any of their health or medical related institutions after his studies. I salute KD’s zest for studies and "Never Say Die" attitude. This is what I call India Shining, a small town boy but with lofty dreams to achieve.

This is the most striking feature of contemporary India, one that is full of energy and drive. That is goes about it in an uninhibited, pragmatic and amoral fashion is true. It is different from the older bourgeoisie, which was tolerant, secular and ambiguous. The new class is street smart. It has learnt to fight to rise from the bottom and it has learnt to maneuver the system.

If someone asks me what is the solution to all this and how one can we strike an impressive balance between the ideals of past and modern dictums of today.I am myself confused.My inner life is in parody. I have one foot in India,the other in the West and I belong to neither.I speak a hodgepodge of English and my regional language,the combination varying with the kind of listener. When speaking to a shopkeeper or my housemaid,my verbal brew leans towards the local language;with a peer,I am capable of invoking the purest English.I am alienated from the mass of our people.I mouth platitudes about Indian culture without having read the classics in Sanskrit. Instead,I read Time,Forbes,Fortune magazines to "keep up".I am touchy about India and look to the West for inspiration and recognition. I am more Macaulay’s child and not Manu’s...... So do I really understand the true message of Children’s Day....

As was aptly said in the "Rang De Basanti" movie by one of the key actors : "Ek paaair past pe auur,ek paaair future pe rakh ke,present pe haam mooot rahe hain"

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