We’re stepping into a new era as a nation. The wounds of our past have left us with scars, but they don’t hurt now. The dust hasn’t settled yet, but we can see through it. We’re weak, but alive, so alive and bustling with energy and oozing with potential. These are things we’ve been taught in school, these are things those hoardings screaming India Shining in our faces five years ago were, and subtler entities today are trying to tell us. It is a notion that we’ve been happy to let seep into our consciousness, and oblivious to us, it has been displacing and replacing our common sense. Till we read in the papers:
News of droughts makes me sick, it makes me very sick indeed. Geography was one of my favourite subjects till it was there, and in most NCERT geography textbooks, you can find a chapter dedicated to the powerful rivers of India. And so it pains me to know that our plains, which are crisscrossed by so many rivers, are terribly drought-prone (it shocks me that they’re also flood-prone at the same time, but let’s deal with the drought here). And that is because we don’t consider these perennially flowing rivers to be a reliable source of water. No, what is reliable is the Monsoon, which is unpredictable, and which gives a blank to random regions at will.
This is where the bubble bursts. All that talk about industrialization and modernization falls flat, as we discover that our economy is primarily governed by agriculture, and this agriculture itself is weak and hapless in the face of a recurring crisis. A crisis we cry about when borrowing from our friends at the IMF, toy with before elections, and ignore thereafter. Irrigation is almost a forgotten issue now, and all we hear about is states asking for funds when drought hits, so that the people can be rehabilitated (and the babus’ pockets can be filled in the process). Yet when it comes to prevent these crises, we sit back and worship Lord Indra and pray that the Monsoon is fair to us.
Servitude seems to be inherent in Indian mentality. Whether it comes to treating Whites as royalty (oh, but we do rape their women, so that evens out, right?), falling to the feet of the party supremo even as one is to take oath as a minister of the cabinet (one wonders if the oath is to serve the people or the boss), or depending on the Monsoons though nature has given us such a valuable resource to use in the form of our rivers. The crores that are spent on rehabilitation could be spent on development of irrigation, but how can we be independent? We need to be slaves, and so we shall be. Start praying for next year’s Monsoons already, for climate change might just be a reality.