Just when you have lost all hope in India, right at that moment, someone very simple and “ordinary” comes up with something extraordinary.
If the Delhi Commonwealth Games have taught us anything, it was that patriotism in any way or shape has been completely extinguished from our hearts. Those who looted the tax payers money and still did nothing are as yet proudly strutting along. Like the guy here – Suresh Kalmadi. When he looted millions and yet delivered zilch – then the Indian Government – culprit in the crime, spent even more money to fill up the ditch that the unscrupulous bureaucrats had dug us into!
That all the money, looted and then spent again, belonged to tax payers and NOT to the Government made no difference to the “solution” found. That, the Army personnel who were brought in to build the fallen bridge and other infrastructure were not paid for that work – but to keep our borders intact – made no difference to anyone. Army is like a footmat for every bureaucrat and politician. Treat them the way you want. Ditto for the nameless and powerless citizen!!
Worse, the whole fiasco is now being given a completely different character – where the citizens who were just looted – are asked to start showing pride in their sorry state!
But there was a time, not so long ago when people fought selflessly. When they didn’t have any ego or offices to fight for. When they didn’t do things for their own Swiss bank accounts. They did for their Motherland, however romantic their idea of it was. One of those was Sardar Bhagat Singh. In his life, he was condemned by the very people he fought for. It is a fact that Gandhi played down his contribution and even denounced him and his associates. It is a fact, that when he was going to be hanged no one amongst the Congress leaders ever did anything for him. Not that he expected or needed it. He wanted to die to start a revolution. Which he did.
He is all but forgotten. And that is why it was surprising to see a poor Shoe Polish vendor in a small town in Punjab – Nawanshahr – giving away free shoe polishes on the Birth Anniversary of the great man – Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh himself! (photograph and translation courtesy: Jasleen Matharu) The signs next to him read:
“Shaheed-E-Aazam Sardar Bhagat Singh de 101 janamdin tey Boot Polish bilkul muft”
English Translation: On the 101st birth anniversary of Sardar Bhagat Singh (Martyr), free Boot Polish!
So, we have unimaginable contradictions of India. A rich bureaucrat loots millions and yet delivers nothing to the society; and a poor person takes nothing yets cleans the dirty shoes of people in his society – a tangible service.
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