Sunday, July 18, 2004

The Temples are there! Have our gods turned their backs .

The recent fire in kumbakonam and the death of so many children has showcased the sad state of affairs in one of the most important places in India. Kumbakonam was the crown among temple towns and was once rich in tradition and heritage. It seemed to be one of the towns that gave meaning and substance to " rich and varied heritage" of India which we said everyday morning in our school pledges.
After a spate of atheist goverments in Tamil Nadu, Kumbakonam has been captured by "the enemies within" and it now represents a desolate and empty town that in stark contrast to the rich splendour it oozed a couple of decades ago. Gone are the days when Kumbakonam families seemed to evoke instant respect. The rich ancestory it had is now long forgotten and plundered.
The recent fire accident is ample evidence that it is a forgotten place. The educational system of Kumbakonam which gave birth to so many supreme court Judges, architects, and IAS officers is dead. I was surprised a couple of years ago when on a flight from Boston to Dallas. I happened to start a conversation with a person. I later learnt that he had a top job as a Financial Analyst in Wall street. It was heartening to find out that he was from Kumbakonam. Ya! so many people may have jobs in Wall street but I was under the impression that Kumbakonam had stopped manufacturing educated people. Given that there were no Kumbakonam judges or IAS officer or top intelluctuals in India anymore, It brought a sense of assurance that the place still was able to generate intellectuals as it did in the olden days. But it appears that the happiness was unfounded. The decline of the place has been steady and certain.
Thatched roofs are the bane of rural India. We inherently lack the culture and sophistication to recognise safety as a priority and cater to it. As long as people can put something on top which can pretend to be a roof, a school can be conducted. A licence is obtainable anywhere in India by giving bribe. Corruption has once again claimed lives of innocent people.
India projects to the outside world that it can produce intellectuals from dirty swamps and thatched roof schools, where is it going to keep its face now ? None of the great people from rural india are proud of the facilities provided to them. They are proud of their land and their teachers, but facilities is completely a different matter.
In a hot hot land, class rooms without fans, children drinking water from mudpots, sweaty cooks cooking noon meals with dirty hands,  plates & vessels which have been barely washed carry these noon meals. This is in complete contrast to the IT boom and all the other trumpets our country seems to blow. This Kumbakonam tragedy in a single fell swoop has put India its place. Our country stands stripped naked and fundametal problems exposed. Its taught a lesson that we have a long way to go and we have misplaced priorities. In our extravagant efforts to boast and show off to the western world our Miss Worlds and Miss Universes and Bollywood trash, we have forgotten that inside the system some parts are burning. How relevant was BPO or million dollar deal or reduction of H1B cap to a child caught in the fire. How small everything else looks when pitched against a battle for life.
It may not be possible to solve all our problems before we move on to greener things. We may have to grow  in all fields simulteneously. But India is struggling to balance its priorities. The ghosts of the past and present are doing thier best to pull India back. A time will soon come where we cannot brush aside public comfort, convenience, health care, service, corruption and comfort. Soon the goverment will realize that it must recognize public comfort as priority and implement it. While the western world seems to fine tune its laws  through law suits, we seem to be knee jerking as a result of death. This knee jerk reaction is temporary. Soon most schools will revert back to thatched roofs after giving necessary bribes to the inspection officer concerned.
It was horrifying to see the charred bodies of students. If horoscopes were true then did the horoscopes of all 87 children preditc early doom. Something for everyone to think about.
It was also stupid when Jayalalitha summarily dismissed the top 4 people in Department of Education. Agreed Kumbakonam is her favorite place and she is expected to become emotional. But how the bloody hell are those 4 people responsible.
Catch the first person you filthy goverment Idiots!!!! Catch the cook who burnt the roof. Catch the local Eductaional Officer who is responsible for inspecting schools. Why shoot the President of India, when a clerk in a governors office is caught accepting bribe. There is this stupid system in our country that expects Railway ministers to resign when trains whose names he doesnt know crashes or derails. The line switching attdendant would have caused this accident by showing up drunk and commiting adultery with some whore during his duty hours. The train would duly derail or crash head-on with another train. The attendent because he belongs to some union or a particular caste (which the ruling party depends to get elected) would be let go. Why? because he is poor and we cant punish poor people can we ?
Even the poor need to be tamed. More so because taming them requires more force given their lack of education. The goverment needs to have the balls to castrate people regardless of their caste or socio-economic status (or lack of it)
It is sad in such a scenario that the idiots who were really culpable were let go and some irrelevant 4 bigwigs were suspended. This is just to show off to the people & media that the goverment is doing something. The real problem has bolted again. How will this stand in court? When will our stupid country filled with stupid rulers learn ?
It was even more sad when the bastards at Sun TV began their usual job of exploiting this event to the fullest extent. They did their usual routine of interviewing 4 people from the so-called public. The sun TV picks and choose people (or actors) who bitch about the goverment every nano second. These 4 "public" folks duly complained about goverment and whatnot and how irresponsible everybody in the goverment is.  No effort was made by this evil channel to boost the spirits of the people up. The bodies hadn't been burnt fully and they had already starting plotting and scheming against the goverment. This is the sad state of affairs in our country.
Tamil Nadu maybe the first state to host non-english staellite channel in our country. Sun TV may have been the first of the regional channels and pioneered this space much before the Zees and the Udayas. But all regional channels have affiliation to political parties. Sun TV makes no attempts to hide its bias and party support. If I was in the Election Commision, I would include Sun TV expenses as election expenses by DMK and ban DMK from contesting elections for over spending beyond the budget.
The only purpose of Sun TV the last few days was to blame the goverment and possibly try and get it dismissed. They didn't care about the 87 children who died.  They just ruthlessly walked over the deadbodies with their agenda.  Except the parents who had lost their children everybody else had an agenda. The 1 crore relief fund, the 1 lac /family all had its own agenda.
The Kumbakonam gods have turned their backs otherwise they would never have let such evil go unpunished



Suresh Ramani said...

Hmm .. agreed that the infrastructure needs to be blamed for the tragedy .. agreed that such an incident will not happen in a developed country .. but, a 'Columbine' will not happen in India either .. every place has its share of problems ...

Hawkeye said...

Good point man! thats true. Columbine sort of thngs wont happen here. I hope the reason for it is something other than free gun culture.

Suresh Ramani said...

Hard to say .. Apparently the Gun culture is free-er in Canada than in the US and yet the number of Gun related killings is very less compared to the US ..

you should watch the movie .. "Bowling for Columbine" ... quite interesting ..

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