Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fair World?

Yesterday I was browsing thru a couple of news channels when this one picture caught my eye and I just froze. Channel: Times Now. Location: Bhagalpur, Bihar. Description: A man being brutally beaten up by a mob for good half an hour and later tied up with a police bike and dragged by the cops while world around him just watches. Crime: Tried to snatch a chain.

I was so terrified to see the pain and humility the man was made to go through. I was disgusted to watch the people flocking around him urging other to join, I was sad to see the media and the police being a part of this brutality. I was also shameful to be a part of the same world…..

I was wondering how the news channel had the audacity to record the entire event without trying to stop the barbaric act. I agree it is important to bring these things out in the open, but the better way could have been that a team of reporters (considering that even they feel that it was wrong) could genuinely try to stop this savage act while another team could record the event for the awakening of the nation. Is it always a question of TRP’s?

That man did something wrong by stealing, but why cant one see that no one becomes a criminal by choice. This 20 year boy is an orphan; he has a young sister and is the only bread earner in the family. He is a cart puller by profession -- I am sure it is not difficult for us to guess how much dignity and money his work offers him. Is it so difficult to understand that he is already poor, frustrated and depressed -- he needs money and it is not surprising that he is urged to steal. Not that I am saying it’s okay to steal, but it is important to see the bigger picture. Without any thinking we go any buy clothes which may never wear, we go to fancy places and eat royal meals, we go for weekend outings and spend hundreds of bucks – hardly do we realize that there are some people like the Bhagalpur victim who perhaps earn less than what we just spent in one day.

I feel bad when people honk like crazy at hand rickshaw pullers – most of them painfully old having weak hands, thin legs wearing torn clothes with sweat dripping from their pale faces - struggling to pull the load behind them in busy roads. I have seen many people doing that -- people sitting in t he comfort of their luxury AC car, feeling irritated about what the boss had to say about their work, about the state of the roads, about the low increments, about not getting the promised phone call from a loved one...

Why are people forgetting to spread the love? When the world around us need to be cared for and needs us to be compassionate, all that we are doing is getting into a rat race of winning our space, even if it requires us to crush others around us. The lessons of sharing and of helping others taught to us when we were children have long been forgotten or worse even, practiced selectively.

Why is the world becoming uncivilized? Why is it so difficult for people to stand up against wrong doings? Why doesn’t our heart ache to see cruelty around? And why can’t we take a step forward to stop these wild acts? Why is it that we think that 'It is none of my business' when it comes to protecting and suddenly 'everything becomes my business' if we are participating in a wrong doing or something which directly affects us?

The problem is the also the abject poverty prevailing in the country. There is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. The problem here is also the corruption. I read in the papers a couple of days back about the 800 some crore Rupees grant that the government had announced for the poor in Orissa -- According to the scheme, atleast 75 days of employment per year was promised to be provided to one member of every family in 7/10 villages in Orissa, but that of course did not happen. The progress report said that some 700 crore Rupees had already been spent and 55 days of work were provided to the people, but investigation by independent and politically uninfluenced people showed that the families were not even given 5 days of employment and that too not every family was fortunate to avail this scheme. The employments cards were fraudulent; all records were fallacious and fake. An estimated 200 crores were spent and the rest 500 crores were pocketed by immoral and unethical officials - the civil servants who are supposed to work for the people - who have pledged to take India forward.

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