Sunday, March 13, 2011

Come on everybody.... own up!!

Would have loved to blog about my Dilli Yatra - short and exceedingly sweet. But my sore wrist is protesting. Perhaps tomorrow?? What amazed me was the indifference in the Capital to the Japanese calamity. The Tsunami, the earthquake... the monumental tragedy of it all, left Dilliwallas totally cold! Delhi partied on non-chalantly and desi tv channels swiftly shifted to local gossip after a few mandatory clips from the devastated areas. Shame on us!
************


This appeared in the Asian Age \ Deccan Chronicle yesterday.

Own up…. and be damned !

Since India is in Confession Mode – starting with Manmohan Singh - let’s all start ‘owning up’. Ummmm…. let me think…. I once stole a mango from someone’s bageecha. Oh yes, a guava , too. And I threw ink bombs on my French teacher. I also bunked classes constantly. Crashed other people’s cars. Pinched menu cards from fancy restaurants. Rang the fire alarm at school.Rode bikes without my parents’ knowledge.Wore lipstick and kohl at age twelve. Rang doorbells, harassed neighbours, made prank calls to a couple of Italian blokes…. all this before I turned fourteen. Broke a few hearts, too. Had my mine broken. What else? What else? Oh…. a lot more. But , on looking back, I realise I was pretty stupid. Not only did I get caught every single time, I also received punishment ( often, far harsher than the crime committed). Worse, when I behaved still more stupidly and owned up, I got thrashed. I knew what every child knows – owning up is a pretty dumb thing to do, if you imagine there will be zero consequences. The rash act of owning up comes with an important assumption – it automatically means you are ready to face the music and take what follows on the chin.That could involve standing outside the classroom for hours on end. Writing a thousand lines, getting rusticated, not wincing when the cane makes contact with bare skin. You know, the usual torture that follows school confessions. But obviously, our netas have rewritten the old rules. The latest fad is to play martyr and ‘own up’. But after this brave and reckless gesture – what? Apparently, nothing! Illey po. It is as if having uttered those impressive words (“I am willing to own up,” said our pious P.M. earlier this week), the matter automatically ends right there. Khel khatam…. Boys and girls, go home and play…. or pray. The mighty leader has admitted his lapses. We should applaud and be grateful.
What rubbish!
Come on… this is nothing but nautanki. That too, on a pretty amateurish level. Is it enough to say sorry and not follow up the apology with action ( please note: I did not say ‘resignation’). If someone in a position of great power has indeed had the guts and gumption to admit a mistake was made, the next logical thing to do is to rectify it. Or at least pretend! But no. In India it begins and ends with the person uttering those meaningless ‘magic’ words – I confess. Since the P.M . is responsible for this trend, we are waiting for the asli culprits to follow suit. Will they? Not a chance. No wonder fraudster Hassan Ali Khan is not just smirking in court and muttering ‘stupid people’ under his breath as some of those bumbling officers of the Enforcement Directorate get ticked off by Justice Tahilyani like they were errant school kids (“Do your homework….” said the learned judge). Meanwhile, India is left grappling with the numbers being tossed around – who can understand Income Tax arrears – ARREARS – of Rs.72,000 crores ( larger than the nation’s Health Budget)? The ‘aam aadmi’ ( yup , the very same chap our P.M. wants to impress) is unable to comprehend a thing. All he or she is interested in knowing is this – will the bounder be punished? Will he sing? Name names? Or…. errrr… own up?? Since it’s so cool to do so these days, why not, bhai? That goes for Maharashtra’s Chief Minister , Prithviraj Chavan, whose image has gone for a toss in the light of recent revelations. What an irony! Here he was, Mr. Clean himself, who was supposed to white- wash the mess in the State and make everybody forget Adarsh Society Ki Ajeeb Kahani. But his brand of detergent wasn’t good enough! So much dirty laundry has since come tumbling out of his personal closet, that citizens are wondering how he is planning to crawl out of three prickly controversies ( CVC,Antrix-Dewas,Wadala apartment). Will he also take the easy way out and start owning up?
The trouble with confessionals is that after a point, they lose their emotional power to generate sympathy. And unless these public confessions are followed through, they remain hollow and pointless. A massive book on contemporary confessions would be fascinating to read , because such outpourings are engineered to elicit specific responses. When powerful people admit weaknesses, their words make us feel a little better about our own miserable lives ….our petty concerns. George Bush Jr., quite possibly one of the most detested Presidents of America has surprised the public by admitting to quite a few gaffes. It may well have been his intention to influence American opinion and present a more human side to his crazy Presidency. Obama is definitely not in the mood to soften his position. While Gaddafi and Mubarak continue to rave and rant even as the world unites against their tyrannical regimes. Back home, we are more concerned with Rajat Gupta’s stated position on his exact role in the various financial scams he is accused of being involved in. Will he ‘own up’ and opt for as honourable an exit as International law permits? Or will he take Lalit Modi’s defiant stand and defend every single action, regardless of the facts in the public domain?
The ugly truth behind most of the recent confessions is that those going in for them are doing so with their backs against the wall. It’s that route – or else. But it certainly does not make them honourable men, nor does it exonerate them. It should be seen for what it actually is – a ploy to buy time and fix things.
India is facing its ‘Sholay’ moment, with the big question being: ‘Ab tera kya hoga, Kaalia?’
But who amongst the current lot will own up to being Gabbar Singh????

25 comments:

cmpershad said...

`Dilliwallas totally cold! Delhi partied on non-chalantly'

people who are passionless with the way murders and rapes are going on in the city, what difference does it make to the happenings of a far-off place :(
May your wrist be healthy and happy :)

Sushma Harish -Nee Kallianpur said...

