Saturday, February 14, 2009

My tryst

With Amar Chitra Katha continues. I wonder if there has been any award / recognition given to Anant Pai yet. If not, its a huge mistake. I would know zilch of Mythology or Indian history, if not for ACK. I have probably mentioned this before.
Yes, I did go to school and study history, but the way it is presented in our books, it can be promptly forgotten. I did well and had loved history in school maybe only because of ACK.
I purchased a few more titles recently and was reading about the Indian freedom struggle and so many other things involved with it. The wierdest thing was, I came to infer that the reason for the country being taken away from us, our independance taken away, we have none else to blame but ourselves. Even in ancient history, if great Kings and leaders had fallen, some traitor had been bought over by the enemy. And much later, it seemed to be the case with Tipu Sultan (and a lot more, but this one is on top of my mind because I have just about finished reading it), he was betrayed by his most trusted aide. Even now the reason our country is the way it is, we again have only ourselves to blame. We are not civil. We do not follow the rules. We defile the roads. We allow corruption to thrive. No use blaming some politician or some government servant. We don't raise our voices against injustice. So many people. One of the most peopled countries in the world. And we remain silent to injustice.
So many times on my show on radio, the defeat of Lok Paritran as a party came up. The point is everyone kept talking about "kalla" vote. A lot seemed to praise the Lok Paritran. But the point is they had a huge defeat. Why?
Sometimes I think that the Indians as a whole are very emotionally stirred and spurred to action, sometimes for the right cause and mostly for the wrong. Especially in the name of religion and more recently, language, its so easily achieved. The Sri Ram Sene apparently has a very powerful leader that he got those part of his movement to do something as appalling as raise their hands on women and some men. And this is the country which says women are to be worshipped. Such hypocricy thrives. And we the people of this country are just plain shameless. Also, someone brought this to my notice. The media was present because they were apparently tipped off or were informed properly that this event was to happen in that particular pub. The police asked why they were not informed. Now what kind of a shameless media was that, they wanted to cover all those people being beaten up, they allowed it to happen so that they can flash it on their channels and make a lot of dough. The police, I hear, said that they'd have prevented the whole thing. Now I wonder whether the SRS actually paid the media for publicity and for not calling the cops. Because like they say, nothing like negative publicity eh? How has this country, with boasts of a huge cultural ethos allow the flourishing of such people? (read: News guys at the Mangalore pub event). Guess most channels are in the race to become headlines themselves. Every channel and its grandfather covered this atrocity. How do they watch AND cover all this. Can they not prevent it? They probably left their spines at home, coz they have to draw a salary? Or go higher in their ranks. Yes I am angry cause there were people who watched the women being beaten, covered it and telecast it on national TV. And allowed shaming the country on a world platform. And I think, it could have been prevented. Sure, correct me if I am wrong. Or if there is some law somewhere, a loophole in the legal system that says that people can watch atrocities.
I must admit that there are several times that I wish God comes down and vanquishes evil and all the wrong-doers. Since a lot of times I have heard that the politicians with honest service in their minds are not allowed to survive.
We had the DGP (Prisons) Sri Nataraj on my show. And so many people called to complain about this and that, about the implementation of the laws and even why people have not stopped spitting. How someone should be posted everywhere to levy a spot fine. Why the hell should the Police come and tell you not to spit and levy a spot fine? Don't they already have enough things to do? We have read so much about the police force being short staffed and ill equipped. And you'll be appalled to know about the monthly wages of an average policeman in this country. Have you bothered to know? Have you bothered to even care for the Traffic cop inhaling all the fumes from your cars and bikes, standing all day in the hot sun and you drive like a mad thing, in an A/C car, coming from an A/C house, or a hotel and you hurl abuses at how he cannot do his work. Have you stopped to probably buy a bottle of water for him? Or anything else? Can't someone in this city follow something that is called the law? Of course immediately the blame game starts on the very next beat. Very Nayagan style. Ask them to do that and then I will do this. Deeper and deeper do the people of this country go into the quicksand of making excuses. The DGP said one thing, which was almost a refrain. "We need the cooperation of the public to create a peaceful, just society". Is it not our business to make sure that the police have no work to do by being law abiding citizens?
We are not fighting any foreign ruler right now but I think the country, OK let me not say the country, I have not traveled its length and breadth, let me just say that the people of this city are involved in a mass civil disobedience. For what joy?? Search me. I am without a clue.
I also wonder if its because there are several first generation vehicle riders in the city now that they want to show the world that they own it, in their own sort of way by handling their vehicles that way. So should we wait for the insolence of this generation to tide over?
Probably there should be another Independance struggle. And this time, we should probably struggle to be free of the endless coils of crap we have allowed to be spun around ourselves - by others and by us as well, because many a time it has seemed convenient.
When I see someone spit on the road, I tell them not to. Some don't say a thing, some abuse. Which is typical. After a point its tiresome.
I wonder now, what the people of this city need to behave and be proper human beings instead of acting like the apes. Why insult the apes? Perhaps they are better. I wonder what this city needs. A capable leader or God. I also think the people as a whole have enough in the them to terrorize a God as well. So maybe neither. It seems hopeless sometimes.
So to a certain lot of shameless citizens of India, don't you dare blame corruption, red tape or the politicians. You are worse than all of them put together because you, the Indian citizen have allowed a crappy society to thrive.
But I think I am going to take the path of this Mr Traffic Ramaswamy and file one Public Interest Litigation case after another. The first thing I am going to see if I can bring about a ban of blaring the horns in the city by filing a PIL.


