Tuesday, March 25, 2008

National mess

I was watching "Chak de India" yesterday, with the book "Billions of Entrepreneurs" by Tarun Khanna in my hand, while simultaneously flipping channels to get a glimpse of a debate of sorts about Indian hockey. The movie is awesome, and is right up there with the classic "Remember the Titans", but that is not the subject of this post.

It just struck me that in the same month as the national animal is found to have suffered it's greatest loss of numbers, the national bird lost two dozen individuals and the national sport faced its worst defeat ever.

The conclusion is clear. Anything that gets tagged as "national" in our country goes to ruins. Readers that are old enough might recall the obsession with the electronics industry in the 80s. It was given "national importance" - which led to its suffocation. Programmes like Garibi Hatao that grabbed national attention were a disaster, as were attempts at "nationalization", banks, for instance, forgetting the customer completely. No one watches the national channel (DD-1) unless they are forced to, the national games are a sleight of hand, and our national interest is discarded at the bidding of opportunistic politicians, the nuclear deal being a good instance.

Similarly, our national song is submerged in controversy, our national flag represents how shamefully we allow differential treatment of our citizens, and those who give up their lives for their national cause are treated shabbily.

Is there a silver lining in the national cloud? Probably. Why don't we nationalize garbage? That may cause it to disappear. Or make corruption our national pastime? We could also try making our politicians national animals - they might go extinct then!

Any other ideas?