These are open and ever hanging questions for India.
I heard one exclaim "interesting" upon seeing the japan news.
Delhi is Delhi- apnaa raaj hei.

NAT said...

Shobha,

Don't tell me that you are following Amitabh's footsteps of recalling your childhood days.
Very interesting for a girl child of the late 40s early 50s. Very spirited.

As far as looking out for a principled PM and politicians to run this Country. It would be like looking out for a needle in a haystack.

Yes CMP above has said it all. We do not have any feelings for our own people who are kicked, killed, raped etc. We have lost it...

The rogues and rascals living Off the poor, looting the Country high and dry should ponder...God forbid if we are struck in the same manner where will all that loot go. They should start searching their conscience (if they have one)and change for the better.

Cheers!

goodluck said...

Japan's earthquake is a wake up call for the wealthy and for the corrupt. Fancy houses, personal planes, yatches, loved ones etc. etc. can also be come rubble. For the middleclasses, it will be a nightmare. For the poor, it does not matter. Water and fire with the assistance of wind will save the earth from all beings.
As Vinod Mehta pointed out, our prime minister is a survivor. Atleast, he seems to be taking some action unlike others who just refuse to open their eyes.

Emiliy said...

tell me what did Mumbaikars do to show their distress for Japan? why blame Delhi? Did Mumbai stop work or partying? I guess instead of sermonizing it's better to introspect the apathy....

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Arjun said...

It is said, some people are best kept away from a problem than compound it further. The same holds true for Indians in this context. For a tragedy struck country, i.e. Japan, there's not much India can offer, except go to temples, mosques and churches or conduct jagrans for the speedy recovery of that nation.
Look at the past disasters to have struck India, and its response to that, one can safely say, India lacks the skills, at least for now.
Working up monetary, food, and medical aid is again something that the nation cannot give away generously in view of the scarcity for its own people.
So, its not that the dillwallahs or the country is acting cold, its just that the country is acting normal, whatever you make of that !!!

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ashwini said...

Very sad what happened in Japan, but it has happened to us also, we have our own share of yearly natural disasters and terrorist attacks, and politicians promises! Its like hey no terrosrist attack yet or natural disaster? Why its already three months in the new year? But the politician knows, that peoples memories are very short and so they own up and its the same with the earthquake. 'Very bad yar! So, let go out and party!' Thats the attitude. But the same people will also help out their own countrymen at times of need I promise you that.

goodluck said...

The Japanese are a disciplined lot. There are no riots, no blame game. Simple acceptance and wanting to move on. Not breaking Qs and allowing graciousness to take precedence. I am following news in NY times and LA times where they are applauding the way Japanese are behaving inspite facing the worst possible disaster.
Our own reaction to natural and man made disasters had been hysteria. First we start the blame game. And then the opposition uses these opportunities as job hunting. And the people start their dramatics in front of the electronic media. Electronic media starts its trp wars. And the government officials try to use this opportunity to fill their pockets.

shreya said...

What is worse is that, once the mess comes out a cat and mouse between justice and criminals begin and sadly justice is the mouse. The charade goes on for years by which most of important evidence has been cleaned up hence leading to much lenient punishment for this highly corrupt lot.
They say if you want the change, be the change. But how??

Binu Varghese said...

Shobhaa, you are such a sham... just the other day, you were sitting smug in the Television studio and playing oh so horrified when Sheila Dixit blamed Delhites for the cold inaction on the Young girls murder... today u want them to stop parties to mourn Japan... shame on you...

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sushant said...

ya feeling bad for the japanese people ,beside the earthquakes,tsunamis the radiation coming from the plutonium has added upon the misery of them.....and moreover u say that delhi is partying n all rest of indian metropolitian r juzz de same .............. and rewinding the button of the life and going into chlidhood day is juzz awesome miss those days...."woh bhi kya din te "

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Tsomo85 said...

LOL NAT: She is a writer and was referring those as to what random underage immature girl would do not necessarily her childhood. haha Above all of those the only stupid thing I did was when my present best friend and I, we used to ring one of our Tibetan neighbor's door just for fun to make them bhakra when we were in like middle school. I remember ringing their door bell zillion times and just hide behind the bush. After couple years it looks so so so stupid when both of us pass their house & just amazed at ourselves. We just tell each other why the hell we even did that or had guts to do such a weird & stupid stuff. Ufff Thank god! we're no longer teenager & stupid.

Latha said...

The write up was hilarious !
Well the Q-A session of the PM was well orchestrated with people asking insipid questions without touching the real issues.
His long winding answer to the Antrix-Dewas issue was not only ridiculous but obviously meant to avoid answering the question, "Do you buy what Kapil Sibal says, that there is zero loss in the 2G Spectrum to the nation." First of all there was a mediator, a real pest & the best person for the job. He saw to it that people who ask real questions are not given a chance. He tried to stop Arnob when he tried to ask his question, and did the job entrusted to him dutifully. When Arnob managed to ask the question in spite of his admonishings, the pest tried to quell him into silence & said angrily that the PM was not there to be interrogated ! Then why was he there ? If he chose not to answer the questions asked on behalf of the people, he had no business to be there.
The PM also said something remarkable. "I did not do any negotiations with the company." We know that PMs & CMs do not dirctly indulge in such talks. There are 'beat boys' who do this, so that 'they' can be arrested if caught.
Mr PM, you've not yet answered the question, "Do you buy the new Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal's explanation that there is 0 loss to the nation in the 2G scam ?" Please answer. The nation is waiting.

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