Lateness Guranteed

What is it in India that takes 20 hours on an average for a 14 hour thing, is completely unable to manage disasters, has no plan B, keeps on growing on the number of the people using it day after day while its size still remains the same?

Unable to get it?

Or are you confused between a few things that happen in our beloved country. Well…let me give you a hint.

It was established by the british during their rule in our country. Today after winning an election politicians battle over the post for this particular ministry. It opens up 90 days in advance and even if you have a ticket on which you cannot travel and which gets automatically cancelled if not confirmed, you still need to pay up a small amount and yes, it keeps bringing people closer(literally).

Most of you people must have got it by now. For those who did not, I am talking about our Great Indain Railways.

The trains almost never arrive on the right time, and probably never leave at the right time. They have been unable to find a better solution to the naxals blowing up their tracks which caused the gyaneshwari accident except not allowing any trains on that patch after dark. And yes not to forget who literally  aree bringing people closer to each other. These are but a few problems that we the people face due to the lethargic attitude of the Indain railways. But here I focus on one problem in particular, the waiting time for the trains.

Go to any railway station, one announcement can be prominently heard,”passengers please take note, train number xxxxx up/down going from ABC to XYZ, so and so express is running late for so many hours. The inconvenience caused is deeply regretted.”Now my question is when do these people really start regretting it? When to they really feel regertful and do something about it? Or is it some kind of a situation where absolutely nothing can be done? As far as the last question is concerned, i dont think YES could be an answer. There is always something that can be done.

Take the Gyaneshwari Incident for example. Naxalites blew up the tracks during the dark, caused a train to derail and thereby many people got killed or injured. So until a solution to this problem was found out no trains were allowed in that patch after sunset. Ok, wise decision. But for God’s sake that was almost an year ago now. Why do they want to show their ineptness to deal with things, by still continuing with the same solution. And if you do really wish to keep doing that, atleast revise the train timings. How long does that take now. Given the complicacy and the mutual dependency of the vast Indain Rail network, I don’t think it should take the authority more than a month. After all that is their job.

The solution that I feel can bring the Indian Rail Authority out of this obesity is if there comes in effect a law which mandates the Indain Rail to return back a part or whole of the fare depending upon the extent of lateness. I believe that they have nothing to lose in this particular area, which is why they are unable to get the proper motivation for work. If they start losing money for late trains, they will automatically do something or the other to save the money. And whatever we get in the end will be better than the present. And yes, if they want we can also say while taking the money,”aapko hui aasuvidha k liye hame khed hai!!”

AAPNE JEETI GAYA!!!

Being in Larsen and Toubro Hazira has its advantages other than just the job experience. Being here I have learnt more Gujrati in the last 3 months than I could in the 4 years of my college. Today was the 5th and final day of the test match between India and Australia, and in what can very aptly be called a nail biting match, India won the match on a bowling pitch while chasing by just a mere single wicket. Well the match was quiet interesting and though people at Larsen and Toubro were not in front the television sets watching the match ball by ball, but nothing could keep them from keeping a track of the scores.

Work was going on at its normal pace as it always goes. Though “Score kya hua??” was asked by many, many times. People were discussing technicalities of the job while some were actually doing the jobs. The most interesting case to see was that of two people, one from the shops and the other from some other department involved in a heated argument over some issue. Things like this are not uncommon though on the shop floor.  But what was worth noticing was what happened next. Of the 2 people arguing, one’s cell phone rings into a massage tone. He opens the massage and happily shouts,”AAPNE JEETI GAYA!!” The argument is instantly forgotten and scores start getting discussed and the argument now changes to who should get the man of the match title.

