The Other Side of Life: A FreeRider's Perspective

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Whom Else to Blame

Got a long mail on orkut some time back. some of the excerpts from it are:
YOU say that our government is inefficient.
YOU say that our laws are too old.
YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
YOU say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke,
The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their
You say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute

YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the
garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand.
Why don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo?
etc etc.

Also there was a comment by Mr. Kapil Sibal that it has become fashionable in India to blame politicians for all the ills. I was thinking of writing this mail for a long time but thought it would be better first to experience life in the most developed and powerful country (US) in the world. Now with spending 2 months here in a small city (Winston-Salem) and visited a big city (Atlanta)and many tourist centers, now I feel I am experienced enough to write the post.

Ok Indians have done very well abroad in many fields. Many of the best teachers and students in various American universities are Indians. Mittal Steel is the largest steel producer in world today. There is a very high proportion of Indians in most of the Tech companies, including Microsoft and Google.

Now lets look at Indians in India. IITs and IIMs are world class institutes recognized in the whole world. Indian businessman have been very successful both under the controlled regime as well as now with the opening of the economy. Instead of the MNCs gobbling Indian companies, the reverse seems to be happening, with Tata Steel slated to become 5th largest steel producer in the world.

Now lets look at the other side. Offices of many MNCs are located in Gurgaon and they are doing pretty well. But the roads in Gurgaon are pathetic to say the least. There are mnay software companies located in Noida region earning handsome revenues and foreign exchange. But there is acute shortage of power in Noida, with generators working more than 10 hours in a day. The infrastructural condition in Hyderabad and Bangalore are said to be similar, though I haven't visted them. And these are the main cities, not to speak of the rural areas.

Now I want to ask Mr. Sibal whom to blame for this except the political class. Who else would construct roads and supply power except the government. If doctors, engineers, businessman, managers can excel in India why cann't we have good politicians. Ok people spit on roads, we don't pay tax sometimes, but that is mainly because of our general frustration with the system and hence life in general. They are upset over the pathetic condition that they have to live in despite toiling for the whole day. If the money is well spent ppl won't mind paying taxes. But it is stupid to suggest that politicians would stop corruption if people start paying all the taxes.

And it is not that we always criticize the political class. Arun Shourie does have huge following in India. IIM Ahmedabad did honour Mr Lalu P Yadav on his turning of railways into a profitable undertaking (though personally I am skeptic of the figures quoted).

It is just that we inherited the political system from Britishers as such. We have started Engg and Management colleges and opened up the economy but precious little has been done for political reforms. People are fed up with politicians and they do change government after every 5 years. But with all parties being equally corrupt, alas they don't have much choice.