Balaji P G said...

I think there is already a rule that bans the use of air horns...This was implemented a few years to the extent that they removed the air horns from all buses that the drivers had to literally get down to ask some guys to move from the middle of road. I would rather suggest avoiding indiscriminate usage of it which ofcourse will entirely depend on individuals.

Chinmayi Sripada said...

Yeah give an allowance and they ll ride over everything :)

My share of life said...

Well written, Chinmayi! I am not sure if we need a movement (say something, "Live & Let Live") to drive this need of the hour to our fellow men and women.

Vineeth said...

What the goons of Ram sene and its head Muthalik did was an abuse of women and in turn Indian culture. We have given the responsibility of upholding and protecting Indian culture in able hands indeed. There is no point in blaming the media alone. There were so many bystanders too. Only one man was MAN enough to stand up against it. Others were spineless, if everyone present there had the courage to stand up against the brutal assault, things would have been different. And the news about Muthalik's plans for Valentine's day were simply too much. I agree this is democracy, but letting someone issue public threats and not to anything about it until a huge cry is raised? Where is my country headed? And as you rightly said, long as we don't stop passing excuses, these things WILL happen. A great essay on the topic I must say. Keep posting. Looking forward to more.

Pavithra Vijay said...


What you have said is cent percent true...In our country everyone is well versed in blaming and criticism. But when it comes to action, nobody is ready...

Waiting for some mass change in our country


Karthik Murali said...

add "the High beam" in cars , in ur petition.
it totally blinds the eye.

and for that Ram Sene Hooligans, its a shameful act the media was too covered up in their act ,but what followed was even more shameful.

all those 27 gundas (including Muthalik) were given bail and released the next day , and he had the audacity to give out yet another statement warning the lovers..

One democratic country !!

*chutz* said...

This blog entry has frustration written all over it and quite rightly so. I am not Indian (Gen2 Malaysian of Lankan heritage) but I've grown up learning so much about it and have had the privilege to visit this beautiful country twice now. Honestly I do have a sense of attachment to India.

On both occasions, I was spellbound by the richness of the history, culture, diversity and beauty it encapsulated. I was equally appalled however to see the attitude of the people living in bigger cities. They, forming the better educated strata of citizens were also the most ignorant and the ease at which they point fingers to others was shocking. India SHOULD be up there in the ranks of America and Britain but it is this mentality that holds them back. Till the people realise this and make an effort to change their own innate flaws, overcome their false pride, India will not be able to move forward.

PS - I have been following your blog for awhile but haven't quite felt the need to leave a comment until now. You won me over with your voice back with Kannathil but now, you have also won be over with your eloquence and flair for writing. Bravo! :)

vijay said...

Society is a bunch of like minded individuals out to deny entry to the "un"-like minded person. It doesn't matter if the "like-mindedness" is crooked as long as everybody's doing the same thing. No wonder u c masses of public getting hysteric, public bashing, molesting and more!

We all want to do something to change the so called system, stand up against it, fight for it, write about it, cry hoarse. We all "WANT" to do it. But we don't. Why? Because, when someone stands up they either get beaten up, or killed. If neither happens, they get termed rebel by the society.

It is human nature to worry about himself and his loved ones first, and then the city or country. And no one would want to risk their lives fighting injustice (unless they're victimized of course!). You cant call man selfish.

Chatroom discussions are the best we can do. Of course, some of us who have a greater public to reach out to, by means of blogs, radio etc can do our bit spreading awareness.

But I think the need of the hour isn't a freedom struggle with corruption. It is a struggle against our own self that makes us spit on roads or break traffic rules. The need of the hour is a self-conscious effort to become more self conscious when we step out of the house. If every individual followed basic rules without having to be monitored by another, we would be free. Of course I'm talking about an ideal scenario here, a scenario that'll probably remain only ideal at least for the next twenty years, however optimistic one tries to be.

