Anybody Got a Spine???

Dr. Navniit Gandhi
Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fourteen Prime Ministers have taken charge of our country, and between themselves they have had Seventy Years, to govern India. However, did they govern? Technically, govern means to conduct the policy, actions, and affairs of the state and its people, with authority. Not one of them has managed to do so, with total efficiency and effectiveness. Policies and Actions did not necessarily happen at the right time, and if they did—they did not necessarily accompany or follow each other. Often policies were there, but actions were missing and very often, some knee-jerk actions were there, not backed by many well-researched policies.

Some PMs just whiled away the time given to them by the electorate; some PMs thought a little but did even less; some wanted to do a bit, but could not do anything and there have been those who wanted to do one thing, but ended up doing quite the reverse. Who has been worse? Can’t say… Some were dictated by their hearts, while some others were guided by their kith and kin; some by their Secretaries; a few by their constituencies and most important—all were guided by their Self Interest. Very few instances, which can be counted on fingers, are those when our PMs were guided by their head, or by their conscience and/or rationality. And yet, all that they did were take a handful of good decisions in seven decades. None has had a vision, though. Or, a strategy for each issue that was then in infancy but now has assumed gigantic proportions and not many had foresight.

A country with a population of 1.2 Billion and some remarkable neighbours on all sides, cannot afford to simply take an isolated decision once a while. There was needed a concrete and effective Plan of Action at so many fronts. Alas, there hardly ever was…

Fewer still are instances, when those who were supposed to govern us, acted with their guts!!! Our neighbours have attacked us; tried to break us apart; taken aid from us and fooled us over the years; they have blackmailed us; mounted scathing criticism at us; and bullied us enormously but we have maintained just one response and that is ‘to react’. Our reactions too have been either delayed or timid or verbal condemnation or some diplomatic jargon. This is not to say that we must be offensive or launch large scale attacks on our any nation but, ought we to never do a bit of tactical planning and act?

What plagues our nation is the lack of guts and a strategy at many fronts—whether it is on how to handle neighbours or our own growth in population or slump in our share of world trade or extremism in the society. With foresight and planned moves, we could have avoided many issues from tightening their noose around our neck. Some governments might have wanted to resolve border issues, for instance, but regional and electoral politics came in the way. ‘Election’ has become such a demon in our democratic polity that every strong decision begins to wobble, tremble and fail.

In the 1950s and 60s, we did not have leaders or statesmen who could see beyond the immediate gains and spell a vision for this nation for the year 2000 and beyond. Today, it is the same scene. We have no vision for India 2040. We have no clue whether we shall have adequate fresh water, clean air, or food; we have no clue on what we shall do about Kashmir or Maoists or e-waste or cyber-crime. As the issues tumble out of the closet, we react to some of them and choose to sit silent over some of them. Our rulers’ concerns stop at the next election. That is what, those who govern us, are worried about. The truth is that lawlessness and lack of discipline and lack of any strategy have paralysed us. Nobody knows where the nation is headed to… Issues fly in our face; threats are unleashed from within or beyond the borders and we react. That is how the nation is being governed.

We need a set of rulers—not merely with sincere intentions and good oratory skills but someone with a spine!!!

Are you very sure that if one is murdered or raped, even beyond the worst definition of brutality, that the perpetuators will be punished? Who is sure that after thousands will be found with boxes and beds full of unaccounted black money—that the guilty will be in jail? We are one of the most corrupt nations in the world and all our PMs have promised action against corruption in our nation. Yet, not one single PM and team have had the guts to meaningfully punish their own corrupt brethren in politics. A brief jail term as given to Lalu Yadav or Jayalalitha or Kanimozhi or Raja, does not count. Their brief jail terms were followed by brighter stints in politics. After stepping out of jail, they have nevertheless become the kings or queens of India or worse still, the king-makers.

Who is sure that our farmers will stop killing themselves? Will our children get more nourishment than the children in sub-Saharan Africa? The largest number of malnourished children in the world, are in our country. The governments have all announced policy measures such as Mid-day meals to children in government schools, but there is no stern action against those officials or contractors when horrible quality of food is given to our children in those mid-day meals.

