India Unchanged

India is unchanged. Yes, it is.

And that begs the question, in the case of serious issues like corruption, will it ever change? Worse, any change that may occur appears headed in the wrong direction.

I remember a couple of summers ago when I had first moved to India on a short-term assignment. The country was in the throes of celebrating a simple, old man called Anna Hazare. I got caught up in the moment. And in the movement.

It was inspiring to see how this man’s movement against corruption stirred the country, forcing the government’s hand.

I also remember discussing this movement with much enthusiasm with a colleague. He looked at me in pity and said,Nothing is going to change in India. You just watch. People will forget. Everybody will forget”.

I dismissed his words as those of a cynic who had lived too long in “old” India, one who didn’t have a positive outlook or the imagination of what could be. After all, this was India Rising and India Shining.

Right.

I am so sorry to have to say now that he was absolutely correct in his assessment.

Fast forward about two and a half years. I am visiting Mumbai on a short business trip. Granted I didn’t have much time to pay attention to the news because of my crazy schedule. However during the tail end of the trip, I was able to go through  a couple of days’ newspapers.

The news of the day was on match fixing scams – this time within IPL, India’s professional cricket league. Same thing, different platform.

I deliberately searched the entire paper for any mention of some of the anti-corruption icons that I had so admired. There was not a single mention that I could find of Anna Hazare (or for that matter, much about Arvind Kejriwal). It’s like he has disappeared into the ether. I guess the Jan Lokpal bill has too.

So, he was right, my colleague.  He wasn’t being a cynic. He was being an utter realist.

For a country and its people, this is beyond disheartening, it’s tragic.

For anyone with hope for a change, this was a dark realization.

Looking for some positive aspect in all of this, the best I can come up with is: “…but life goes on”.  

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On a much lighter note, a few other things have remained unchanged in India including the following –

Indigo is still growing and is the best, on-time, service oriented airline in the country.  

Its flight attendants are still all young and female (there’s no anti-discriminatory law against that??!). 

These young women still get to use their bobbed-hair, company  wigs on bad hair days.

And to me, that’s still hilarious!

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Posted on June 2, 2013, in india and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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