Aswin said...

Well written.

We write, talk and discuss. No more than that. I started this community on orkut asking for actions , not words. People eagerly joined and discussed what we can do, but wen it came to doing stuff, almost everyone backed out.

There's a lot that should be done..

Chinmayi Sripada said...

Aswin: I will and there are several people in my fan club will get their hands dirty.
Mail me.

Manaswini.K said...

I have felt the same way many times. last time when I went for a cricket match, I felt so ashamed the way the people throw things and litter the place. In fact I asked many people to spit into their own empty pet bottles and carry them and dispose them properly. no one listens. Chennai needs a CEO. All Indian Metros do. there has to be a corporate kind of competition between the metros. Someone who can get people force together with the help of celebreties and drill into the heads of the masses. That you are associated with the media try to take the help of Stars/ Cricketers and do something about this. YES WE CAN.

Pk said...


Have been following your posts for quite sometime but am posting comments for the first time. As I was reading the post, it seemed to me as though I was reading my exact same thoughts!

In my opinion, before anyone questions the efficiency of the politicians or the policemen, we need to stand before a mirror and ask ourselves, "Am I eligible to question anyone? Am I doing my duties as a citizen of this country properly?" . I dont think one should restrict VOTING alone to one's duty but keeping the country clean and neat and not impacting (in a negative way) a fellow citizen of this country are also some of our duties. I am not sure how many of us follow this! All this ofcourse points to self realization on one's part and a conscious effort to follow the simple rules before questioning others. Those are my humble thoughts!

PS: You are doing a great job with your blogs here and were doing a greater job with Super singer. I wish you good luck in the future.!


Uma said...

Well said. People in India do
not have any right to blame others because they themselves need to be blamed first. Many people still clean their house perfectly and throw the garbage in the road and not on the garbage containers. They just want their house to be perfect, who wants to care about their neigborhood.

The Indians who live in America always talk about comparing India and America about everything. But they don't care about doing things in the right way either. My blood just boils when I see Indians (who travel from America who throw trash in the Indian airports the moment they land in India). I even asked one guy once will he ever do this in America and he said that he wanted to be a true Indian when he lands in India. I was this close to whack him on his head.

This is the attitude of the Indians, unless otherwise people change their attitude , nothing can be achieved. There is no point in doing the blame game. They are the people who blame everything.

Chinmayi - I have been following your blog for a long time and this is the first time I am inspired to leave a comment because it is a topic which is dear to my heart.

Ashvin - I would love to help in any way I can. I will visit your blog and see how I can be of help.

Srini said...

i do get irritated whenever somebody spits.

i wondered on comparing the number of statues and the number of public toilets available in the city of madras

have we got the opportunity to walk on the mount road (now called anna salai)
have we had the urge to visit the loo
then we should get surprised / angry to know that there will not be a public toilet in the vicinity for us to pee

the roads of our city are costly
and even it generates revenue for someone at the cost of comfort to the public.
the roads of t-nagar is a classic example

Nethra said...

Alright the talk and stuff. But have you planned to "do" something? Have you done anything about it yet?

Kaushik said...

Looks like you are venting out a lot of steam. I Wish you all success in this endeavour. But you should know that quite a lot of us individuals or groups are doing something about it and great to see that you are spreading the awareness in people through this blog. Godspeed!!

priyamanaval said...

Hi all...
We need to remember one thing at this moment of discussion. We are talking about people spitting on road littering the public places and lots more.

Considerable percentage of the people who do this are mostly not a part of the "sophisticated" white collored job people like us sitting in front of the computer and pouring in our thoughts in blog,comments, forums and not doing much in action about it.

They are the people who are striving for their everyday life, they are fighting hard in this society to earn their next days meal. For them protecting their accomodation(huts, tents and footpath accomodations) everyday is itself a challenge that they have to face in their day to day life. They cannot bother about clealiness and neatness when their next day meal is in stake. They have much more to worry about their life about their basic nessseccities of food water and shelter.

So as citizens of India first we have to realise about the state of the fellow citizens in all different "class" of life. If we can contribute for something for the betterment of their life we should do it.

The society should share the goodness with them and then expect them to give back the same to the society. Until they realise anything good and postive from the society they would never ever think of giving anything back to the society.

Jayamurugan said...

