One day - Two separate media coverages on one topic.
One was a TV news item- I do not have any link to that- about how India is facing a shortage of 14,000 officers for the military. I may have got this number wrong- was it one lakh, 40 thousand? Perhaps.
The reason cited was poor pay and perks/conditions. I was really puzzled. This is a country where jobs and employment generation is a problem, reservations a hot issue and normally all service (government) jobs are considered plum and there is an overwhelming flood of applications for restricted number of seats. So something seems askew here. Unless of course , silly me, the youth who are meant to enlist are comparing it to 'call center job's' - Who would want 4 a.m runs carrying a rifle when one can have voice training to imitate any accent, shifts and hence freedom, a fat wad of pocket money to buy bikes and drinks and generally get the girls/impress the opposite sex! The really bad eggs may also dream of some quick-rich schemes. Hard work- Dude.. are you a fossil? or as they'd say here, Pagal ho kya? Mad or wot. To work hard, learn discipline and serve & die for the country. 'Anyway, yeh government to sab ko kargil bhejta hain marne ke liye' types.
Cut to a Reuters news item that I just happened to click throughand my heart jumped into my mouth. I just wanted to pluck the child out and hug them. The caption for the slide show says;
'Primary and middle school students participate in a winter military camp for civilians at the Cheongryong Self-denial Training Camp run by retired marines in Ansan, about 25 miles southwest of Seoul, January 7, 2008. Forty-one students are taking part in the six-day camp to strengthen their spirit and body.
And it is not even youth we are talking about here. They are primary school children. Don't miss the fact that it comprises girls too.
Now tell me about how bad India has become as a place to live. And what country are we leaving for our children.
Is the blame at the doors of lazy youth or lazy parenting? Or like so much else, shall we tell the President..I mean. . blame the Government?
Maybe we want them to get out of business and economic pursuits so they can run our families and communities for us? Then we can again loudly and vigourously protest (most of the time with each other as no one who matters is really listening or cares) about how the personal freedom is violated.
Or we could always opt for humour (the new opium of the masses). Joke about it in the media & on TV. For instance, ' why should our kids carry rifles? They carry even heavier school bags.' Till we tune in for the next episode. All in all, the Great Indian Tamasha can continue.
Till someone clues in and for the next 400 years we are in slavery.
Round and round. Like the old nursery rhyme in Mumbai school little kids would sing holding hands going around in a circle and at last line, fall to the the ground. It went, 'Here we go around the mulberry bush, mulberry bush, mulberry bush" Hasha.. busha.. ALL FALL DOWN!
Correction update: The rhyme is, I am told, Ringa ringa roses, pocket full of posies etc. The mulberry bush is to do with brushing your teeth & polishing shoes. But the 'All fall down' is right.