The simplicity of life in hindsight

A Country Badly In Need of a Heroine

I woke up this morning, one of 11 such mornings since my arrival in Chennai to the familiar humid warmth borne out of the lack of air circulation that can be attributed to a power failure. A two-hour power failure in one of India’s biggest metropolitan cities has now been accepted by much of the public as the norm. Does the public have a choice? In short – No. We take what we get.

We are governed by individuals whose ultimate goal is forming a strategy to gain acceptance by the majority. Unfortunately, we are still a country that’s engulfed in poverty. The majority constitute the class of people who are below the poverty line. Do they understand what it takes for a country to be developed? Do they understand what it takes to build a long-term strategy for the development of the nation.

Not yet.

The governing body understands the role that the poor play on their road to gaining a term at the office; it feeds off the naivety of the poor, and uses this to grow.  The governing body would do everything to satisfy the short-term craving of the poor. Give them rice, and you’ve earned your first term, give them color televisions and you have your next term, it’s that easy. As long as the objective is to introduce policies to gain a term at the office, India will fail to develop. The development of a nation of 2 billion is no measly task, and is certainly not one that can be executed in a 4 year term. We need the governance to mature, we need an opposition that supports long-term growth. The bickering and antagonism need to end, and soon.

In the midst of the power failure, India was struck by the news of the passing away of a 23-year-old girl. This wasn’t a girl who passed away because a disease or a virus had got the better of her, this was a girl who was humiliated, violated and assaulted by a group of men.  It was on that fateful morning that the nation came together to mourn as one, it was this single event that brought the nation together to stand against the atrocity, and the lack of justice that was doled out to the accused. Why does it take a catastrophe of such epic proportions for the office bearers to recognize that there’s something wrong with the system? We could kill these men right away, and claim that justice has been served, but have truly addressed the problem? Are we any closer to eliminating rape from society? The fact is we’re not even close. In 2011, we recorded 60 registered rapes a day. And given the diligence with which we record information, it would be safe to assume that the real figure is close to the three digit mark. We can fix the judicial system, but it cannot stop there. We need to get to the root of the problem.

The root of the problem, however, is not in judicial system, but in the values instilled in the individuals. As a nation, we have had to come a long way to get past issues that span from female infanticide to terrorism. Here we are in the 21st century, and yet all of a sudden we seem to have made no progress. We still live in a country where the majority of the women are held in low esteem, a country that deems women to be a mere utility at the disposal of men, a commodity to be sold for wealth, or even a trump card to gain privileges in society. The root of the problem is not in the judicial system but in status that we give women. The truth is that we have made progress on this front, but it’s not nearly enough and some could even argue that progress means nothing given the scale of growth.

We see progress, when we find women in leading positions in organisations; we see progress when we find strong women as office bearers, but we see failure when the women don’t lead change in society that can span across classes, religions and states.

The governance needs to mature, the women need to stand up to be counted. The epicenter of change is still very much in the hands of a woman.

All it takes is for one woman to stand up, not because she can, but because the nation is crying out for a heroine.


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