What caught my attention was the phrase,”AAPNE JEETI GAYA”. Meaning WE HAVE WON. Not quiet often do we get to hear the ‘WE’ over here now do we. At this moment I recall one of Akshay Kumar’s dialogues from the movie Khaata Meetha (wait…don’t stop reading here, I never said about liking the movie),

”AAP AMERICA JAO AAPKO AMERICAN MILENGE

ENGLAND JAO TO ENGLISHMEN MILENGE

FRANCE JAO TO FRENCHMEN MILENGE

LEKIN INDIA ME…INDIA ME AAPKO MILENGE MARATHI, GUJRATI, PUNJABI, MARWADI…”

So true, is it not! We actually are Indian at very few instances. Unless we are out of India or some outside power is intruding into India, or unless there is a cricket match we are just so very non-Indian. Just look at the today’s match as an example. When Zaheer Khan took 5 wickets and was made the Man of the Match, he was an Indian and not a Muslim. When Sachin scored 98 in the first innings, or when Dhoni got out for 2 in the second innings they were Indians and not a Maharashtrian and a Bihari(No grudges against Dhoni, I love his shots and more even his attitude, this was just for an example). But what happens to us after the match ends? We go out and start the discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, region and what else not. The question that really comes to my mind here is why so? Why just can’t we be Indians at all times?

Why do we fall for some power hungry politician’s words in which he makes us fight against each other. Who in a so called secular India whose constitution treats every religion and people of all religions equally, puts his religion’s claim on something that should rightfully belong to all? Why do we fight for the Ram Mandir or the Babri Masjid of either of which today who knows what exists where? Why not build an orphanage or a school on that site? Haven’t all the religions always asked to help the poor of the society? Don’t our religions say that we must donate some part of our earning to the society? And when we remember everything else about the religion, why do we forget this good part?

Why do we fight for what language should get importance where? Why do we not understand that language is simply for expressing the feeling within us, that it is simply to convey our massage to the person standing next to you? Why do we attach so much importance to the regional language, or should I say force importance on it when we have one National Language? Why do the south Indian’s do not study our National Language? Why do they give so much importance to their regional language to the point of creating a hatred for the National Language? Why do we need to print our sign boards in a regional language rather than print them in a language that is understood by if not all, a lot more people? Isn’t it supposed to be bad for one’s business? If one cannot understand what a particular shop sells, why should he go in there and buy stuff from there?

Why do we let a few corrupt government officials and selfish political leaders, ruin our country’s image by letting them organize a world event that makes us all feel sorry before the entire world community? Why don’t we unitedly stand against this and demand for a change? India is supposed to be democracy I guess? Right from the traffic policeman who takes a bribe from us for us not having an insurance of our own vehicle to the minister who bungles in huge amounts of money for issuing a public works contract, or steals the money that is meant for the flood affected people in helping them building their homes back? Why can’t we just stand up for once and say a simple and strong NO?

Why do so many questions plague India today, when they can be vanished by a minute change in our mentalities? Will these or should I say, can these questions ever vanish?

AAPNE SACHI MA JEETE SHAKE CHE?

To vote or not to vote!!??

The results of the Maharashtra assembly election are out. The congress-NCP alliance falls short of majority by just one seat, while as expected the infighting within the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance led to its fall while the Shiv-Sena’s breakaway fraction, the MNS did play spoil sport by dividing the Marathi votes. Everything was almost as predicted by the political pundits and the exit polls as well.

This election was just the same as the elections that have happened before. The campaigning, the mud-slinging, the rebellions, the asset declarations,  the rallies, the demonstrations of power by our politicians and the bragging of our previously elected leaders about the work done by them(however small it may have been) everything was just the same. Like always our politicians left no stone unturned to woo the voters. There were rallies and morchas everywhere. Not to be ignored was the coming of the star campaigners of every party to campaign for their party. No politician left any opportunity to address the media, and whatever may be the topic did very shrewdly use the media attention to glorify their own image and malign that of their opponent’s. The ruling party kept on emphasizing how the state had progressed under it’s able leadership, while the opposition going with it’s name opposed to what the ruling party said. Everything was the same.

