Dharam Singh is a chowkidar with whom I get along very well. Almost every evening I have a conversation with him on sundry topics. Out of curiosity, I asked him, what he thought about Modi being a chowkidar “Sir, I would love to be a chowkidar like him”, he replied. Surely why not I thought, Dharam Singh was absolutely right. Modi is anything but a chowkidar.
Like Shakespeare said “Rose by any other name, still smells the same”, call him Pradhan Mantri, Pradhan Sevak, Prime Minister or Chowkidar, he has SPG security, hobnobs with the high and mighty, a Boeing 747 at his disposal, he gets a bombproof BMW worth crores – for which he neither bothers about the fuel, maintenance or drivers salary. What a life, I wish I could afford something like that!
In contrast Dharam Singh, sits in front of the lift, wears a uniform, carries a big stick in his hand, is faulted for anything and everything that goes wrong in the vicinity of the building, braving the vagaries of the weather and has a cycle for transport. If there is a cigarette butt lying around, Dharam Singh what is this junk doing here?, Did you ask the sweeper to clean the butt? Yes sir, no sir, I don’t know sir, I will take care in future sir, sorry sir are his usual replies, but not so with Modi.
The current administration is just trying to fool the people of this country into lulling in their belief that the rulers of Hindustan are as poor as they are. I am no better than the chowkidar in your neighbourhood, I am as illiterate and as poorly thought out as he is. We are all in the same boat, but we will sail along, there is nothing to worry. This is not the narrative people of India want but instead, want to see a healthy one to one debate on issues plaguing the nation.
Can Modi and Rahul Gandhi come together on a street corner or in a television studio and be openly grilled on all subjects from domestic issues like education, women safety, monetary and fiscal policy, border incursions, defence to foreign policy? This will never happen with the present dispensation at the top. They are as clueless as they can get. They need their cronies, hangers-on and subject matter experts (aka retired bureaucrats) to coach, prompt, give them cues and practically put words in their mouth to any questions asked, such is the depth of incompetence of our ruling class.
But the real issues that plague the nation are left out of the narrative. Seventy years after independence with a growing population which is impatiently aspiring for better things in life is being stymied by a group of people who are intent on keeping the population at subsistence level. Schools that do not prepare them for the university, colleges that do not prepare them for jobs, careers where there is little or no growth. An orchestra which is horribly out of tune, making noise rather than music.
It is in this background that narratives like “I am also chowkidar”, “who robbed the nation in Rafale deal“, “cow politics” etc crops up – because the political class is out of step with the hopes and aspirations of its own people – which it does not bother to understand. Does it really matter to a college graduate whether the person next door eats beef, meat or chicken, or whether the Indian Air Force got 36 Rafale fighter jets or Mirage 2000? But what actually matters is where he would be in the next five years? Will it be profitable to pursue further studies or seek employment in the corporate/public sector? What are the choices in life?
With India having a large proportion of its population which is under-25 issues that are of critical and crucial importance are swept under the rug and instead non-issues and irrelevant topics are intensely debated, where filibustering is the name of the game.
There is no solution to the political crisis facing this country, but change is on the horizon. Established parties are increasingly being challenged by non-entities like Kanhaiya Kumar, Jignesh Mewani, Shah Faesal, Shehla Rashid and Arvind Kejriwal. It will not be long before the dominoes begin to fall and fall it will. If Lehmann Brothers has taught us anything, it is this – “There is no such thing as too big to fail”. As Jeff Bezos had wisely commented “Amazon is not too big to fail” and he went on to add “In fact, I predict Amazon will one day fail”. Empires have come and empires have gone, countries were formed and countries have ceased to exist. Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great are just memories. Is the political class listening?