As we keep bumping into the two Indias almost daily – the raunchy rich and the prickly poor – one cannot help but wonder about the growing chasm. The metro threatens to easen out the traffic even as we get to see more urchins begging with their children in tow at most signals. Wonder if the moving traffic will play havoc with their earning routine? Most of them are imported from outside Bangalore to specifically sell or beg, as the traffic stops. As the traffic starts to move, you see the other imported beings – flashy automobiles – many of them turned into taxis to cater to a niche audience. Possibly picking up or dropping some uber rich indian or foreign dignitary to the new international airport. So here is a look at some traits which may be responsible for making up the gene of desire. Not just the needs, but the wants.
Individualistic, as Flaunting Freedom: In the independence era pre-post 1947, the Indian pride drew chiefly from political and freedom figures. Slowly, freedom was soon taken for granted and administrators started gaining popularity. A couple of border clashes again saw a surge of patriotism, but soon the Indian mind started to drift towards film icons. Big posters, bigger auras and biggest paychecks soon made them the new Indian pride. Even as reforms and entrepreneurs rebuilt India with Industrial bigwigs and technology czars carving a niche, filmstars and then sportstars started occupying mindspaces faster than real estate. The depreciation model of taxation helped many buy swanky cars apart from swankier houses because suddenly there was a statement to be made. So when you see automobiles worth crores running around, being gifted or just being added to the burgeoning stables of politicians, industrialists, film stars and sports stars, one wonders if our constitutional experts forgot to script the ‘freedom to flaunt’ fundamental right. So call it insecurity of expression, establishment of credentials, or plain display of greed, many find it easier to splurge than to share.
State habit as Socialised Security: Who says it is the fundamental right of every Indian to be fed, given shelter or be looked after? Just as the individual struggles to share easily, though many are regular donors to NGOs apart from government forced multiple taxes, it is a tough life for the aged in India, who did not retire as a government employee. Your insurance stops after an age, you don’t get medical benefits easily, the dentures get costlier and never reimbursed, the fear of stepping into a government hospital seems small compared to a loan to get private treatment and so on. Should you still get stuck in the traffic on the way to the hospital, the politician’s motorcade will obviously get priority than your ambulance, so please choose your time of that heart attack. We live in a heavily socialised world, where social security is good to read about. Look at the positive side- our population has made us come up trumps in the survival of the fittest game. So save heavily for your future, read old age, stack more than you need if you want to arm-twist inflation.
Epidemic like the Black Block: As every finance report screams out before and after every budget, the radar of PAN keeps the stranglehold on the middle class. Barring them, the others either dont pay taxes or are not really bothered by them. Black money is not just a problem, it has become part of an accepted culture. Cash rules, so do the guys who have it the most, be it land transactions, donations or bribe. Wonder why the government doesn’t classify bribe under the ‘top priority’ service, as it will help get bribe money as revenues, instead of going to the pockets of the well connected. Some send it out of the country while some store it in to cash in on it even without rainy days. The result – loads of indian money exported for exclusive use, or misuse. The other result – millions of citizens still fighting to survive and live in hygienic surroundings, for assets starting with a toilet.
Evolution of Karma quotient: The law or flaw of Karma dangles a much interpreted explanation, of why we go through what we go through. To start with, the very presence of greed is the absence of purer values, so we need to evolve to higher planes, even if it takes a couple of reincarnations. The lucky few actually get the birth they never dreamt of, or what others will always dream of. People who lack or people who live in abundance are so because of their own doing or not doing. Then the much publicised law of attraction has many fineprints associated with it, so not everyone has really got the hang of it. To top it, your thought and actions, whether as action or reaction in lack or abundance, further dictate your karma rewards, and awards be it a traffic stopper automobile or someone who waits for traffic to stop, to earn.
So finally the churning. May reason see a reason to stop accumulating and start sharing. May joy not get stuck in some lockers and get released in many hearts. May happiness be a result of education and moral values and not the flutter of big notes. May we, as human beings, be human, at least some time. May we learn to appreciate and enjoy abundance along with being greedy only to share and care.