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September 14, 2000
India, its pride and spirit taken hostage
Not too long back, there were reports on India's upsurge in the international arena and some even called her the Rising Tiger of Asia!
We have some of the best institutions. Non-resident Indians are making it big in the US of A. Then we have software giants Wipro and Infosys. Paradigms of knowledge and hardwork. They not only made a niche for themselves in the software world but also make our country proud.
Satyam is not far behind too. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are a force to reckon with in tennis today. Vishwanathan Anand is among the world's top chess players. Our hockey team won the Asian Games gold medal and proved that it does not lack pride and spirit when it comes to playing for the country.
Intel's CEO says he sees exponential growth in India's Internet economy. Even in a much-tainted field like politics, we did see a change in the way of governance through the eyes of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. Proudly called the CEO of Andhra Pradesh, he was applauded by all.
For us, people of India, the land of a billion now, these are the best things to happen. Especially when the worst politicians (or shall I say human beings?) like Laloo Prasad Yadav and J Jayalalitha are hell-bent on taking India back to the Stone Age for selfish gains. The changes, considered positive and healthy, should make us happy. For we were tired with hopes for a better India for long. Our wait is finally over. Nothing can stop us now.
Right? W-R-O-N-G!!! In fact, my blood boils. When we can boast of so many good things, why are we so weak when it comes to arresting a crook, murderer, a thief who is relaxing in the forests? When we conducted the Pokhran tests in 1998, the nation proudly stated, "India IS a nuclear power now!" When Kargil happened, we said, Eent ka jawab patthar se dhenge hum. But sadly, today a nuclear power cannot arrest a good-for-nothing fellow who is just wandering in the forests and is involved in the most ignonimous crimes.
It's a shame that he is allowed to talk so much when his mouth and life should be shut with the cruelty with which he took innocent lives, including that of elephants. It's a shame on us, one billion people, to sit quiet and allow Veerappan to take hostage not just an actor and company, but India, its pride and spirit.
It's a shame that the chief ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are busy 'negotiating' the sacrifices of brave people, negotiating our pride, in return for an actor's release. Recently, our honourable prime minister said during his United States trip that we should be vigilant. But are we?
We are allowing terrorism and reckless governance to grow in our backyard. I was shocked to read what two former chief ministers of Karnataka had to say about efforts to get hold of this criminal. One said that if he were in power for 15 more days, he would have caught Veerappan. Oh yeah..!! Fifteen more days and he would have made may be Rs 15 million more! And the other who went on to become India's prime minister said that he spared no effort to grab this crook. I do not have the slightest clue how they can expect anyone to believe them.
It's a shame that we elected such people to power in the first place.
All of us who reside in India and other countries should strongly back poor old Abdul Kareem, who is waging a lone battle against all odds. I will appreciate anyone letting me know if there is a possibility of helping him financially. Because his blood boils and so does mine.
Vijay Rangaraju, a software professional working in Boston, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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