When we think of religion what comes to our mind is divinity, love, non-violence, honesty etc. If a person is religious it ought to mean that he is making an attempt to rise above pettiness or hatred and anger. Daily visits to the places of worship should enable a person to shed his ego or greed or mean-mindedness.
But unfortunately religions themselves have become a source of tension these days. The finer sides of religions have paled into insignificance and the people are subjected to some rigid rules. Fundamentalists interpret the religious texts according to their whims and fancies and the young minds are poisoned to such an extent that they believe the survival of their religion depends on the annihilation of the people practicing other religions.
The remedy lies in the hands of the religions themselves. All those who believe in the finer qualities of religion should sit together to revive and spread the message of peace, love, unity and respect for each other.
In 10 days from now the suspense will be over in India but not so, if it is going to be a hung parliament. Right now all of them are optimistic about the victory of their alliances which include the congress-led UPA, the BJP led NDA and third front led by none or all (it seems there is a fourth front too). One hopes there won’t be any uncertainty after the verdict.
Anyhow, whoever manages to scrape through, their top priority should be efficient handling of the law and order situation, which is hopelessly bad now. In a democracy, it is not unusual for the people to protest against certain policies but what is happening in the name of protest is violence, destruction of public property and at times even the police and army personnel are not spared. Then comes the most dreaded violence, which is euphemistically called ragging in the educational institutions.
The success of the next government will depend on its ability to contain these unsocial elements and it needs courage and a down to earth policy and cooperation of all political parties. In short, India needs an efficient home minister who means business.
Some people in India complain that cricket gets more publicity and encouragement than any other sports and games. Be it Olympics or Asian games or international hockey or football matches India makes its humble presence and returns home empty handed. But Cricket is a different ball game as far as India is concerned. There may be ups and downs but they bounce back before long. There have been world class cricketers in India who not only enabled India to occupy a reasonably good position at the international level but inspired the boys all over India to opt for this game. Now the position is such that wherever you go, you can see the boys playing cricket…and cricket alone. They watch cricket matches on TV and learn the trick of the trade and apply them when they play their own mini matches! Everyone wants to become a Tendulkar or a Sehwag and some of them do make it to the top! Cricket has set an example and it is for other sports and games to learn a lesson or two from cricketers instead of complaining.
One of my favorite songs was drifting in the air as I was slowly moving along the crowded road. There was an endless flow of vehicles and the noise raised by them made the song almost inaudible but I pushed myself through the crowd and soon found myself in front of the “music party” just when they were playing their instrument for a new song. The singer was humming another familiar song.
There was no stage or any crowd around them, for they were street singers sitting on the footpath but the songs were mesmerizing. The passersby dropped coins into a steel plate placed in front of the singers. All of them were physically challenged or poor but it was not this aspect that prompted the people to drop coins into the plate. I dropped a tenner not out of pity for the handicapped but in appreciation of their songs. Of course, I had to forgo one of the items in my shopping list.
All the forgotten things and closed chapters are resurrected in India during the election time. A candidate’s criminal background or involvement in scandals a decade or two ago are raked up with a view to embarrassing the candidate so that he will have to spend more time on defending himself than highlighting his parties policies and promises.
Every party has a skeleton in its cupboard but people see them as part and parcel of politics and do not attach much importance to such things but the mudslinging game goes on and on. If a candidate is found to be spotless his rivals come out with some nasty stories about his great grandfather! Or if a leader happens to be a soft natured person he is seen as a weak and incompetent leader and not as someone who can deliver the goods without much fanfare. Some parties refuse to change their economic policies or their attitude towards some western countries though the whole world has undergone a sea change. They still talk about American imperialism and stubbornly resist the growth of private sector in India….and there are people to believe them.
India and Indianness are shrinking as a result of the unbridled growth of regional parties—a dangerous trend indeed!
Ever since independence India has been making steady progress on all fronts. It has been a smooth and silent revolution made possible by the guarantees enshrined in the Indian constitution. The country can take pride in the tremendous progress it has achieved in education and food production. Those who have been socially and economically backward began to occupy top posts. Reservations in education and in employment are still based on castes, even though social backwardness is a thing of the past; and the ones who are neglected are the so called forward caste, especially the poor among them.
The benefits of socioeconomic progress has reached every nook and corner, but contrary to actual positions some vested interests and political extremists are sowing the seeds of aggression and violence in tribal areas and the result is that these innocent people are taking to the streets at the drop of a hat and thereby depriving themselves of the opportunities to come up in life. If steps are not taken to liberate them from the clutches of extremists it will be back to square one.