Hi Chinmayi,
Well written article!!!
Most of the Indians are not keen in doing the individual duties they are supposed to do but so happy to blame others especially politicians and government officials.
There is no 'Thani manitha vozhukkam'[I am not really sure of the english equivalent. If incase u r going to post this in ur blog please do change the same to English] which is necessary in changing the whole country. The change has to first start from within you if you want to see that in others.
Nice to see that you are using the concept of blog for many constructive articles. I have seen few blogs which does nothing except writing some stupid articles. Do continue the same.
Take care...

Jasche said...

I did not know you had a blog and a social one at that..

like aswin says I guess we all talk (no offense here) and do nothing about it, just like the recent gatherings that followed the Mumbai blasts.

anyways reading this post, I can't agree with you more, especially on the HORNS part..

Anonymous said...

"Reading through your post felt like reading my mind - exactly the same thoughts" - This is exactly the problem.

We all know very clearly what the problems are.

And we all act blur and will do next to nothing about it. Atleast the bulk of us.

If not anything, we can pride ourselves for our unity in apathy.

It is not that we are silent to injustice - we are shamelessly INDIFFERENT.

Each one of us individually to ourselves can do and will do nothing wrong.

It is only all the others who are doing everything that ails our country.

I am probably the reason why one or two right things happen in our country.

All the others are the only reasons why our country suffers.

Whatever it be, as long as it does not affect me or my family - I am alright.

Till this mindset changes - blogging, PIL and what can be an endless list will just only be a waste of time.

I need to keep my mind, my thinking, my desk, my home, my environs clean and clear.

I need to live it and show it in action to have the moral authority to go out and preach.

Responsibility and accountability has to start from within.

But I prefer just paying lip service which is a much easier thing to do.

In the process, I am not even bothered I am making a fool of myself. I am immune to it.

I am Indian.

I lack the initiative to face and tackle problems. I will leave them be and amble along, hoping either they will go away or solve by itself.

Krishnan KR said...

Priyamanaval..I agree with you on that !! Perfectly right I think.

jishu said...

Hai akka,
If a handfull of our shameless citizens are punished by charging them with fine,then why to wait till 2020 ?we'll become a developed country the upcoming year itself..{why to insult the apes? Perhaps they are better.}Seems really true akka,they are not the better they are the better'est.
I wish that 'ANNIYAN' should emerge and punish them.But how many to emerge..?
Your words should prick every fellow humans and hinder their path of disobidience.
Atleast, let who read ur blog
will follow strictly our constitution and go by the well framed laws,its nothing to do with other apes.

Shankar said...

It is pretty uncanny that you should bring up AmarChita Katha. I have been fascinated by them too...and very recently I began to blog ... trying to bring in contemporary relevance on the vast ocean of Indian/Hindu Mythology.

Most interesting are the upakathas ... that spin off the main story.

I have taken some liberty here...creative liberty if you will and put forth my thoughts

Would be great if you check it out and comment:

Lotus said...

Hi Chinmayee,

This blog is what is there in the minds of most of the Indians in India and abroad. Someone should give a start, to start a movement to improve for the better.

Media can be used for this, keep telling them not to litter and to be courteous.

So many of our politicians and bureaucrats visit developed countries, can’t they bring in good ideas and facilities those are implemented there. For example we have mass rapid transit system ( parakkum rail), I see the same system in Chicago, very well planned, going all through the downtown in between huge buildings, The way they have planned to cover all the major streets, so many people are using that everyday, the busses and trains are very well maintained. After every single trip they clean the train.You can hear announcements in train and bus to be courteous, to keep the environment clean and mainly “if you see something say something”. Here if anyone finds someone is violating the law they will call 911. We need something like that, even we have 100, are they effective? What is the SLA to reach the spot?

Unfortunately we take bad western lifestyle, which is a failure model. I am surprised even one section of the media is exploiting this to increase their TRP.

More than the politicians the bureaucrats should wakeup to help the country grow and bring awareness to the public by all means of communication.

People’s mentality should change, they should not think “What am I going to gain out of this?” the collective change can be brought into effect only by media communication.

If a place is dirty, clean that place, people should think twice to dirty that area.

One more to add to this, there should be three or 5 feet between any shop and the pavement, are you aware of this? I doubt this is in practice as of today.

Chinmayee this is a good blog, I appreciate your effort for a good living. We need to change the way people think. We can start a movement for “Change for better”.

Sam said...

Way to go Chinmayi.. But whats the next step?? Here's my thoughts:
- to sell an idea of this magnitude, i feel we have to start small
- and then create awareness by "actually doing what we preach"
- try to assemble a group of 50-100 people who can put in Rs.50 each initially and spend 3 hours a week on this project and of course lead my example.
- lets try n come up with a catchy name for this project
- print stickers (in a size visible enough) and let the volunteers stick it in their vehicles and make sure that they obey traffic rules and set an example on road
- as the awareness spreads and the number of volunteers increase, we'll have many more clean drivers

This might be the first small step. Am sure we can have at least 500 clean drivers in 3 months time.

