We are a poor nation with rich people. With a teeming population of over 100 crores of people even a small percent say 5 percent rich is like having the whole of Europe living in India. The other side is people who live below the poverty line, so abject poor that they have not enough to eat, leave alone other necessities of life. These people periodically elect their regional and central representatives to govern the states and the central government. They are called legislators and parliamentarians or MLAs and MPs.
These representatives of the poor gave themselves a salary hike of 300%! I don’t think this kind of self indulgence by so called public servants has not been heard of anywhere in the world. But my country is special. Anywhere else there would have been violent protests and chaos. Here we accepted this gross and open looting of public money without even a whimper of a protest. They even gave themselves a sumptuous pension!
Looting the public has long been a pastime of those who ruled this country. From the days of Rajas and Nawabs to the rule of the company [East India Company] and later the British, all have done it. We have become so used to this kind of indulgence, extravagance and often sheer waste that it has even become a part of our life! I have on one occasion written about a friend who spent Rs 500,000 only on flowers during his daughter’s marriage! This kind of ugly extravagance is being seen more and more in most of our public and private functions, particularly so in Indian weddings.
Not so long ago there lived in this country a man called Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who in addition to fighting the British get us Indians freedom, but also tried to teach us the virtues of simple life by personal example. Instead of following his advice we promptly made him a deity and called him Mahatma Gandhi [great soul!] and as quickly forgot him. He must be turning in his grave many times over.
There have been volumes written on M.K. Gandhi. But a quaint little book on some persons who have tried to follow Gandhian way of life and worked to better the lives of their fellow suffering humans, came my way some time ago. I strongly recommend you all to read it. Name of the book is ‘Bapu Kuti’ and the author is Ms Rajani Bhakshi.