I so wish Pritish Nandy had not stopped at Step 2..
Earlier this week, Pritish Nandy wrote – in a way only he can – about “Time to reclaim India”. He recalled the “..time when our hearts swelled with pride every time we saw the tricolour wave or heard the national anthem play. That pride has gone out of our lives today.. something has gone wrong with India and the rot begins with you and me.”
This weekend as you enjoy reading your Page3, watching “Big Boss 4″, eating out with the family, cursing the “system” and trying to get some work done, spare a thought for India – for an India that is being pulled into the gutters by the vile and the corrupt…a country that is being pushed to the brink, being “sliced and diced” in pieces to satisfy the hunger of those in power…Think how did things come to such a pass…Think where did we take a wrong turn…Pause and look within yourself..
..spare a thought for India…do at least one thing today that will make you a better citizen..and will help in our quest to Reclaim India…”
So I was more than gratified to see Pritish’s exhortation for all of us to “fight the rot.. stand up.. and try to reclaim our India”
But that was not the only reason why I just loved this piece by Pritish Nandy. I loved it because he dared to go beyond sermonizing and preaching. And that put him way above a writer, even a great writer. By pinning us down and asking us to “rise above…our rage and seek real solutions”, Pritish became – at least in my eyes – a real leader.
What did he suggest we do? First, “Do not keep quiet. Do not tolerate injustice. Do not look away when you see people doing wrong…Be unafraid.” Next, “Reclaim your freedoms…For only a free nation is a strong one”. Unfortunately he stopped at that – which is a pity since I am sure he must have thought more about this & related things.
In June 2010, as the ||Satyameva Jayate|| page on facebook crossed the 1000 members mark, I wrote, “… this work has only just begun…We have a long – very long – way to go…and we will need all your help, support and encouragement along the way. The journey will be arduous…and will involve blood, sweat and tears…and many more sacrifices… Let us today start a movement to Reclaim India.”
What did I suggest we do? I recommended getting “Interested”, getting “Informed” and getting “Involved”
How do you get “Involved”? Start perhaps by making sure you vote. Then remember your “rights”. Monitor the work of our public servants – to the extent you can. Complain – when you see something is not what it should be. These small things will help. But not a lot.
Not a lot because at the heart of “Reclaiming India” is the challenge of creating a genuine, credible and realistic political alternative. Remember, fundamental and lasting change will only come via direct political involvement – when one is ready to challenge and offer a credible alternative to existing political setup.
At the heart of very single crisis we face is an ineffective, incompetent and compromised leadership. Unless that changes, nothing much will really change.
And therefore my exhortation to you if you are really keen to “Reclaim India” is, think hard about a political career. Think hard about how a vocation so noble became a word of insult; think hard about preparing yourself to offer an alternative.
Work on becoming financially independent. Unless you are financially secure and your family is well looked after, you will not be able to face this challenge. Help identifying leaders who are willing to stand for elections. Try to create public opinion in favour of electoral reforms that will meaningfully reduce barriers to entry for such leaders.
This is no ordinary struggle. This is the “Long War” I often talk about. Are you up for it?
We may be dreaming the impossible…but I believe we can win. We WILL win. Join us in Reclaiming India – One Step at a Time. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!