- This blog and ur talk show have a great reach and people respect ur words. Am sure we can build a bigger base in a short span of time
- The second step could be to print t-shirts and organize clean up activities in public places like beaches (this might sound like a cliched idea but it works). And make sure that there are NO celebrities involved in the whole process. B'coz that would bring down the credibility

Be it a new product or any such volunteer activity, it all comes down to 'how we market it'. A website dedicated to this will do a world of good. That could well be a one stop shop for people to know more about the project, enroll as volunteers, suggest their thoughts on further course of action.

Finally, am very sure this can be done. Especially with people ready to get their hands dirty as you said. I live in the U.S. right now. So I wouldn't be able to help you physically. But I can definitely mobilize volunteers, once we have a plan of action.

Hope we get the ball rolling this time.

cheers..for a better living...

Ashwin said...

Pristine Thought.. even though the execution lacks.. we still have a heart and thought to move Fwd...

btw..Is there any one stop website for NGO's in the city..?

Krithika said...

hi Chinmayi,
I started reading your forum probably couple of months. This is first time I have seen your outburst.
I am in the UK. The country is well organised. We have seen whatever we have paid as tax come through in proper forms like good roads, good mintenance etc.
But it's not right to blame people alone for country woes like spitting or following rules.
It's more out of frustration of getting not basic amenities that people don't follow rules.
But root cause of our countries problems is lack of free, compulsary primary education.

If people get that all politicians in the country will be ruined. So they will never allow that to happen.
They will only divide and rule this country by caste.
Good thing living in western countries atleast we get free primary education, free healthcare. Taxes are high but I don't complain paying it, as I see it put back in the community, which sadly doesn't happen in India.

For your information, I do follow rules even when I am i india and try to find a dustbin wherever to dump my bottles or wastepaper.
For that telling people not to spit or wee in public places doesn't get you anywhere ( I have tried it manytimes)

True and remorse filled Indian

Sam said...

hey.. just wanted to check out if any action plan is being prepared. Let me know if I can be of any help.

Chinmayi Sripada said...

To Bharath: Its a free country. Said to be a democracy. So why not?

Vinodh Ramasubramanian said...

I guess everybody gets to this point of frustration.

The only person whose behaviour anybody can change is thier own. After a point you become numb to it and turn a blind eye to it. Maybe not the right thing to do, but in the land of idiots the wise man is the idiot.

Any action to change people's behaviour will fail. I know this first hand, by getting in to enough fights. They do not even have a clue. Whether it is about stopping at a red light or not littering the street. Worse yet they do it with their children in the backseat. The child will grow up believing this to be the right way of doing things. This is why I believe the salvation of our country is in the schools and with the teachers. If the schools and teachers get wiser about civic responsibility and make sure the children get the message, we can hope to have a better/law abiding society in a couple of generations.

Ashok said...

You probably missed approving Bharath's comment, though you replied for it.

Ashok said...

If you analyze each situation, you will realize that there are nicer ways to make your point clear without giving any room for a fight to ensue.

Pradeep Raj said...

There are lot of people who feel the same as you feel. We need to take action. As far as lok paritran is concerned, I don't think they were prepared to win. Its not just that you form a new party and expect to win. I was in favour of them but where are they now. A single defeat, and they vanished. That exactly is the problem. I read news that China is generating more employment by creating new jobs in rural areas. That is what I call innovation. Its time that we stop thinking the way we traditionally think - blame politicians, blame the system, and just blame everything. Instead we should focus on grass root development. Only that can result in "inclusive growth". Well, recession seems to be teaching a couple of good things to everyone.

Anonymous said...

I could relate to every word u said.... I heard someone in TV say " Singapore is not clean because it has strict laws.. Its because of the condescending looks you get from their citizens if u litter or spit".... How true? Each one of us should show change from within, instead of asking others to change... We ve absolutely no right to criticize the corrupt politicians....Really , how many of us have not bribed officials to get our things done? Lets start abusing the common man who bribe the politicians.... When there are no givers there are no takers....

Anu said...

I am reminded of a speech by abdul kalam. We, the citizens of this country(second largest populated country) see to it that we create a crappy environment. Its sad to see that people of this generation are the worst in the lot. We talk and talk and talk but what do we do. Nothing!!!

MPj said...

One of the most "peopled" ... sounds like u have taken inspiration from shakespeare's godded!