Our media may have either behaved responsibly or gone overboard, depending where your proclivities lay, but it startled me to see a picture of a demure young thing with a poster reading ” We see Gandhi in you “, on the Ramlila grounds.  No one from that time, least of all, Gandhi,would have liked any Indian to fall back on his memory, to seek our way to the future, where every Indian is self-sufficient, whether or not the women wear the burqa and the men spin the charkha.

So, to that young lady who held that particular poster, even as it may be trite to say in Gandhi style, Hey, be the change that you would like to see in the others around you, have you at least picked up his autobiography and given it a read ?  Close to two decades ago, the ebullient Sir Mark Tully, who many in India always felt was more Indian than the Indians themselves ( may have something to do with him being born in Calcutta, perhaps ), said something to the effect that bribes were paid through the world everywhere, but it was only in India, that one did not know even after paying the bribe, whether the job would get done or not.  I rather think Sir Mark Tully would not say that today. Why ? Because the world is different, as are all countries, including India of course.

You could even read Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, with the which let alone any Mumbaikar or Indian, but any young fella across the globe, would get inspired by.  I do the injustice of quoting from the book without permission:  the author writes about Leopolds’, the landmark restaurant where several lost their lives in the Mumbai attacks, though obviously not as  high-profile as the Taj and the Oberoi.   http://www.shantaram.com/

“””””

Sitting at Leop0ld’s,  night after night, and listening to the conversations at the tables around me, I heard many foreigners and not a few Indians complain about the corruption that adhered to every aspect of public and commercial life in Bombay. My few weeks in the city had already shown me that those complaints were often fair, and often true. But there’s no nation uncorrupted, there’s no system immune to the misuse of money. Privileged and powerful elites grease the wheels of assemblies. And the rich, all over the world, live longer and healthier lives than the poor. There is a difference between the dishonest bribe and the honest bribe…the dishonest bribe is the same in every country, but the honest bribe is India’s alone. …India was open, India was honest, And I liked that from the first day. My instinct wasn’t to criticise. My instinct, in the city I was learning to love, was to observe, and become involved, and enjoy. I couldn’t know then that, in the months and years to come, my freedom and even my life, would depend on the Indian willingness to tilt the mirror. 

Ticking Away – Mumbai’s Leopold’s Cafe

”””””’

I wished here to quote from the other very intensely-written book, of Mr. Jaswant Singh, which truly captivates, a best-seller in its own right, Jinnah – India – Partition and Independence. He wrote a couple of pages on fasting, which even prior to Independence, was taking on the hues of becoming a fad.   Unfortunately, I could not get at the words, looks like you have to buy the book for that, well worth the buy. But Shri Jaswant Singh has quoted the speech of the Quaid Jinnah, in his Presidential Address on August 11, 1947,  in the Assembly in Pakistan:

“”” One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering, – I do not say that other countries are free from it, but, I think our condition is much worse, – is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put down with an iron hand and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this….. I want to make it clear that I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery, nepotism or any influence directly or indirectly brought to bear upon me…. “”””

So let me just say to myself, chhotey mooh, badi baat, and sing, Bahut nikley merey armaan, phir bhi kam nikley

 

But that was close to two centuries ago, so now to the latter-day Kashmiri Pundit Kailash Kher:

 

Caution to the Indian and the worldwide audience who get to read this:  ” Every revolution only shifts the burden of tyranny from one shoulder to another ”  – George Bernard Shaw.

 

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