Fruits without Roots

If you are somewhere between the middle-upper strata of society, you would be exposed to the feel-good factor no doubt. Coined by the BJP during last year’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls, it has been carried forward and even magnified significantly by the ruling coalition. Agreed, India is moving rapidly on the path of development, both in terms of economy and infrastructure. But amidst all the hype, is there something that is missing from our view?

To make it clearer we must take into account the main philosophy of a good government – a tree cannot live long if its roots are bad. That’s pretty much what’s happening in this country. We are so happy that the tree is producing good fruits, that we are ignoring the roots. The ‘roots’ here is nothing but the lower layer of the society – the village population, which also happens to be the backbone of the economy. No sane Indian would quickly forget the Andhra disaster, which led to the fall of the much-celebrated Chandrababu-led government. While a lot of emphasis was laid on making Hyderabad the technical hub of the region, hundreds of farmers and their troubles went almost unnoticed, and came to light with the increasing number of suicides. This one incident provides enough insight into what is really going on in the ‘developing’ economy of ours.

The government has introduced a lot of schemes to bring technology to the poor. Yes, that’s a good step, but who wants to learn about the Internet when they don’t get enough food each day? Would a child who does not know to read or write a single letter in English be interested in Word Processors or Web Browsers? Even if the government and NGOs manage to successfully penetrate the essence of technology into the villages, who benefits from them? In a society where money decides everything from good clothing and shelter to education and jobs, how deep can we expect technology to penetrate? Even in the backward sections, it’s mostly affluent people who get access to such schemes.

The new medical revolution in India has proved to the world that the infrastructure here is just as good as anywhere else in the world. Yet we have hundreds – especially women and children – dying every year due to lack of proper health care. If the public turn toward private institutions with hopes of better facilities, they are greeted with high amounts of fee to save their lives, which in turn forces them to sell their property or go into debt.

Whatever maybe said about the many schemes and initiatives taken by the government to develop the country, the fact still remains that the poor get a raw deal most of the time. This fact is only confirmed by the news reports we see about how they suffer due to neglect.

It’s true that we have seen people from most backward sections of society going on to set a path for the rest to follow. But the sign of an effective government is when we see such achievements regularly, not as exceptions. To really achieve the goal of technical and economic competency, funds for the corporate or reasearch sectors is not the need of the hour. First, we must aim at full developement of rural India in the fields of Education, Standards of Living, Medicine and Trade. Once stability is achieved at the base of the economy, it will become easier to take technology to the entire population. The Developed World today has been successfully built on this strategy alone. There is no harm in waiting a few years for this transition to take place if what would result is a good, robust economy. Only then can we, as a ecomonic superpower, hold our head high in the global stage.

Fruits without Roots

If you are somewhere between the middle-upper strata of society, you would be exposed to the feel-good factor no doubt. Coined by the BJP during last year’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls, it has been carried forward and even magnified significantly by the ruling coalition. Agreed, India is moving rapidly on the path of development, both in terms of economy and infrastructure. But amidst all the hype, is there something that is missing from our view?

To make it clearer we must take into account the main philosophy of a good government – a tree cannot live long if its roots are bad. That’s pretty much what’s happening in this country. We are so happy that the tree is producing good fruits, that we are ignoring the roots. The ‘roots’ here is nothing but the lower layer of the society – the village population, which also happens to be the backbone of the economy. No sane Indian would quickly forget the Andhra disaster, which led to the fall of the much-celebrated Chandrababu-led government. While a lot of emphasis was laid on making Hyderabad the technical hub of the region, hundreds of farmers and their troubles went almost unnoticed, and came to light with the increasing number of suicides. This one incident provides enough insight into what is really going on in the ‘developing’ economy of ours.

The government has introduced a lot of schemes to bring technology to the poor. Yes, that’s a good step, but who wants to learn about the Internet when they don’t get enough food each day? Would a child who does not know to read or write a single letter in English be interested in Word Processors or Web Browsers? Even if the government and NGOs manage to successfully penetrate the essence of technology into the villages, who benefits from them? In a society where money decides everything from good clothing and shelter to education and jobs, how deep can we expect technology to penetrate? Even in the backward sections, it’s mostly affluent people who get access to such schemes.

The new medical revolution in India has proved to the world that the infrastructure here is just as good as anywhere else in the world. Yet we have hundreds – especially women and children – dying every year due to lack of proper health care. If the public turn toward private institutions with hopes of better facilities, they are greeted with high amounts of fee to save their lives, which in turn forces them to sell their property or go into debt.

Whatever maybe said about the many schemes and initiatives taken by the government to develop the country, the fact still remains that the poor get a raw deal most of the time. This fact is only confirmed by the news reports we see about how they suffer due to neglect.

It’s true that we have seen people from most backward sections of society going on to set a path for the rest to follow. But the sign of an effective government is when we see such achievements regularly, not as exceptions. To really achieve the goal of technical and economic competency, funds for the corporate or reasearch sectors is not the need of the hour. First, we must aim at full developement of rural India in the fields of Education, Standards of Living, Medicine and Trade. Once stability is achieved at the base of the economy, it will become easier to take technology to the entire population. The Developed World today has been successfully built on this strategy alone. There is no harm in waiting a few years for this transition to take place if what would result is a good, robust economy. Only then can we, as a ecomonic superpower, hold our head high in the global stage.

Cricket(?)-Mania

Pre-Blog Statement – Ah! Feels good to be writing such nonsense [:-)] again after days and days of washing my brain with lines of code and other tensions one would normally associate with the final year project! Now I can think about other duties that form a part of my activities, including this blog!

