29 October 2011
The affluent people, private entrepreneurs and political looters of the people's wealth who do not have priorities set for their "matribhumi" definitely deserve to be condemned. The day the F1 race inauguration news appeared, P Sainath's report on a quarter million suicides by farmers in this land of great culture, civiliasation and God’s very own areas of divine bliss also got space on front page, thanks to some sensitive editor. The same morning we saw arguments in public domain to keep the Armed Forces Special Powers Act alive in Kashmir to protect the land we belong to -- from terror and enemy’s infiltration.
A nation which is still debating the levels of poverty to be finalized in a sea of people dying of hunger and living a subhuman existence on a twenty to thirty rupees per day diet, where death is cheaper and often welcome in the houses of the hapless, hopeless people, where children die out of negligence and dearth of life-saving medicines in government hospitals, where caste is a deadly weapon in the hands of a minuscule yet powerful "high caste" dominant segment, where stone images are more worshipped and adored than living humans, F1 is enjoyed by an obscenely rich glitterati many of whom justify Maoist violence as a revolutionary method to wipe out the exploiting, anti-poor class and with a confidence betraying a Gaddafi mindset they expect us to enjoy and appreciate F1, Metallica concert and the ultimate bliss of having Lady Gaga descending on our Gurgaon.
I am sure the company and the owners of that money minting group that spent four hundred million American dollars to have the fun of high speed cars zooming past too close to Bhatta Parsaul, will think a hundred times before helping a school of excellence for the poor, land owner farmers of Greater NOIDA or a centre to empower the scheduled caste labourers of Bundelkhand. They must have definitely sent free tickets to the sons and daughters of the ruling elite but at least I won't have the confidence to get an appointment with the visionary spenders of money on F1 to fund the education of tribal children who belong to the areas where fighting Indian armed forces and killing Indians is a matter of daily routine.
That’s us. A nation of rag pickers and rag partygoers.
Not that I am against entertainment or having the honour of organizing big events, specially the high-speed races of the F1 variety. As the reports tell us, the cheapest Grand Stand ticket starts from Rs 6,500, going up to Rs 35,000.
That’s fine till we have people who can afford it. They should not be stopped from spending and having a fun time. Besides Hamilton and Karthikeyan are great sportsmen. Their pictures adorn my son’s room. But do we, as citizens, feel any affinity or a chord running through our lives, that binds us together as one people, one nation? When Deen Dayal Upadhyaya spoke of eradicating poverty and worshipping the poor, he didn’t have hatred for the wealthy but a deep concern for the citizens, who are "our brothers and sisters" and hence we can't party when my blood brother is hungry.
What is this national anthem that we feel proud to sing together, uttering magical words like Jana Gana Mana..? What is this Jana Gana Mana? The inner core of the heart of our people? Most of the affluent class and big bosses of our political system feel equally at ease with any party ruling Delhi. They facilitate their way to the upper echelons of prosperity and good life. That’s their republic. And that defines their worldview.
The craze, artificially being generated through an embedded and enchanted media for F1 and Lady Gaga is a joke on a billion people living under the shadow of a life that still yearns for potable water and dal-roti twice a day under some roof.