With what parameter shall we judge our country so that our head does not hang in shame? The plight of our children? Our farmers? Our women? Toilets in our country? Cleanliness in our country? Our behaviour with Tourists? Our sports stars, other than cricketers? Our physically and mentally challenged citizens and the conditions in their Homes/Institutions? Our Jails? The massacre of our police-men? The mutilated bodies of our Army and Para military forces? Our hoarders and black-marketers? Our medical system or our education system? Our waste disposal or the heinous waste of our potential?

Seventy years have passed… thirteen governments changed. Not one had the sincerity and the guts to take the discrepancies and the ugliness head-on and eliminate the blots on our national life. Every single government, whether at the Centre or in the States has made almost identical promises from 1950, till today. Each one pronounced that they shall eliminate corruption, disease, malnutrition, starvation, terrorism, unemployment, hoarding, cheating, and thus it goes…
It is not that we have not made progress. We have, and a lot in many areas has changed for the better. Yet, a vision; a strategy; and a spine is lacking. What one topic or area shall we choose, which reflects rule, discipline, pride, integrity, and vision???
As far as we, the citizens, are concerned—we are a mixed lot. By now, the other group has gained brazen self-confidence. There is that one group of people who know that whether they mow down people under their cars, or whether they loot the tax payers’ money or extort money or grab land illegally or arrange for kickbacks for the powerful or prepare poisonous meals for the young school children or molest the vulnerable or refuse to treat the poor---they will never be punished or if a little comes their way—they will eventually manage to get completely scot-free. There are some of us who cheat the society and the nation; who harm us with shoddy products and services; who mock the system; who break every rule and norm; who make building and bridges that kill; who hide money abroad and who laugh cynically at the system and do not even vote.

Today, we are a mixed lot. Tomorrow, we may all be alike, and belong to one category. Today, we have some who do their work diligently; who meekly pay taxes; who follow rules; who sincerely cast their votes; who care and who do their bit. There are those who will throw the garbage and those who shall pick up the broom; there are those who spit hatred and there are those who care for fellow human beings. There are countless amongst us who sincerely go about doing their respective jobs and there are countless amongst us who simply go about wasting opportunities or are scrupulous in their ways or are dishonestly amassing.

Do you think we shall always be these two groups? Ultimately, one group will tire itself out, and give up. No prize for guessing, which one!

Our country needs to know not the next Best Actor or Best IPL Team or the next Big Boss winner… We need someone with a spine!!! Anyone got it???

Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academic, and a freelance writer/columnist. She has been writing extensively for several newspapers, magazines, web-portals and academic publications and has authored five Books, till date.
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Express your comment on this article

 
Sivaraj
Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2017

This article has tried throwing the light on various aspects of Good Nation and Good Leaders. It is a very thought provoking and bold article.

Similar ideas and views have been troubling me for quite some time now.

In my view, any Nation is characterized by the quality of its people. People choose their Leaders to serve the Nation and the population. The Leaders chosen actually represent the quality of people who choose them.

So, it is our duty as an individual to set a good example for others to follow and influence in "Nation Making".

In this context, may we ask to ourselves. Are we doing our part???

Zakaria
Posted on Sunday, October 1, 2017

Excellent !
very few have guts and time to think about our great nation and fellow citizens.I salute you Navneet for inviting us to think in the interest of the nation and people.

W are going through very low phase of patriotism ,we are very loud Vocally and when it comes to action very low ...
We voice ,debate on Television on all those topics which will take away attention from core development issues..
I have no complain about any governments, The pity is all about "We the people "
until all of us think in the right direction we shall remain divided in the issues which have nothing to do with the development of people and nation.

if you want to know the status of any nation .look at the headlines of the national news paper ..This is one of the criteria to evaluate where our country is heading to.."

Terrorism: let us finish it ..but trial newer happens, accused remain accused after 10 years ...get punished after 20 years ??
Rapist let us punish them after trial.
Corruption let us stop it (but who will bell the cat !)
our national news papers have headlines covering our Bollywood stars who actually do not represent us ..
where are we heading ...
are we serious about development plans implemented by government ,What are we doing to contribute to it.

we need the scale to measure ourselves and the growth we are making to our counter parts like china ..


thank you for beautiful article....jay hind !

Abdur Rahman
Posted on Friday, August 25, 2017

Present India Scenario if you Oops P.M or if you discuss his work Bhakts will give you Certificate Anti National. All Indian Media are now become Broker of Govt all Judiciary are same each an every Department..

