Let’s face it. This is not a case in isolation. This is the fact about all of us. We prefer materialism more than we want any other life. And by itself, it is okay. What pains is the fact that we hide behind an armour of spiritualism or anything else, when deep down we care for money more than anything else.
The shameless display of vote rigging that happened at the Parliament yesterday , 22 July, 2008, is a proof of what Indians care about. So far, we had heard of state and general elections being rigged, but the display of money to the tune of Rs. 1 crore as bribe with promise for 8 more after the trust vote, has brought to reality the face of Indian politics at its worst. Despite the derogatory allegations made against the Prime Minister by Lal Krishna Advani that he was “hen-pecked” by Sonia Gandhi and that he could not make a single statement without her permission, despite, the open secret that Amar Singh, the ex-Chief Minister of Utter Pradesh had gone to the US and collected Rs 5,000 crores from the US government, in order to help the Indian Government to bribe the ministers for their vote, despite the fact, that many of those who voted were criminals serving sentences in the jail, the UPA has won the Vote of Trust and will carry on, just because, money spoke louder than anything else.
In every sphere the story is the same. Mountains of trees are cut down in the Himalayas to fill up with concrete jungles of so-called Ashrams. It does not hurt their feelings to cut trees although they say they are religious minded and non-violent. The cash registers jingle at religious institutions in India, especially because they do not declare their earnings or are Trusts, which is an excuse to evade taxes, on the one hand and give tax benefits to donors on the other. In the name of service to mankind, huge amounts of cash often go to the individual pockets of the authorities who own the ashrams or are used to feed, clothe and house an ever increasing number of runaways from Bihar and other parts of the country. Hence, in the name of religion, they keep extending their ashrams to house more and more of these escapists. In this country, not even Christian charity is honoured. In my hometown, Shillong, in Northeast India, a bazaar called National Market, sells foreign goods at exceptionally low prices. Where have all these goods come from? They are goods that have been donated by well-meaning individuals in the name of charity from nations abroad. These goods, albeit second-hand goods, are sold in the market! Outside, mosques and temples in India, huge number of beggars sit, asking for arms. Our generosity may make us drop a coin or two, but suddenly, we find that the beggars are all working in a syndicate and there is a king-pin who actually receives the money collected because, he houses the beggars and feeds them.
And by any chance did you think that NGOs were any better? Sorry, the heads of NGOs are business people who know how to mobilize huge amounts of dollars/pound/Euros to feed their cash boxes. Of the 100% foreign funding, 10% may go towards the real work, 30% on administrative work and the rest goes towards the making of huge bungalows, holiday homes and such other, of the heads of such NGOs.
It’s all over the place. Everywhere! It’s a market place. So what are we pretending about? Let’s stop being hypocrites. Behind, India being called a country with a strong spiritual base and a country with culture there hides the ugly face of greed and politics without principles, religion with a double face, at once saying that the meaning of life is not vain materialism, and in the same breath, showing that that is all that matters. So what does it really matter if a murderer or a thief, a rapist or a shameless, uneducated elected-by-the-people in his constituency, bootlegger or a goonda politician, who won his votes by giving bags full of rice and bottles of cheap liquor, rub shoulders with highly educated Prime Minister of the country, Dr Manmohan Singh? It’s all the same. Everything can be bought. As a nation, we are class less and should be caste to the swine.
We do not even have a free press because even journalism is without principles. Today, the News channels will scream out the greatness of Dr Manmohan Singh, just before Mrs Sonia Gandhi, in wild imitation of her late mother-in-law, begins to take the salutes and garland, and tomorrow, the same journalists will spit on both their faces.
A nation lead by humans without character and principles makes for a nation without integrity.
Devil may care!
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