India faces perhaps the biggest test since its Independence and Partition in terms of convergence of social, political, and economic crises. With its economy in the doldrums, and its healthcare infrastructure found to be pitifully and worse, disastrously incapable of handling the brutal Second Wave, and with its politicians busy holding elections and pulling down governments, there are no dearth of crises that the country faces. Indeed, the term Functioning Anarchy, that was once used by Western media to describe the country, is now back in vogue, looking at the present situation.
Worse, there seems to be no political will to tackle any of the problems that India faces, let alone the smaller and minor inconveniences that we, Indians have taken for as necessary evils in our everyday lives. Moreover, when society becomes a spectacle, where Digitally Mediated Notions of happiness prevail and where substance is sacrificed at the altar of instant gratification, means that the otherwise constricted society too has now fallen prey to the overall madness engulfing the country.
Of course, there are any number of reasons why we need to be proud of what we have achieved in the decades after Independence. Right from premier educational institutes to stellar industries, to the very commendable self sufficiency achieved in terms of food production, India has come a long way since the time when famines were common. Moreover, the improvements in literacy, and the declining birthrates correspond to successes that are hard even by developed world standards. In addition, we have put advanced in the adoption of technology, that has been a game changer in the lives of Millions.
However, at the very time we ought to be building on the foundations of such successes and powering ahead, we seem to be dragging ourselves back into the Dark Ages, hellbent on self destruction. No matter the political affiliation, India’s Slow Descent to Madness is underway and perhaps, it is time the citizenry realize the tectonic and subterranean forces at work and did some course correction. Of course, faced with unpalatable choices, Indian voters typically choose the Lesser of Two Evils and hence, there is also a need for a viable and vibrant alternative brand of politics.
Having said that, governing a complex and multilayered country such as India is no easy task. With all the myriad problems of its people that need attending to, the Steel Frame of the Government has to be really strong to withstand the corrosive effects of the insidious forces at work. However, what is worrying is that our Institutions are being hollowed out from within and this perhaps, is the biggest challenge before anyone concerned with the state of the country. Even if say, tomorrow, a Messianic figure is going to emerge to redeem us, the damage has been done and it would take a Herculean Effort just to repair the cracks and the creaks in the Wheels of the Governmental Machinery.
As mentioned earlier, India has always been a Functioning Anarchy and as we Indians like to claim, our Cosmic Destinies are geared towards Order emerging from Chaos and for things to fall in place eventually. However, the current pace and the direction of events in the country is such that even our famous Jugaad mode of living and working seems to be failing as we saw barely a couple of months ago when the Second Wave of Covid hit us. Add to this the lethal mix of religious and caste based strife, and one starts to wonder whether we are functioning at all, and whether anarchy has overtaken us.
What is more distressing is that the overall mood seems to be one of letting the status quo prevail, even if it means allowing the country to descend into disorder and disrepair. While Indians have always been Fatalistic about their lives, at least the Images of Cremations on the banks of many of our revered rivers should make us question whether we have become overly pessimistic. In short, there is a sense of Entropy and Atrophy around us all, that we forget by busying ourselves in spectacle and media management. Perhaps, we are better off disconnecting from the Make Believe Hype of New India and connecting with the actual ground realities of Bharat.
To conclude, India is a turning point and the next few years would determine not only whose Idea of India would prevail, but also and most importantly, whether we would lapse further into the abyss or pull ourselves out of the hole that we have dug for ourselves.
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