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  1. Continued from Part –I

    Another case in point is the son of a poor farmer from a state affected by militancy. Everyday it is a struggle for survival for the farmer’s family. The boy was very good in academics with a brilliant engineering mind. He was an all-round performer be it in sports, cultural activities or academics when he was at Sainik School. He could not pursue engineering due to their economic condition. Nevertheless he went on to complete a Bachelor degree in science. He was unfortunate to graduate at a time when militancy was at its peak in the state. There were hardly private sector companies that have set up offices in the state and getting job in the government sectors is like hitting the jackpot because of rampant corruption. In such situation when all roads of survival are closed and his dream of living a decent life is dashed he had only one option i.e.; joining one of the revolutionary groups’ active in the state because many youths like him have become soft targets for militant activities. The fate of the boy is not the focal point of this illustration but it is about the highly educated unemployed youths like him who have deviated from the mainstream because of hopeless situation. The point here is 1) After completing a master or bachelor degree in a stream how can people expect a youth to work as manual labor ploughing fields or working at contract sites? 2) Why would a youth not revolt against the state if his hard work to excel has gone down the drain? 3) Do a youth need to hold a master or bachelor degree to work as manual labor?

    Many upright officials, who tried to fight against the powerful and the corrupt system, either got killed or they themselves got entangle in the rot. People cannot expect these officials to fight against the system with their hands tied. Therefore, many more people like Anna Hazare, the agent of change are really needed to bring about a quantum shift in the whole system to eradicate corruption.
  2. Many years ago a little boy from a middle class family dreamt of doing something in life. He was not sure what he wanted to do and therefore, he was just living to fulfill the dreams of his parents of making him a doctor and not for himself. As the kid grew up he was influenced by his peers, cousins and relatives in making his personal choice, ambition and hobbies. The kid started liking sports especially cricket and played club cricket and under 15 age group tournaments but was forced to give up for studies. By the time the kid is in high school, he develop interest in engineering and started pursuing along with his parents dream. He was happy to get into engineering outside his domicile state and for not getting admission into medicine. He considers himself lucky to get a job after completion of the course away from his home state as he knew that his honest parents will never pay bribe to get a job for him. But his peers were not fortunate like him. I would like to introduce this boy as “AB”.

    Awakening from the illusion created in the mind of these school kids “AB” and his friends about the outside world, they faced the reality of life for the first time when they were forced to part with their pocket money by a fourth grade employee in the deputy commissioner’s office. They had to pay the fourth grade employee rupees 10 each to get their certificates attested from the deputy commissioner. This was the beginning of hammering the door of these kids’ innocent mind. The system is so corrupt in the country that even to move a file from one table to another in government offices, a bribe is a must. This is worst in the northeast part of India. The common man follows all procedures and standing instructions by the government bodies and still he is asked for a bribe to get his work done. In most of the cases even after paying the bribe the work is not done. A case in point is “AB’s” friend who cleared the XXX Public Service Commission exam and was all set to become Sales Tax officer but he was asked to pay a bribe of rupees 20 lakhs. His father could manage to pay only rupees 7 lakhs. Therefore, he was not given the appointment letter and even the money paid as bribe was not returned. The second case in point is AB’s friend who cleared the XXX State Electricity Board exam and was among the top 5 in the merit list. Initially, he was asked to pay a bribe of rupees 2 lakhs and then in a couple of weeks the bribe amount was increased to rupees 7 lakhs.

    Some people will question why these guys have not approached the state Anti-Corruption Bureau? This is easier said than done. Nobody would like to risk their career when there were many mouths to feed at home. The point here is: 1) Why candidates have to pay bribe to clear the job interview of government departments and why even after getting selected on merit, candidates have to bribe officials to bag the job? 2) When the candidates have paid huge amount as bribe to get appointment letters then why will they not adopt unfair means to recover the lost wealth (money paid as bribe) and give in to the lure of accumulating wealth be it in the income tax dept, PWD, customs, etc? 3) Is it not true that the same trend will continue when these guys will get opportunity to be in the job interview panel? This implies that holding any number of degrees is worthless and does not guarantee a job in today’s scenario.

    Continued in Part -II
  3. Recently a documentary was telecast in a news channel based on war crime committed by soldiers on civilians from an ethnic group of a neighboring country. This is not new as many news channels do telecast sensitive issues with explicit footage or photos. But never seen channels pursuing so aggressively the crimes against humanity committed on foreign soil and not even bothered to broadcast that is happening in their own backyard since 1960’s except incidents happened in few major location. I was wondering whether the documentary telecast was really out of concern against the alleged atrocities committed on civilians from an ethnic group during that nation’s civil war. All these channels take into consideration that it is worth reporting sensational news like celebrities’ wardrobe malfunction than the injustice happening in faraway places from their studio. Is this attitude because of: 1) Viewers do not have interest in knowing human right violations happening in other parts of the country except sports, political uproar at the center or news related to big cities? 2) Is it just a part of the TRP race? 3) Is it that someone in the top management belonging to the affected community, managing the show? 4) Is it the political parties belonging to the affected community, calling the shot at the center? Whatever the reasons may be, it is really unfortunate and sad that many innocent civilians lost their live and many more still suffers from hostilities between the two warring factions.

