Khosla ka Ghosla remains one of my favorite movies. But the reality behind that happy ending story is certainly not a happy one. Land being a scarce resource in India is at the root cause of several crimes and corrupt practices. But what makes me frustrated is the plight of the average person willing live by the law. He apparently has no saviour.
Looking around I can only see a forest of people, Jana-Aranya. Just like the one portrayed in Satyajit Ray’s classic (all his movies are classic isnt it?) The Middleman. almost every profession today and especially the government service has become corrupt to the core. injustice seems to be the only thing that is assured.
From education to software industry, from politics to media, cricket to bollywood. The truth behind Armani suites and khadi remains so stark that it instills fear in my heart. An average person in Mumbai plays exorbitant rent for one room devoid of even basic facilities such as toilet and bathroom. He travels in the most celebrated and uncomfortable travel arrangement called local trains. These trains are better only because road transport sucks.
We can not deny that Indian middle class has struggled a hell lot. In fact the struggle of this class during the socialist regime of nehruvian politics is simply unbelievable. But that struggle for survival has killed so many good things about the middle and poor class. 80% of India’s population remains middle and poor class.
The middle in last few decades tried hard to survive and raise its level above their past. They tried to acquire education by all means. Traveling hundred kilometers to get a better college staying hungry to save money. Their parents worked hard so that their children could study. The government had to build only schools. Provide transport and infrastructure to its people and people would have figured out rest. In fact people did. The government however did exactly opposite. IT mindlessly controlled education and milked this cow for its political benefit.
Just as the middle-class of my parents generation had discovered that education is their only salvation. The political class discovered that education can be exploited to keep people ignorant and less aware. Hence they controlled education just as British did. Quality of this education was kept very low and access was made extremely difficult.
Education leads to jobs was another belief that the middle class had. Government controlled even that. License quota raj ensured that no new jobs are created and if created only the chosen once would get entry. The middle class in its desperation and helplessness did not leave any stone unturned to get a job. Today we see the result. Getting a government job means paying bribe to those who offer a favor. It also means after you get a job you are free to rape, ripe and squeeze your position as per your will.
Today it is not possible to move an application without giving away your hard-earned money to some one who does not deserve it in the first place. What scares me is the attitude that the average man has developed for this phenomenon of corruption. He is the “Sahib” he has to take bribe, after all he has paid lakhs to get the job, he has to get return on his investment. I was told by a driving school agent.
When I visit malls, shopping complexes, multiplexes, Mac Donalds and KFCs I see that a lot of so-called youth is hanging out there. A lot of middle class families come there to enjoy. Certainly as it would appear from outside the Mango Man of this country has come a far away. He has raised himself above a level he was 20 years back. He has worked hard for it. But while doing so he has paid a big price.
Behind all that glory and glitter of Malls and Multiplexes lies a sad truth. All this has come up with a price. That price is , all of our systems have become corrupt and in-efficient. Not just these systems are going to suck our blood and money over a period of time, they are also going to ensure that we remain in that exploitive bracket so that we remain an easy prey for that system. If you want to get out of that bracket you will have to turn yourself into an exploiter. A person willing to survive by fair means has no place left here.
There are some important characteristics of corruption. It is rationalized by instincts to survive and it is driven by greed. It initially breeds on money but later it’s survival and growth demands larger sacrifices. Hence it spreads its tentacles through guns and goons. They suck so much that nothing more remains to be sucked up. They rely on the average man’s ability to rise above all odds. They figure out every possible way to screw a helpless and poor man. Most important casualty in this process is the freedom. A look at city life will assure you that freedom of speech, trade,right to property come with several illegitimate caveats.
There is little difference left between exploited and exploiters. It all about lick above and kick below stuff. But while all these things are true about corruption. There are other truths as well. While we feel that all is well and we are progressing. Behind this progress we are digging our own grave in which one day we will fall with a catastrophic destruction. This catastrophe will come uninvited and unanticipated. It will swipe not just corrupt but also those at the bottom of this exploitation pyramid.
For optimists there is another hope also. Someone will rise against this and will single handedly turn the wheel. He will be the messiah for religious minded. I dont belive in Superman either.