With the arrival of the Pakistan Cricket team in India, yet another step has been taken in the road to peace between the two nations. More than that, Cricket Fever has once again gripped millions of cricket fans around the country. The sixth one-day international just concluded, with Pakistan clinching the series 4-2. The test series which was played last month was drawn 1-1. Don’t get bored, this is not another article giving commentary of the matches. I just want to give a realistic view on the much-celebrated cricket-mania in India.

True, the knowledge of the game is very high here, and nations like champions Australia and even the Home of Cricket, England, are amazed at the amount of expertise that can be found in every street corner of this country. I need not mention the amount of fame (and fortune) that our national team players get once they put in a couple of good performances. Does all this reflect on the passion for cricket in India? If you say “Yes”, read on –

* The Ranji Trophy, the Premier Cricket Championship of India, is usually witnessed by near-empty stands

* The players of this tournament, in the early 90s, used to earn as little as 25 Rs a day. Now the amount has been raised to 10,000 (pardon me if I’m wrong), but it’s still a small amount compared to what the national team gets

* The women’s cricket team reached the final of the World Cup for the first time, but lost to Australia. If this had been men’s cricket, pages and pages of articles would have been printed about this achievement

* A number of yesteryear cricketers, who were star-performers in their playing days, and played with all heart for their country, are today languishing in poverty. Those players with sufficient earnings when they started playing, are luckier.

I’m not too knowledgeable about cricket, or I could have collected more facts to add to the ones above. But I guess this is sufficient.

The points mentioned above will put in perspective as to what we are, as a nation, obsessed about. If we love to watch cricket, why do we see so many empty seats in the stadium for domestic matches? If we are crazy about cricket, why is it that even a fifty in a league match ODI is highly celebrated, while the entry of the women’s team into a world cup final is only worth enough to ‘mention’? If we are experts in cricket, why is it that the ‘experts’ who know the names of all members of Sachin’s or Sourav’s families, don’t know the name of the first player to lead the country in a Test match?

The truth is, we are not obsessed with cricket as such. We are obsessed with winning, obsessed about seeing star cricketers perform, and obsessed with highlighting the potential of the national team in the international arena. All this, together, has been labeled as Passion for Cricket. This is not a love for the game at all. It has been wrongly understood that we are a ‘cricket-crazy’ nation, while we are actually a ‘cricketer-crazy’ nation.

Yes, cricket has it’s reach to the extent that every street in a city will have it’s own ‘team’. But the fuel for this too, is the overdose of international matches on TV and the newspapers. Today it’s a game that is driven by money, for money. If we have to turn into a truly cricket-crazy nation, we have to change our perspectives of the game itself. We need to look beyond just the international matches, and be aware of all that is going-on in the domestic circuit, and other aspects involved with the game as a whole. Once that is achieved, India can spot and produce a large talent base for the game, and it will be no time before we are world champions again.

Cricket(?)-Mania

Pre-Blog Statement – Ah! Feels good to be writing such nonsense [:-)] again after days and days of washing my brain with lines of code and other tensions one would normally associate with the final year project! Now I can think about other duties that form a part of my activities, including this blog!

With the arrival of the Pakistan Cricket team in India, yet another step has been taken in the road to peace between the two nations. More than that, Cricket Fever has once again gripped millions of cricket fans around the country. The sixth one-day international just concluded, with Pakistan clinching the series 4-2. The test series which was played last month was drawn 1-1. Don’t get bored, this is not another article giving commentary of the matches. I just want to give a realistic view on the much-celebrated cricket-mania in India.

True, the knowledge of the game is very high here, and nations like champions Australia and even the Home of Cricket, England, are amazed at the amount of expertise that can be found in every street corner of this country. I need not mention the amount of fame (and fortune) that our national team players get once they put in a couple of good performances. Does all this reflect on the passion for cricket in India? If you say “Yes”, read on –

* The Ranji Trophy, the Premier Cricket Championship of India, is usually witnessed by near-empty stands

* The players of this tournament, in the early 90s, used to earn as little as 25 Rs a day. Now the amount has been raised to 10,000 (pardon me if I’m wrong), but it’s still a small amount compared to what the national team gets

* The women’s cricket team reached the final of the World Cup for the first time, but lost to Australia. If this had been men’s cricket, pages and pages of articles would have been printed about this achievement

* A number of yesteryear cricketers, who were star-performers in their playing days, and played with all heart for their country, are today languishing in poverty. Those players with sufficient earnings when they started playing, are luckier.

I’m not too knowledgeable about cricket, or I could have collected more facts to add to the ones above. But I guess this is sufficient.

The points mentioned above will put in perspective as to what we are, as a nation, obsessed about. If we love to watch cricket, why do we see so many empty seats in the stadium for domestic matches? If we are crazy about cricket, why is it that even a fifty in a league match ODI is highly celebrated, while the entry of the women’s team into a world cup final is only worth enough to ‘mention’? If we are experts in cricket, why is it that the ‘experts’ who know the names of all members of Sachin’s or Sourav’s families, don’t know the name of the first player to lead the country in a Test match?

The truth is, we are not obsessed with cricket as such. We are obsessed with winning, obsessed about seeing star cricketers perform, and obsessed with highlighting the potential of the national team in the international arena. All this, together, has been labeled as Passion for Cricket. This is not a love for the game at all. It has been wrongly understood that we are a ‘cricket-crazy’ nation, while we are actually a ‘cricketer-crazy’ nation.

Yes, cricket has it’s reach to the extent that every street in a city will have it’s own ‘team’. But the fuel for this too, is the overdose of international matches on TV and the newspapers. Today it’s a game that is driven by money, for money. If we have to turn into a truly cricket-crazy nation, we have to change our perspectives of the game itself. We need to look beyond just the international matches, and be aware of all that is going-on in the domestic circuit, and other aspects involved with the game as a whole. Once that is achieved, India can spot and produce a large talent base for the game, and it will be no time before we are world champions again.