Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ask Questions...

Freedom of speech is something that has been endowed upon us by the constitution. Now, to what extent we use it or allowed to use it is matter that is quite debatable. Even the government that rules us, curbs that freedom to a greater extent and refrains us from speaking our mind or saying what is correct. The other angle to this thought is what is to be spoken on a public domain and what not. Who decides this? The speaker or law-makers? We have laws that states we cannot make inflammatory speeches, talks that violates the integrity of the country, anti-national remarks and comments on any community that can cause instability in the peace. What about somebody’s opinion about another individual? Can anyone say he/she feels about another person in a public platform in a civilized way, let me repeat ‘civilized way’? Or is it just not allowed?

Is an individual free to express his opinions on the current corporate culture being a part of a corporate himself? Is a journo allowed to discuss the loopholes in the present journalism system? Is a politician can have common public forum/platform where he can also have a direct interaction with the public and start analyzing the government policies and procedures? Many such intriguing questions baffle me for a simple reason because I live in the largest democracy of the world and we take huge pride in it. We started our journey of independence from a phase where we had to build everything, from public infrastructure to media to industries. When we almost reached the top of all these things we started thinking business out of everything. And business lands us in big trouble. It makes us materialistic.

That’s why today we find we have got some top news channels doing some of the best reporting & coverage, yet not joining hands for any common cause to build a better mode of communication of information. Why a Rajdeep can’t talk to a Pranoy for any joint initiative, it’s going to work wonders. There was a time when we had almost zero facilities for our national level players in sports, yet we were a top team in hockey, with each passing year not only our ranking is falling but today we find ourselves nowhere in the world scene. This has not happened because we have run out of talents, this mainly is the result of our lack of interest in the upliftment of such a sports. Neither the government nor the hockey federation is worried about this down-slide. But we call it our national sports. Why our sports academies are not getting the grants in time, and whenever they are getting they are not able to use it or misuse it quite well. Why do we need to host Commonwealth Games with the worst possible preparation and spend more than 1600 crores and forget about some of our traditional games like kho-kho or kabaddi, which are on the verge of extinction. Think over it. We face droughts and floods almost every year in some or the other part of our country. And after so much discussion we have even set up a ‘so-called’ Crisis Management Team. But what is that team doing exactly? Waiting for another such natural calamity to hit us and then rush to the site for some photogenic visits. Then some monetary aids and ‘renewed promises’ for ‘next time’. And the poor public waits for their turn to death. Time moves on and things. When it happened to you that you were quite excited about attending a lecture during your school or even college days? Why? Haven’t we studied to learn, or have studied to get those grades and then to forget and go ahead. Why can’t we have an education system aimed at making the curriculum more professional & exciting at the same place? Even in our B-schools we talk about CGPA. We talk about percentage and campus placements. Universities in the west have methodologies that take the students beyond mugging up concepts and rather apply it, why can’t we? In UK you will find specialization in soccer! And finally our politics and politicians. We have seen our politicians for last 60-odd years running our country in their own ways and we have seen some good ones too! How many of them made it possible to bring the common man as close as possible to the government and have a different say? When we have introduced the Right To Information Act, opposition opposed to death not to make it happen. They were not successful and I felt that the public won. Actually that was just the beginning, yet our have not disclosed what the people wants. They have disclosed what they want to and how much they want to. With every changing government, this Act is modified to suit their taste. Now when all some Shashi Tharoor did, made the democracy little more accessible from a social networking site, everybody who is not getting their share of popularity is having some serious problem. For God’s sake, can’t we start accepting differences, changes and truth? He has maintained his individuality, his say & his stand for all the policies that the government has made and his take on them. He kept his 5.5 lacs of followers updated about his everyday work (sometimes every minute as well!). Did I say more than half a million in my last sentence, oh freaking ‘yes’. That’s a number which is more than the viewership of some of today’s news channels. Now that’s going to a big problem in today’s news hungry media industry. As long as Mr. Tharoor speaks to the journos, they are happy or he is being so transparent. If he speaks on a social networking site, then he is accused of speaking on a public domain and it becomes a crime. I understand how many minutes of breaking news the channels are losing! Shame on those hypocrites and for God’s sake let such politicians live in peace. 550000 people who are following Mr. Tharoor can’t be wrong then; the site even has an option for the followers to un-follow! Even today we have parties like ‘Left front’, who has the outstanding track record of opposing all the new proposal/policy/initiatives taken by any government. Today, the country from where they have brought in their ideology is one of the super-powers of the world and they are still limited to their own small ground in the eastern parts of India. It’s only a matter of time Mamta & co will finish them off or they come out with some revamped ideologies and progressive thinking to appeal to today’s population.

I am not a narcissist who has a problem with all the systems that we have. The problem is I just can’t say all is well when I find loopholes in my own daily life, things I do, systems I myself am involved with. We can’t say all is well till we question everything. Corruption can only be eradicated if start questioning from the very grassroots level. Or else we can continue living our life with some false promises made to ourselves and some unachievable ambitions. I wish the public takes the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan seriously and get educated faster to start asking questions. They can start asking about the adulteration in their free mid-day meals. Is not that simple to start with? Or is it? Somebody, somewhere has to start. Those who have questioned have got two things: boot or recognition. In India getting the boot is easy than recognition, so the level of encouragement is less, that’s where we need to bring a change. Can we recognize those who raise their voice and questioning things happening around them? There are many such groups unlike Prince Dance Group of Odisha who go unnoticed for years together, and then they dissipate in the darkness forever. Can we have a platform to recognize these talents? Like this, questions are many. We need to ask them. We may not get an answer, may not get it most of the times. But we need to keep on asking them. Everybody makes mistakes, some big mistakes. But you can't hide in your room forever feeling sorry for yourself. At some point, you've got to get back out there, face up to things, and confront your fears. Some people are born to families where they do not need to ask questions in their lives, some don’t care. But we have to work our way to the top, put in the effort, and if we mess it up, we'll learn from it. Besides, sometimes it's not about knowing the right answer. Sometimes it's about asking the right questions.

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