On the occasion of Diwali, it would be delightful if television channels in India went blank for a day and the people who run them thought long and hard about bringing a new light into the homes of Indian viewers. They could do this with better content, which could be presented in a non-partisan manner. Calm thinking and clear sensibilities should be evident in what one watches on one’s television screen. Other TV channels across the world present their programmes and the news in a sane, objective manner. Why do Indian channels portray all issues and events in a superficial and hysterical way? Perhaps there is a dearth of proper research and ‘homework’. It could also be that the work ethics in other nations are very different. Whatever the reason may be, television networks in India need to do what they tell others to do — introspect deeply at every level, from the positions they take on issues to the allegations they make. They are increasingly making a mockery of themselves.
Will the new year bring some solace to India? Socio-economic and political issues in the nation need to be thought about innovatively and in a sane manner. The political and administrative classes must vow to settle down and work hard to enforce new laws that make sense for a changed age and environment. One wonders whether they will continue to ignore good sense and avoid clean practices. The people of India deserve to be respected and reassured. They need leaders who not only speak of inclusion, but also reach out to people from diverse backgrounds through the year, and not only when they want votes.
The ruling United Progressive Alliance government should have given India a much-needed gift on Diwali — it should have committed itself to delivering good governance within a definite time span. But the UPA II never seems to think of the people, or for the people. It has forgotten the fundamental tenets of democracy. This has provided opportunities for people who know nothing about governance to occupy centre-stage and grab the temporary support of frustrated, exploited Indians. Why is the ruling elite so bereft of cutting edge ideas? What compelled their steep slide? Plaguing questions such as these need to be addressed.
The assault of corrupt practices by the State has been suffered by the country’s innocent people. People in power demand bribes in order to fulfil legitimate requests. This corrupt practice is, unfortunately, the one thing that can be found uniformly throughout this diverse nation. The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, can work towards stopping this. If the top leadership in different ministries and departments of the Central government can exercise an iron fist and stop malpractices in their tracks, Indians will support the ruling dispensation. The people need a solution to the corruption seen everyday. For example, harassment at the hands of income-tax officers looking for personal gain must stop immediately. Often, these are the men who need to be put under the scanner. One wonders why Arvind Kejriwal has not attempted to expose such practices that affect ordinary people.
Corruption in the distribution of rations, water and electricity needs to be stopped immediately. This can be done by the strong arm of an honest administration led by a political class that listens to no excuses. The impact of such progressive measures will set the cleansing process in motion. The rhetoric of those who do not respect democracy and the Constitution will then go unheard. The actions of such people are divisive and dangerous. They do not allow for dissent and the freedom of thought and expression.