Random Musings

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Anna Hazare Movement: Maybe I should have given it more thought

The Anna Hazare Movement: Maybe I should have given it more thought.
The whole of last month the media was only talking about Anna Hazare. His campaign against corruption was on full swing with the whole country talking about it. Unfortunately, I did not seem to care too much and just wanted to go on with my life. Corruption is so ingrained in our daily life that I was disillusioned about one man fasting and trying to eradicate this.
Nevertheless, a recent article in the Hindu “The Union Cabinet gets healthier” has got me thinking.  The article talks about how sitting MPs have multiplied their wealth over the last two years.  Based on the article by P. Sainath, the average worth of a union minister has risen from Rs 7.3 crore to Rs 10.6 crore over the last twenty eight months. I was reading this article and was really stunned. On one hand we, the salaried class, are slogging for ten hours a day to earn a decent living and for a measly 10% rise in salary each year, while on the other hand our elected representatives are doubling their wealth, even as they make no substantial contribution towards making our society a better place to live. Cost of food items, house rents, fuel and just about everything else have sky rocketed over the last year. But obviously this does not seem to be affecting our elected representatives. And why would it? Their wealth seems to have grown at a rate faster than most of these basic necessities that we are worrying about.
I think this article has been a wakeup call for me. Maybe we do need more campaigns from the likes of Anna Hazare and maybe it is time that we the educated middle class start questioning our elected representatives.
P.S: I have quoted from Mr Sainath’s article which was published in the Hindu on September 21, 2011. The link to this article is http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/article2470835.ece

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Samosa Incident

Here’s an irrelevant incident from my child hood. :)
The post is dedicated to my brother as this is one of his favorite things to complain. He mentions it to me and anyone around me every single time we meet.
As a child, I hated food. The thought of each meal and having to eat it was my biggest nightmare. I would do anything to avoid eating food including throwing away my half eaten, half wasted lunch before my mom saw the lunch box. I used to stand on this platform in my back yard and throw my lunch in the empty plot of land behind my house. One time, my lunch box fell down along with the food and I to jump down and retrieve it J
Anyway, let me get back to the Samosa. While growing up my mother used to buy us samosas and Dilpasand (wonder what it is actually called. It is basically a puff stuffed with coconut and dry fruits) from the local Iyengar bakery. I would always ask for one samsosa, but given my aversion towards food, would not want to eat it once it was bought. So I would procrastinate and wait for ever to eat it. Finally my mother would give up and give it to my brother to finish. By this time it would be cold and soggy and given that we did not have microwaves back then, my brother had to make do with a cold extra samsosa.  While growing up this was just a trivial incident and had no effect on me. But this obviously has affected my poor brother who seems to remember it every time he sees me. J

The phobia towards basic education

When I first moved to Gurgaon a few months back, I was shocked to see that all the house help were Bengali immigrants. In due course I realized that they were not only Bengali but also Bangladeshi immigrants.  It is real sad that most of these people are pushed out of their comfort zones into other cities to look for jobs. I wonder if the Government in Bengal even knows the number of immigrants living here. Anyway, this post isn’t about the immigrants. It is about the general mind set of the underprivileged in India.
The first person who came to work in my house brought her fifteen year old daughter with her. The girl had never been to school and had been doing house work at various houses for over five years. I offered to teach her to read and write Hindi. She was very excited the first day. She sat with me for over twenty minutes and learnt the first few alphabets. We continued the same way for the next few days. On the fourth day she refused to learn anything. She told me her mother felt it was a waste of time and she’d rather spend the time working someplace else. I tried convincing her that she ought to at least know the basics and it would help her. But she was adamant. She had no interest in educating herself while her mother was only concerned about the amount of money that she could contribute towards running their household.
A quick walk around my apartment complex shows that the place is full of migrants and none of them show any inclination towards even basic education. When half the country is steeped in poverty and basic food is such an issue, education, especially for the girl child is the last thing that most people are concerned with.
Anyway, I started writing this post because of a happy event that happened this morning.
There is a lot of construction work happening around my parent’s house in Bangalore. As expected, along with construction workers are a lot of young children. This morning, my mother took a bunch of these children and admitted them at the local government school. She got their photos taken and then got them enrolled at the school. I hope these kids start enjoying their school and  get some education at least till their parents finish their current construction work and move on to other places.