Also everywhere people were encouraged to vote, and not to enjoy the voting day leave as a holiday. There were hoardings put up, both huge and small, and also advertisements on the idiot box. Each of them asking people to vote. Vote because it is your right to. Vote because it is your only opportunity to elect your leader, and that if you don’t vote you will be responsible if the state of the state turns out to be a sorry state. Well everything they said is true. If you don’t vote and choose your leader, you don’t have any right to complain later on. If you don’t vote, it is you who pave the way to power for politicians who can win on the basis of bogus votes and money feeding. But after seeing all these I began thinking, ‘why do we vote?’ Well…the answer is quiet obvious, we vote to elect our representative. A person, who can represent us as a whole. A person, who can raise the problems we face in the assembly and get them solved. We vote to show that the person we are voting for enjoys our support and thereby the government such representatives from, is the government of the people. That such elected governments enjoy the support of the people. This elected government must now work as a unit to solve the problems of the people who gave them the power. These people who form the government must end the differences between themselves and work for the betterment of the society. This government must serve the people. We vote because we want all this to happen. But does anything of this really happen? If it does, to what extent?

We have been voting since India became independent. We have been electing our leaders since then. Earlier we did it by the use of ballot boxes, now we do it by the use of EVM’s. But the basic process of the people electing the leaders has remained the same. Yet, the situation of the people and the way their problems are (not) solved has also been the same. Majority of the government officials are corrupt and it still takes a considerable amount of time and a heavy dose of money feeding to the government officers to get any work done. Every time I see the traffic police at the signal, I fear for he would stop me and rob me of 50/100 rupees for apparently no fault of mine. If someone’s bike skids and he falls off on or near the traffic signal the policemen rush to him, not to help him get up but to remove his bike’s key, so that he cannot go away without filling the pockets of the policemen. The pizza comes in less than 30 minutes, while the ambulance takes hours to reach someone suffering from a heart attack. The electricity production still does not match the electricity requirement. And while there are power cuts at other places, the areas which have the houses of the politicians continue to enjoy uninterrupted power supply. The government hospitals are in complete mess, and there are more patients than beds, while the doctors continue to tend to people at their private clinics who can pay them the fees they ask, also enjoying the salary from the government, for not attending to patients at the government hospital. The farmers continue to take their own lives as the government fails to solve their problems. The slums continue to grow, and also the illiteracy rate and the percentage of people below the poverty line. While our leaders continue to amass wealth and grow richer, which is evident from their huge properties, assets and bank accounts. We all know where this money comes from. Almost every one of our politicians is involved in a scam that continues to fill their pockets. Some of these have come in front of all while some remain hidden to this date. The government is negligent towards our policemen who are equipped with age-old equipment and no bullet proof jackets and are forced to face the bullets of the terrorists having AK47 rifles. We saw many of our policemen die at the hands of these terrorists when Mumbai was attacked only because they did not have the proper equipment to face such a situation. And even today almost a year after the incident, the condition remains the same. Though funds were granted, but they got gobbled up in the way. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more things that are a clear example that our leaders have done nothing till date. There may even be much darker and dirtier truths below.

We have been electing our leaders for the past 60 years now. Yet at every election time, the issue of ‘Bijli, Paani aur Sadak’ continues to feature in their speeches. They have shamelessly been giving the same promises and later on forgetting them. Today when we vote, all we get is the choice to select from amongst a set of corrupt, power-hungry candidates. We very rarely have an option who we can say is honest and won’t be corrupted by power. Try asking your candidate to give in writing what he has promised will be kept. Most probably he will chicken out. And if we realize that electing a particular candidate was a mistake, to rectify that mistake we have to wait for a good 5 years. And then at the time of the next elections all we can do is not elect him. There is absolutely no guarantee that the person who we will be electing now will use is powers for our benefit. It is just a process of trial and error with us getting more and more options as the time moves on. And moreover, we can’t undo what we have done until the term ends.

In the end, if our elected leaders can enjoy a 5 year-long paid vacation, why are we shouted at if we take a one day vacation? Why are we slammed if we do not vote? After all what can our voting change, it will probably bring down one person and bring to power the other one. How does it matter to us if the condition still has to remain to same? If nothing is to change, why to vote?

The Matter of Marathi

I had wanted to raise this issue since a long long time, but i just did not get the right chance. Thanks to confluence to give me such a platform and thanks to Gaurav for motivating me to write. So finally i am writing what i wanted to write since a very long time.

