The Common Man – Curious case of “Hopeful-Helpless”
Last week we received a mail from a citizen in distress who said, he was “SQUEEZED or निचोड़ा हुआ”. The email had a series of haphazard thoughts swaying between myriad facts of reality; and certainly, the man appeared to be educated, reasonably poised in social status, lived in a metropolitan with his 2+2 family and a law abiding tax paying citizen of the country.
Our Mr Squeezed Common Man (SCM) was a cross breed between the Laxman’s ‘Hopeful Common Man’; and Naseeruddin Shah’s ‘Helpless Common Man”.
Team PGuru brainstormed his mail for hours and he even started to occupy our social space. After a lot of deliberations, we diagnosed his ailment of being the curious case of “Hopeful-Helpless”.
He was hopeful because….
- On 15 August ’17, India was going to celebrate the 70th year of Independence. The Nation had come a long way from the bygone era of British Raj and today, it was one of the fastest developing country.
- Demonetisation had controlled the corruption and truck loads of currency notes were found stashed in gunny bags.
- Swatcch Bharat was bringing an end to the horrific sight of people excreting on the railway lines.
- Digital India had simplified things a bit.
- Income tax was expected to reduce in future as Aadhaar and PAN will catch those who don’t pay.
- Misadventures by Pakistan were getting punished with surgical strikes.
In the same breath, our Mr SCM was helpless also …
- In spite of securing respectable marks, his daughter didn’t get a recognised college, as he was a Brahmin.
- He was asked for a heavy sum in cash as donation by the college.
- It was unsafe for his daughter to travel the 15 km to college in a bus.
- He was paying 30% income tax and all the GST, still, he didn’t have water in his taps and 24 hours electricity.
- Monsoons meant even larger potholes, water clogged streets and a spate of Dengue & Chickengunia.
The middle-class urban population forms the backbone of India’s success story, yet they never experience it. Most of our Mr SCM appreciates the larger picture, but feel dejected and defeated when they see things in their immediate surroundings – An optimist and a pessimist lives in the same soul. There are no convincing answers to this complex emotional state; at best we have some arguments to understand their plight….
India was the land of Emperors where people were accustomed of being ruled. The master-slave mentality was deep rooted and ran into generations; for a common man, it was the law of nature. Incidentally, serfdom has two bizarre attributes –
First: Slaves follow the man in front, no question asked – The Herd Mentality.
Second: Two slaves are never friends, they are competitors and they despise each other.
British Raj exploited this facet and ruled us for another 200 years. They turned us against each other based on religion and caste. In the end, the 3000 years old civilisation was reduced to a “herd of trust deficit slaves.”
The nascent Indian democracy for years ran on heritage and legacy, and we became cash vending machines for the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and civil servants. Rampant corruption gave birth to inequality and indiscipline; which made India a Nation of Un(s) – “Unequals – Unethicals – Uncivilised.”
The new millennia saw India take the extraordinary stride in economic development, thanks to globalisation. While some lucky ones grew exponentially, the majority others were not part of the ‘India shining’ story. Generations of governmental inefficiency, polarization in the society and vote bank appeasement of specific castes and ethnicities; widened the disparity between segments of the population. The last 25 years made us a curious case of “Contradictions and Inconsistencies.”
Our Mr SCM was “Squeezed” because he lives in a “herd of trust deficit slaves”, who were “Unequal – Unethical – Uncivilised,” which makes the society full of “Contradictions and Inconsistencies”.
No words of solace, logic and encouragement can bring an immediate relief to our Mr SCM, as it is a result of centuries of mindset and the decades of mismanagement. But surely there is some genuine hope now because the ethos of governance has undergone a change – “Equality – Collective Growth – Unity of Efforts.”
As a Nation, right now we need reconciliation and patience; and as a society, we have to improve upon our public conduct, and instil values of discipline and equality in our children. Instead of being “Squeezed,” rather it is time to be “Spirited”; though not literally 😉
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic
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THe wrestlers (kushti pehlwans) of India have got nothing after Independence but they never gripe that “India gave me nothing”. Nor do the sportspersons , soldiers and policemen gripe so much. I never got any advantage from my own college because all teaching is curriculum-based and not teacher-based.
Very well observed article.
I can’t share the HOPE for our SCM as expressed by the author or of ushering an era of EQUALITY-Collective growth-Unity of efforts.
In the absence of EQUALITY the later two scenarios remain NON-STARTERS as has been happening for past 70 yrs of our political freedom.
The all inclusive answer lies in providing EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY to all by the State,including those DEPRIVED GENERALS, punished with -ve discrimination for the CURSE OF HIS BIRTH.Needless to say the present generations have never been/are not a part of any real or imagined torment of others to deserve such punishment after attaining freedom,laws,constitution&concentrating political/financial powers in RESERVED hands.
Murder of Merit/Talent/Eligibility i aspiring youth is dooming the Nation in competitive backwardness resulting in remaining PERPETUALLY UNDEVELOPED/DEVELOPING.
Only equality of opportunity even in the absence of Caste Reservations can restore morale,encourage competition in those unfortunate GENERALS for overall betterment of the Nation.
A very sarcastic but very true representation if the common निचुड़ा or चूसा हुआ man . A gr8 article which should be read by all parents . The need to make our children disciplined and well mannered is more important than them getting good marks in exams. Also we need to teach them how to hv patience and not to get agitated over petty issues. Well done author
In what way are you unbiased. Can you elaborate. Thanks