INDIA : To Do or Not To Do

Friday, May 15, 2009…

“In India, articulation is mistaken for accomplishment” said the eminent Indian – Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murty, in one of his recent media encounters upon the release of his first book -“http://books.rediff.com/bookshop/bkproductdisplay.jsp?A-Better-India:-A-Better-World-Books& (Penguin/Allen Lane).

Translating this into simple English, one of my good colleagues on the ‘Trainers’ Forum’, on LinkedIn, floated an electronic debate with a tacky catchphrase – “Indians are not Doers”. I have withheld his name lest the world knows he may not be the best ‘doer’ around…

Well, I am damned by the sight of this catchphrase.

What else, but ‘doing’, have we been doing for the last 60 years? We have been ‘doing’ and ‘doing’ seems to be the only evident, tangible and measurable favourite national pastime. By doing what we have been doing, we have outdone many and will soon outdo many others up north of us… and by doing what they have done, they will soon lose the great opportunity to be the most ‘done’ nation in the world, unless of course, there is another Tiananmen Square uproar against sanctions to ‘doing’!

And lo and behold! “>We are a Billion and a half – only and only – because we have been ‘doing’ it. And trust me, there doesn’t seem to be either a stop or sanctions to this ‘doing’. And if there is (a stop or sanctions i.e.), it will ‘undo’ everything that the powers that are have politically and laboriously built as electorates and vote banks.

And with a twist of fate and the demand and supply economics of this blown up billion plus equation, the ‘doing’ has perennially been accompanied by ‘doing in’. So our next most favourite passion in the country has been – everybody doing somebody in – or out – on some pretext or the other.

I reserved this week’s Fursat Friday till Sunday because I wanted to link NRN’s comment, my Trainer friend’s interpretation and the results of the biggest political circus on the face of this earth, which have unfolded this week.

Let’s see what has all this ‘doing’ got us to. This ‘Ant and the Grasshopper’ story was sent me by my good friend Joy Patra. With a wee bit of a twist in the tale, here it is – RETOLD!

We all know : The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs; dances; plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies, out in the cold.

“The Indian ‘Do Them All In’ Version : The Ant does it – works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper doesn’t do it – thinks the Ant’s a fool and laughs; dances; plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering, and the Grasshopper does it – calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The world is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy does it – stages a demonstration in front of the Ant’s house. Medha Patkar does it – goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter. Mayawati cries fowl – this as ‘injustice’ meted out to minorities. Amnesty International and Kofi Annan criticise the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt Support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance). Opposition MPs do it – stage a walkout. Left parties call for ‘Bengal Bandh’ in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry. CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers. Lalu Prasad does it too – allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the ‘Grasshopper Rath’.

Finally, the Judicial Committee does it too – drafts the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act’ (POTAGA), with effect from the beginning of the winter. Arjun Singh makes room for ‘Special Reservations’ for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions; in Government Services. The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes its home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it ‘A Triumph of Justice’. Lalu calls it ‘Socialistic Justice’. CPM calls it the ‘Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden’. Kofi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later…

The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar Company in Silicon Valley. Hundreds of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservations somewhere in India. As a result of losing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the grasshoppers…India is still a ‘developing’ country!

This week we did the Congress back in – or have they done us in – as they have always been doing for the last 60 years?

We will figure that out over the next 5 years – and the next 50…

Have a Great Week ahead…

Ravi Kodukula

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