The debate on this issue has been on since a very very long time. But it has gained vast momentum recently. Maharashtra, Mumbai and the Marathi manoos have been the major elements of this debate. Some say Maharshtra has been encroached by the non-Maharshtrians and that they are now eating away on the rights of the sons of the soil. Some say today Marathi is being sidelined in its birth place and Hindi and Gujrati are taking it’s place. Though some part of all this is true and some isn’t, what we need to think today is, weather the politicisation of the issue is right or not, and whether the point raised by the politicians is correct. As a person who has lived in Maharashtra and Gujrat and experienced life at both places, I would like to express my view on this issue. It may feel biased to some and correct to some. But what i want to say before you start reading this article is that while reading this article plese think neutrally and do not form an opinion about anything until you reach the end.

Mumbai being the economic capital of India, provides a lot of job opportunities and so people from all over the country and all walks of life come here in search of a better life. Some have their dreams fulfilled, some are not that lucky. Some people come here and they become Mumbai’s forever while some just return back. But in all these happenings what happens to the people of Mumbai needs to be noticed. What was said by Balasaheb Thackrey and what is being said by Raj Thackrey today needs to be noted and thought upon. What the MNS and the Shiv-Sena advocate for must be taken into consideration.

The motive of these parties may be political. But the point that they have raised is not entirely uncorrect. They say that in a state having a state language apart from the national language all work should be done in the state language i.e. Marathi. As an example we can look at the southern state’s of Tamil Nadu and Kerela. Everything there is carried on in their native language. At this the point that there has not been as much migration in those states as in Mumbai can be raised. OK. Point taken. But then what can you say about Gujrat where a major part of the office work was being done in Gujrati?? And it is not the only place of concern. Take the radio channels for example. Everywhere the RJ’s are speaking in the local language except Maharahtra. Here Every radio channel RJ is asked to speak in HINDI as there is a lot of Hindi speaking junta around. Very rarely i have heard an RJ speaking in Marathi. How can this be justified? Just because the Marathi people are considerate dose not mean that they should be taken for granted. And to add to the woes, what happens when a question is put as to why this RJing is not done in Marathi, the reply comes that it is not our national language Hindi is. Well where does this thing go when in Gujrat. Here the RJ’s don’t speak in Hindi. The entire show is done in Gujrati. Now why? And this is just one example to cite. There are many many more. Infact today Marathi has almost vanished from Mumbai and Hindi and Gujrati have taken it’s place.

I respect Hindi as a language. I ve got no grudge against any other language either. But at the same time I love my mother tongue too. I can’t see it fading off this way. I can’t see the way it is being neglected. I can’t see the way the Marathi manoos is being made to forget his own Mother tongue. Actually the Marathi manoos is more to blame for this situation. When he was subjected to Hindi as a second language, he took it more as it facilitated him in conversing with a lot more people.And instead of taking Marathi to their homes he took back Hindi to his own home, which eventually has lead to what has happened today. The MNS and the Shiv-Sena are trying to change this situation and propagate the use of Marathi in Maharashtra. I don’t feel there is any worng with this. What is wrong in urging people to speak in their Mother tongue?

As for the other points raised and the demands that are being put by these parties. I do not think all of them are worth supporting and infact some of them are baseless. Take for an example the point of reservation for the son of the soil. What a dumb point! Why can’t the Marathi Manoos prove himself and go towards success. Why does he need the support of reservation for it. Why just can’t he admit the fact that he is lagging beacuse he is lazier and less hard working. What i feel is that these political parties should try to eliminate these aspects of the traditional Marathi Manoos rather than demanding a reservation for him.

As for the violence, violence can never be supported. There can always be a better way of saying a thing than going the voilent way. But again we cannot forget that this is politics and things like these are a part and parcel of that. Unless and until these parties have some power in their hand they just cannot bring about any change, be it good or bad. There are many aspects of this politicisation that cannot be justified, yet which are necessary from the political point of view. Each and every political party in our country resorts to such kind of acts some time or the other, willingly or unwillingly,publicly or privately. And all these have only one answer according to me,”this is politics!”

But the demand for all the work of the state to be done in Marathi is correct. The propagation of Marathi, and building the respect for Marathi is necessary. Else this language will die. Just put your Mother tongue in the place that my Mother tongue is today and i am sure you will feel the pain and the need for the upliftment. Maybe then you may feel my point of view right. May be then you will understand.