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|March 6, 2002||
Would Ram Rajya have been like this?
I was saddened. Sad and silently weeping in frustration and anger while driving around the placid Lake Leman in Geneva. Safe far away from my country, from my beloved Gujarat, from its warmth, colours, cultures, and now safe from its madness and violence, but with shattered pride. The high head I used to keep as a member of the administrative service in Gujarat and after retirement in my country and abroad so far, the pride I took as an Indian representing the secular dreams of the founders of our Constitution, are all gone. It was disappearing slowly before, but never so rudely, shockingly and quickly. Of all the places it is now happening in the homeland of our forgotten but beloved Bapu!
India may have progressed a lot in recent years. We are ahead in technology, in international standing, producing the greatest crop of brains merrily supporting other Western countries, specially the USA, in building their empire, but we have slowly and steadily slipped in our mental development, far behind even the pre-Partition days, in terms of tolerance, culture and, above all, in further development and protection of our civilisation. We have completely forgotten Bapu, his teachings and the life he sacrificed for us.
I am proud to be a Hindu. But I feel equally holy visiting Ajmer or Jerusalem, a Buddhist temple in Thailand or a Shinto temple in Japan. It comes from the strength of tolerance, which my Hinduism taught me. I take my inspirations from the Gita, the Upanishads and, above all, from the honourable characters in the Ramayan. Would Ram Rajya have been like this? Would Hanumanji have liked such a Sena without ethics and values for life?
What happened in Godhra is deplorable and should have been immediately tackled by an alert administration in a pure law-and-order management process. But it did not happen. What happened after Godhra is shameful. If the first incident is a failure, the later incidents are the sheer result of administrative impotency.
Is it not the duty of a 'government' to protect all its citizens? Is it not a fact that the police has been infiltrated by political elements, that even the higher echelons of the honourable services have become impotent? I hear of corruption nowadays very easily. But this degradation is the lowest limit those honourable protectors of society can reach. We are passing through a dark stage in the life of our country. It is not threatened by anyone outside, but by us. We have converted ourselves into barbarians.
Our leaders should take moral responsibility and hang their heads in shame for their failure. They should punish those who failed in their duties. The attack on the Godhra train could have been avoided with an alert Railway Protection Force and district administration. I read that the police commissioner of Ahmedabad referred to the disproportionate ratio of his force and population. It is a shameful excuse.
The police force can never be in positive ratio with the population. The responsibility of the police force is to plan in advance, involve people in advance and, above all, take on-the-spot decisions. The simple inaction at all places in Gujarat clearly shows the stage the police force is now in and the precarious conditions in which the ordinary citizen has to depend on them. That means even the so-called safe people hiding behind their colour and religion will not be safe tomorrow. It is time all citizens realise that and rise against the lumpen, who know no colour and religion.
We need another (former Gujarat director general of police Julio Francis) Ribeiro again in Ahmedabad to streamline the Gujarat police. We need an administration that can give leadership. A thorough revamp of the administration is absolutely necessary.
The issue is not merely an administrative failure in the police, but in the approach in the development process as well. Indiscriminate industrial growth without any care for environmental and other related issues has become a standard indicator for development in Gujarat. It is in total neglect of the development process, which the state took in its foundation days. Social issues take the back seat.
The youth of India are restless and there is no leadership to provide them the way. They are without political ideology, but gather religious bigotry. The tremendous strength of the youth is wasted, neglected and not guided by the lacklustre bureaucracy and narrow-minded political leadership.
We need a different type of Nav Nirman Movement for India. The immediate need is to organise the youth to save the country and its future. The enormous strength must be channelled to a productive channel with development of proper ethical values of life from the beginning. Where are those educationists who really laid the foundation for Indian resurgence? We need them badly.
We, the Hindus, must stand up to save our culture and religion, not from others but from the bigots, lumpen and vandals who in the name of religion are exploiting the people and ruining our country. Hinduism is in danger and from within! It is time for all to stand up against it. To quote Rabindranath Tagore:
Gourisankar Ghosh, a former Indian Administrative Service officer from the Gujarat cadre, now works with the United Nations.
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