Fit for a king

As I was watching the Presidential inauguration today, several thoughts crossed my mind. Here was a man, who might have never, ever dreamed that one day he would be president. Here was a country that nearly 14 decades after Abraham Lincoln, finally endorsed an African-American for a second term as President. Here was a country that gave a fitting tribute to the President-elect. There was joy everywhere, the people were happy, the marching bands did their job, the participants had couple of reasons to celebrate – one, the election of the President and two, their own inclusion in the event which would have marked some stellar achievements, hard work and competition. I had finished a load of laundry and was folding the clothes. As I did so, it occurred to me that the President doesn’t have to do all this; he has staff to take care of every needs. He just needs to know what appointment he has when. But I wasn’t jealous. I mused over the arduous path that an American will take to become President – the years of public service, the battles at the county, state and national levels; the accusations and defense; the sacrifice to his or her family on top of all the merits needed to help him/her stand out. I was happy that I had freedom in a foreign country, a country where I wasn’t born, to do what I wanted. I had the freedom to pursue my goals and find reward for my efforts. In contrast, it never fails to cross my mind, the people across the world that suffer from suppression and lack of freedom – those people of in some African countries and in my home country of India itself. Granted, India has progressed in the past couple of decades, but that progress is limited to those lucky enough or those that are connected. The accumulation of wealth in segments due to success in business or enterprise isn’t my quib. It is the accumulation of wealth that rightfully belongs to people, in other words the corruption that exists in a country that seven decades after freedom can still have an outstanding amount of illiterates, an enormous amount of poverty and life styles that lack basic needs. When you have a politician come to your city to address the people, he or she does it only during election time. And the crowds are enormous, but most of the crowds are ‘bought’ by giving away money or material or booze. Such is the country that Gandhi had a vision of when he got freedom from the British. And to think of the fact that many of the politicians in government are educated in America or Europe where they would have got their taste of what freedom and democracy can do. That’s a shame. It will take another two generations and the continued information revolution for India to be what it can truly be. The corrupt and old thinking minds need to go – I personally don’t mind how they go. The younger, much free thinking leaders need to emerge. From a land where there were so many great leaders right from around Christ – Shankaracharya, Buddha, Ashoka, Chandragupta, Subash Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Gandhiji and the likes of Narendra Modi today, we are still seeing corrupt leadership surviving. After a Prime Minister or a political party is elected in India, the celebrations are no less in scale, but I have a suspicion that at the bottom of their conscience if they compare and contrast the celebrations of a rightfully elected leader of a transparent system, they should shrivel for that one small moment and in that moment I wish they undergo a transformation. It is the collective positive energy that can make the transformation for India; the amount of negative energy of the powerful, corrupt and rich is just overwhelming progress of the entire nation at this moment.

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