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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Friday, November 07, 2008

“God Save India!”

India today is on the verge of national disintegration as never before. Communalism, casteism and provincialism are found in their ugliest form ever. Things are getting worse and will reach a point of no return, sooner than later, unless we take some big and bold decisions immediately.

In the parliamentary system of democracy that we borrowed from the British before they quit India, every Member of Parliament plays an important part in the formation (or fall!) of the government. The honorable MP, whether independent or belonging to a political party, before even contesting the election, looks at his constituents on communal and caste lines to calculate his chances at the hustings. His party also considers his communal and caste backing before allotting him the party ticket, side tracking his standing on the national issues. Thus, the Parliament, apparently made up of members of political parties following different national ideologies, is in fact a House whose foundation is filled with communal and caste-ridden elements. None of the Members of this august House is capable of taking a stand against communalism and casteism as each one of them has taken the help of communal/caste elements to enter the House. nor can the Government be sincere on the issue, which depends on the MPs for its existence. The idea is not to blame our worthy Members of Parliament for the mess we find ourselves in. If they have to win, they have to play the communal/caste card. This is the system. They cannot help it. It is the system that we must change. Unless and until the executive head of the country is elected on a national level with the entire country as his constituency, we can never create a strong, secular and united India.

What do we do to bring about the change? Not much wisdom is needed to answer the question. From the simple farmer in the villages to the smart operator in the cities, we are a nation of born politicians and veteran watchers of the political scene at the Center and the States. When the scene becomes intolerably boring, we are capable of bringing about a change that has made the mightiest of the mighty leaders run for their political survival. So, it's time to come together and use our collective strength to save the Country from going down the drain. We must warn our leaders to set aside their ideological differences and come together to crush the divisive forces indulging in hate crimes in the name of narrow patriotism for their state, caste or community. Then take the next step, eradicate the route cause of all divisions by collective wisdom in improving or making drastic changes in the system. If the elected leaders do not do it now, they do not get elected next elections. That's it.

The only other alternative is to simply ignore whatever the situation and not to worry about it. Hopefully, the work will go on in the government as usual. Whatever the political scenario, God willing, nothing could ever stop the nation from making progress. Relevant to the context, it is said that when the Soviet leader Brezhnev returned after visiting India, he became a believer in God. He was convinced that God must have been running the government in India as the politicians were all the time busy pulling each other down. Presently, the anecdote is all the more pertinent because now even the Indians from one state cannot stand their fellow citizens from another state and still the nation goes on as usual. The least we can do is to remind God every day to continue running the country by making this as our morning greeting: “God Save India!”


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