India – A compassionate neighbor. An Indifferent parent

Indian government’s rescue operations in strife torn Yemen and Nepal earthquake have been lauded globally.

Prime Minister Modi’s historic world tours and aid/credit worth billions of dollars to all neighboring countries visited leave me wide eyed and somewhat in pain.

For centuries India has been active in humanitarian operations beyond its curvaceous borders. Despite the violent & hostile advances of all our neighboring countries from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, India has been the first to offer a supporting arm in their tragedies.

Due to its inherent generous nature, India has rightfully earned the title of a ‘compassionate neighbor’. However, the same cannot be said for its role as a guardian to its own citizens. Unfortunately, here our governments can best be described as an ‘indifferent parent’ blind to the needs of its offspring.

Nearly 70 years after India’s independence, the common man’s struggle to receive even the most basic amenities continues. I am no expert on any governance or development issues but have the common sense to understand the requirements of a nation’s public that should have been in place by now.

When mankind first set up a civilized society organized to run an efficient system of  governance, the purpose was that all will receive equal food security, education, jobs, healthcare, protection, justice and more. During the intervening centuries the core ethos of this system have been diluted beyond measure, particularly in the Indian sub-continent. Governance has become the means to acquire wealth & power. Political leaders, Bureaucrats and rich businessmen work hand-in-glove for personal gains, delays in development & growth notwithstanding.

It is time for the authorities to wake up and do the job for which they are appointed. Just off the top of my head, a few critical areas that need immediate attention are:

India needs immediate, effective and long term solutions for serious problems like droughts and floods that wreak havoc across the country each year. Water tables below the earth are drying up faster than we can imagine. It is reported that India will be water scarce by 2050. So what are we doing about it? Trucks delivering water drawn from lakes is not a permanent solution.

Young soldiers are dying, not just at the borders but also within our territory, killed by our own people, i.e. the maoists or bodo’s or ulfa’s and naxalites. And, what do they die for. Nothing. Whether it is Dantewada, Manipur or even Kashmir, why is it so difficult for the governments to find a definitive conclusion to the root cause of the fire. A safe and peaceful nation is our fundamental right. History is proof that if there is political will, viable solutions are not difficult to achieve.

Quality & affordable healthcare is another essential right of any citizen, but how many can afford it. Why are there no checks on pharmaceutical companies and hospitals overcharging patients. A stent that costs not more than $10 to manufacture is sold to a patient for Rs.25000 or more. Why?

Medicines for American pharmaceutical companies are manufactured in India. Where are the residual chemicals disposed off? On Indian soil of course, drained into the earth that in turn contaminates the water tables and soil. Why are we allowing this gross neglect that endangers the lives of future generations.

Lack of infrastructure, climate change, environmental degradation, corruption, law & order, malnutrition, and so many more critical issues that have to be addressed within India’s borders before we step out to help those ungrateful neighbors who would not think twice before bombing us.

While the Congress governance has failed us miserably for decades and dragged the nation to the doorsteps of its graveyard, Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party proved to be just a flash in the pan. With the advent of a rejuvenated BJP government, the public thought its woes would be eradicated with the swish of a magic wand.  Unfortunately it wasn’t to be so.

Our doctors, engineers, financial experts, scientists, social workers, even our soldiers have been much in demand across the world, however, the country of their origin is deprived of their skills and expert guidance for its own welfare. The government too looks the other way and does not realise that the waters of our sacred rivers are nourishing the foreign lands.

Today, India’s billionaires find enviable spot among the headcount of world’s richest people, each having a net worth in figures beyond my ability to count. Mittal Ambani Tata Birla Godrej Dalmia Kalyanram Daggubati Reddy(s) Gandhi Nehru Scindia Pilot Pawar Khan(s) Bachchan Kapoor Dhoni Kohli and many thousands more have earned enough wealth to last several lifetimes and generations.

Small scale charities and donation cheques bring temporary relief but not long term sustainable solutions.

Now that their coffers are full and bodies well nourished time has come that they work in tandem with the governing bodies for good and effective governance. Each year with the onset of monsoon, Mumbai and many other cities come to a halt due to floods. Why do the city’s elite watch this mayhem quietly from their towering palaces?

Those who can think of minting millions simply by sitting in his plush office should also devote quality time and manpower for providing sustainable solutions to the city that blessed them with world renowned riches. In fact, it should be mandatory for these billionaires to contribute physically and financially for the development of society.

Wake up Government of India! Look around you. The malnourished parched and hungry citizens of India are crying out for help too. The time to think is long gone. This is the time to engage all the available think tanks and financial resources for serious planning, implementation of welfare schemes and ensuring its sustainability.



Author: Anita Desai

I am an alumni of the University of Delhi. An administration and human resources professional, I was associated in the past with Embassy of Israel and with the UKaid's development programs n New Delhi. An emerging writer, poet, blogger, with interests in reading/writing short stories, I discovered my flair for writing during a career break. My short story "The Domestic Maid' features on an online literary community 'New Asian Writing'. 'Epileptic', a short love story, has been published by Nivasini Publishers in their 2015 anthology, 'Celebrating India - Love Without Borders'. My Hindi poem 'Navnirman' has been shortlisted or publishing in 2017 in two anthologies by Authorspress and Nivasini Publishers. I share my opinions on social/political causes of human interest on '', a social journalism platform.

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