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3 November 2007

There's no one home but you

I love India- not for a minute imagine I'd have it any other way. For instance, my stand on this is, If I want a change to sanity, I can visit Singapore, but if I am homesick for the madness that is India and India changes beyond recognition, then where am I to go?

In my post here I has spoken about Singapore and Shanghai and Mumbai. Of course, my point was the difference that mere emphasis on completing large infrastructure projects as against creating a knowledge based interventions in which Singapore has excelled.

Since then, I came across this post by Govindraj Ethiraj that gives a detailed interview with the premier of Singapore. If only we had the leadership mentioned therein, Mumbai's appalling state of affairs would be history. No wonder it is said that the fish rots from the head.

Can you imagine anyone saying (let alone doing) this here?

Quote from afore mentioned post:

When the flyovers became broader, shutting out the light completely, he ensured the roads were split into two so there would be a gap in the middle with enough space for sunshine and rain to seep through and greenery and vegetation to thrive below. “I sent them on missions all along the Equator and the tropical, sub tropical zones, looking for new types of trees, plants, creepers and so on. From Africa, the Caribbean, Latin, Middle and Central America, we’ve come back with new plants. It’s a very small sum. But if you get the place greened up, if you get all those creepers up, you take away the heat, you will have a different city,” he said.

End of quote.

But we are a democracy. A fact that automatically means as citizens- the middle class, educated, urban Indian have by and large failed the country. In selecting effective leaders, in holding them accountable to deliver promises, in the intelligensia providing knowledge leadership, participation and awareness and such. Of course, the few exceptions bloom like flowers in the desert.

Blaming politicians and the system is not going to change the landscape. Who is the system? We are. And let us not look to others what we can do ourselves.

In the mad rush for an "easier" alternative, we bribed the watchman, bought movie tickets in black, slipped him a fiver, as if this is not enough- we also actively encourage our kids to - go for it, do whatever it takes, shortcuts, stamping on anyones foot, pull hair, shout, etc and now we bemoan that politicians are corrupt, out of control and badly behaved. Ha.ha.ha. guess where it started? At home, as you were telling your child(or being told depending on which generation you belong) , tell him Dad is not at home! Or as Mom was advising, he gave you one? give him back two. Then at school, college, work. It continued and was rewarded and re-inforced. Competition v/s co-operation; Rude v/s amiable; Agressive v/s effective etc.

Meanwhile on a daily basis I am reminded how like the dodo bird became extinct, being honest, principled, anything good- is a rare breed and sure way to face extinction. Adapt, learn- What? To be "like us". The advise comes hurling to "Be practical". The "practical values" challenged struggle to smile.

While the jury is out on that one, in the meantime, let me finish listening to this.

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