    Ethnic conflict is the most unfortunate thing that happens when the leaders of the internal actors (insiders) and external actors (outsiders) of a state used politics to defend their interests in the name of protecting their community and causes agitation and unrest in that state. It is the innocent people of both communities who are caught up in the line of fire.

    To born poor and to born in a conflict zone with no savoir is a crime;
    To get trapped and not being able to run away from conflict zone is a crime;
    To massacre civilians of a community with no saviors to protect them from government machinery and the so called revolutionary is not a war crime;
    But to massacre civilians of a community by government machinery is a war crime if the protectors of the community are influential groups.
  4. Emotions are complex but never experience or felt that it can sometimes make someone’s simple life complicated. About a month and a half ago, I was flipping back and forth between TV channels but found self hooked to a show which I hated the most “the reality TV shows” and the show was “Roadies”. It’s not the judges of Roadies audition or these people and the contestants’ drama on the show that caught my eye. It was about a lady with impressive personality, answering confidently a volley of questions thrown at her right from being carefree to get the boyfriend of her best friend that kept me glued to the TV. She did later confessed in the show that she broke up with the guy within few months of courtship. Though it sounds cheap at the beginning but as the show progressed, I got to know the reason for her behavior. I have not studied psychology nor claim to have knowledge of; but everybody is mature enough to learn something from the environment they were exposed to and from observation of people around them (friend circle, moholla, relatives; etc). The subject (the lady) did not have the luxury of living with her parents as they choose to go their separate ways. She spent her childhood with her grandmother since she was 6 months old and may be because of the circumstances she never knew what parental love is all about. Probably, her behavior of “I can get what I want” and making bad choices is growing up seeing her parents in bad relationship and the choices they have made. It touched my heart when she replied “It hurts when I see my friends with their parents” & cried inconsolably. The story is somewhat related to one of my close friend “AK” aka “TK” who is no more alive to read this article.

    “TK” and I grew up in the same neighborhood doing all sorts of “Maskari” (fun stuff). “TK” was tough, gutsy, can easily start a conversation and make friends. He was so confident that there was nothing called the impossible for him. He was from a rich and affluent family. He was a genuine guy and popular in the locality because of his helping nature. “TK” never say no to anyone who approaches him even in the middle of the night for help. The only flaw one could find in him is that he was hot headed. Mostly, he gets along well with my elder brother’s friend circle than mine. But whenever I am around he ditches my bro’s group. Riding pillion on his scooter, we drove around the city and have “cutting chai” in road side stall. I let him do the talking and most of our conservation revolved around his girlfriend. Today, looking back to yesteryears and recalling the days gone, I could feel somewhere deep within he was insecure about himself. “TK” has been in “on and off” relationship with a girl nearby at an early age and continued for almost 8 long years. The break up was the beginning of the unthinkable that happened. He shared every good and bad moments of his life with me except his relationship with parents. I knew even though he never likes to talk about. Till today, I regret that I could not catch the invisible sign.

    I was surprised but not shocked when I got the news that one of my childhood friend “BS” was shot in the forehead point blank for business and political motive late in the night or another childhood friend “KM” who committed suicide when his wife “PM” left with their son. I empathize with the family of my late friends. But it came as a shock to hear the sudden and untimely departure of “TK” from this world. He could not bear the thought of being alone again after his wife left him and committed suicide at his house. This unfortunate incident would not have happened if he had not left parental home.

    This incident compels me to think “What drives people to take such drastic action? Why people behave the way they should not have? Why people appear to be happy even though they are not?” These questions still baffle me. I have not got a definite answer to these questions. The root causes for the insecurity people feel could have been due to many reasons they experience in their childhood. For illustration: fighting parents, favoritism towards one child over another, abusive parents, separation of parents, comparing to other children and so on. I do not want to disclose the family details of “TK” and being a close friend, I was aware what the root cause for his depression.

    I am not judgmental of whether it is men or women who feel more depressed. Male ego is a powerful thing in men. Most men do not open up and talk about personal issues. Macho psyche consider crying as a sign of weakness and prohibit the men from expressing their feelings through softer ways. Women do not hold their emotions inside and cry their heart out. It is more likely for women to gain sympathy because seeing women cry make people heart wrench especially men. People do not acknowledge that depression is an illness as they are ashamed of and may be this is the reason why “TK” fail to seek help.

    Jotted down my thoughts in memory of my friend “AK” aka “TK”