Vinson Vaz
Posted on Monday, August 7, 2017

We have been swallowing the bitter pill for ages with a feeling of ecstasy when it comes to politics and the politicians. We are yet to wake up from our slumber to realize that we are the people of India who have elected our representatives who ensure they have proper bodyguards and security from US the people who elected them in the first place. The politicians decided which party they will join or move to and we the 'Sheeples' of India walk in queues to elect them. They make choices they feel best.
We need to change the mode of elections in India and it is not too late either.
The supreme court has directed that the NRI's be also given the chance to vote and they are still holding it back so we can still go without it and such votes can be manipulated in India.
How sad, but the future is not bleak. I have a strong feeling people will surely wake up from their slumber. Late but surely not NEVER!

Ahmed
Posted on Sunday, July 30, 2017

Our politicians are good in giving slogans like sabke saath sabka vikas. In reality few industrialist and politicians got Vikas. Not only economically even socially communities feeling unsafe in mad lynching world. I don't see any hope now unless mindset of people changes .

Uk Nair
Posted on Saturday, July 22, 2017

We the citizens of India (including me) are responsible for the future of our country. Despite many pitfalls, our democracy is the biggest in the world with equal rights and immense freedom for all citizens. It all depends on how we utilize the freedom; positively or negatively to improve the living conditions and to build our nation. Due to diversity, it is not easy to change the living standard of vast majority, with some shortcut; it is a time taking process. Still there is some ray of hope in our Country compared to many other developing nations; because from each setback we are learning and growing democratically!!!

Mustafa
Posted on Saturday, July 8, 2017

Its bold and eye opener article from Dr. Gandhi. Indians voted each PM with the hope of some changes but disappointed. Present government and PM working overtime to implement RSS agenda forgetting the promises given to the Indians.
I have written a poem on the current situation:

Kal ke chor oochakke aaj thanedar ban gaye
Dange fasad ke gunhegar aaj siyasaydar ban gaye

Gosht beef khane wale aaj gau rakshak ban gaye
Nafarat ki aag failanewale aaj mahatma ban gaye

Angrezo ke supporter aaj desh ke rahbar ban gaye
Gita ke updesh ko bhula kar aaj achhe Hindu ban gaye

Lakho karodo kamakar pujari dhanwan ban gaye
Garib kisan aur majdoor sab gulam ban gaye

30 ki chhati 56 ki banakar sab Dabang ban gaye
Janta ko bewakuf banakar neta maldar ban gaye

Kya hoga eis desh ka sab Murkh intelligent ban gaye
Jo hona tha ho raha hai ham to bhaiya bewakuf ban gaye

Mustafa Kadri
Kuwait

Kaleem
Posted on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

@Jigar Why are you looking at a failed state like Pakistan and feeling happy that India is better off. Why can not you take better examples like Japan which have developed greatly during a short time. I hope you are not one of the andh-bhakts. Undoubtedly we need better government which will take us towards development and away from corruption, communalism, poverty, .....

Jigar
Posted on Sunday, July 2, 2017

With all due respect to writer. Hope you know we are Democratic government governed by Constitution and Laws where each entity Government, Law, Military and Media work independently. Crossing each other boundary will breakdown whole system like happening in Pakistan where each entity Government, Law and Military are trying to overtake each other. Nation is made by its own people,so it is the people who has to show spine instead of complaining!! and luckily we are in Democracy unlike China where people has no rights!!

Ashok Bachani
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2017

We Indians have got no spine,guts, will, to do good.
We have only one thing, the best attitude in the world.
Sab chalta hai
Jane de
Main kya karu
Main akele kya change karunga.
Mere baap ka kya jata hai
Tuje maluum hai mere baap kuan hai.
Etc etc etc

ashok
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2017

Progress in life is made by looking at potential opportunities, and then giving one's best towards gaining those.

Negative events, negative personalities, people who take advantage of others WILL always be there.

Our duty is to put the best foot forward at all times, and achieve even a small measure of success possible.

If we focus on 'difficult' things, progress is never possible.

Progress in life not ONE BIG LEAP, but a series of consistent, small steps taken every day.

A proven maxim in management says even if only 7 out of 10 steps you take are OK, you will gain.

Dear Dr. Navnit, we owe it to our future generations to show a positive way.

Best of luck!

Sabiha
Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bleak but sadly realistic picture of India

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