Though “2G” is the one which is hogging the headlines these days and raking in the bucks (for the news channels this time), this blog of mine is not about 2G but rather “2D“. I was casually watching an interview of a very famous Indian personality the other day on TV where he was asked a very serious question (for a change!). The question somewhat went like this. “Though our country has so many inherent strengths, natural resources, a long history,…why do you think we are still lagging behind many other smaller countries and still facing a lot fundamental problems like poor health conditions, poverty,.., … ?. The answer came in a flash which was – “Discipline. We Indians lack discipline. That’s what pulls us back. Nothing else. ” My 2D here is about “Desh and Discipline”.
It’s an undeniable fact that as Indians we abhor discipline. Hence it’s not a big surprise that Oprah quizzed if red lights in signals are for entertainment in India during her 1st visit to India couple of weeks ago ! Our Jay Walking may become the next joke in Jay Leno’s programme ( or …may be not after the recent brouhaha!)
We take pride in not keeping our time commitments and keeping others waiting. ‘IST” for long time now has become the Standard acronym for “Indian Stretchable Time”! While we come up with any number of excuses for not turning up on time for business meetings, we somehow manage to be on time in the movie halls! The trailers cannot be missed you see. That’s another matter.
In Mumbai, I notice that the Government is spending crores of our Tax money for building Foot over Bridges in major roads. But people’s feet are still always over the roads and not over the bridges a safety nightmare and also in the process slowing down the slow traffic.
More often than not you will see pictures of Gods and Goddesses in obscure corners in the stairs of buildings, inside lifts,…in Mumbai. This is an ingenious way human beings have thought of to prevent spitting in the walls inside buildings, inside lifts,… We literally paint the town red – day in and day out ! It’s high time Paan is sold with a convenient spitting pan as a package.
Forming a single line is simply impossible for us. When we are asked to form lines, they always end up resembling snakes that too with 5 heads!!! In all my travels, its only in the boarding gates of India bound flights I see so much of ruckus when boarding is announced to get on to the plane 1st. Fear factor that the plane may leave without us !
This list is endless. The same “WE”, when we step out of our country observe traffic discipline, timeliness and all that. So what’s the difference? One is the severity of rules and their implementation in other countries. But the main difference is ” What we see others doing”
And when I say all this about our countrymen I don’t mean to exclude myself at all. I’m as much party to many of the above acts as others. So what’s this ranting all about?
If we as a nation with 1.2 bn + people, plenty of natural resources, proud history, functioning democracy also add “Discipline” to our resume, I’m sure we will soon become the super power we yearn to be. The moot question is how do we become a ” D Company” , I mean a Disciplined nation ? After we got independence in 1947, the priorities for that generation were nation building, setting up institutions, fighting famines, ..,… I guess the priority was not given to instill discipline in children,…,… Now I believe that the time has come. Attitudinal shifts in a country do not happen overnight or not even over months or years. They happen over a generation. And becoming disciplined is one helluva attitudinal shift. Can WE bring in this shift in our children? By being demonstrative? By being disciplined?
This piece has just ended up with more questions than answers and that was the point. Let me now pause this piece and go to bed so that I’m on time for my gym in the morning!
P.S: The famous Indian personality referred to in the 1st Para is famously called as “The Superstar” and it is said that “If He Kant, nobody can”!!!