Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
Thank you for the A2A.
It’s good that somebody felt like asking this question. India has always been accustomed to giving everything to the world and never expecting anything back from its own children. I think a whole lot of us have taken this for granted. It’s about time we gave something back to the homeland. So what does India need from us Indians now?
To have trust in the system
Yes, I know it is flawed. Yes, I know there is corruption. Yes, I know there are umpteen things we could all crib and complain about. But unless we have some amount of trust in our system, how will the system function? It’s very easy to sit in comfortable offices and type out governance tips on social media sites. But how many of us are willing to actually do something for the betterment of the system? It will be just a handful.
The current government came to power close to three years ago. Are they being allowed to do anything in peace? ‘Every step they take, every move they make’, certain sections of public have only foul things to say about them. I understand the need for dialogue in a democracy. But this is way too much. I have never seen the like ever before during the times of even more corrupt governments. People largely had a ‘chalta hai’ kind of attitude. Corruption was accepted as a social norm. But when the current government came into power, it’s like everyone was suddenly hit by some kind of meteor of sorts. The ‘chalta hai’ attitude went out the window and suddenly you have an army of people seemingly on a mission to prove that this government is also corrupt. For what joy, I ask. Why can’t they be left to do their job in peace? It’s been three years, people. The current govt. is not going to scuttle away out of fear. Deal with it! All this Modi-bashing and BJP-bashing is getting very boring. Period.
To say no to bribery
If everyone collectively say no to bribery at all levels, there’s nothing those that demand it can do about it. Like why are they even demanding bribes? Because they know that they can get it if they ask the right people…people who are desperate to get their stuff done. Don’t we hear of bribery scams every single day when we turn on the evening news? And to think that some of the people who have accepted bribes are so rich that they can buy out the person who gives them the bribe is what is even more disgusting!
To have the spine to step forward and protect someone
In India, the general attitude of the public is “if it doesn’t concern me, it’s none of my business”. How many girls get molested in public? How many accidents happen? How many people get pick-pocketed? How many petty crimes occur? Do you think nobody else is seeing these things when they happen? No. They do see it. And they chose to ignore it. Because it is none of their business. They don’t think even for a second that the victim could have been anyone…someone they know or love or even themselves. In such situations, most people would be like “why to get involved and get into trouble?” and they pretend that they didn’t see it. And nowadays, the trend is to take a picture of the mishap on mobiles and upload it to social media, rather than help the person in need. Remember what happened to that poor boy in Koppal? () This article on BBC is particularly hurting and an eye-opener of sorts → .
This is the same situation when a woman gets molested. In most cases, people will just ignore and go away. If the woman raises a hue and cry, maybe some brave soul might step forward and he may/may not find support in some more onlookers. There was a statement in a Malayalam movie that roughly translates to this…
It’s not that nobody is seeing these atrocities. It’s only that people notice things that are relevant to them. Otherwise, they will not notice anything.
As long as the girl/woman being attacked is not somebody they know, it ceases to be of any concern to them. Every now and then, we hear news of women getting raped and molested. I refuse to believe that nobody else saw/heard them being abducted or harmed. People have to change their attitudes.
To believe in our cultural values and not to follow foreign cultures blindly
These days, being Indian and behaving Indian is very old-fashioned. People think that holding on to Indian culture and traditions is regressive. And in an attempt to conform to modernisation, they end up being utterly confused individuals and doing the most stupid things. For they are unable to absorb every single aspect of foreign culture, and they are unable to let go of everything they grew up with either. What you get is an entire generation of confused people who don’t know where to draw the line. Do I even have to mention this year’s New Year’s Eve debacle at Bengaluru? It’s best we don’t go there.
Look, I am all for a progressive society. But being progressive does not mean having to let go of who we are as a people. Progression is possible even without losing your identity.
To have mutual respect
People need to stop thinking of themselves as the centre of the universe. To most people today, anybody who has a view different from theirs is a social misfit. As though they are most perfect individuals ever. People may be financially different, socially different, emotionally different, ethnically different…but we all carry the same deep blue passport with the Ashoka Lions on it. People need to accept and respect one another as children of the same family.
To abolish student politics
I have never liked this concept at all. Student life is for getting an education and also for having fun…not for shouting slogans and arranging protest meetings about political issues. These days, students are used as pawns in the chess game of Indian politics. They have become the mouthpieces of their respective political parties and whatever they say or do is brushed away as them being ‘children’. Is this why their parents spent a lifetime earning and saving enough to be able to send these kids to school and college? There is a time and place for everything. Politics SHOULD NOT be brought within the boundary walls of an educational institution. At that age, children are highly volatile and are perpetually emotionally charged, thanks to the raging hormones. So it’s very easy to incite them to do all kinds of activities, even if they bring harm onto themselves.
To understand that the concept of home doesn’t end with boundary walls
Your responsibility towards the maintenance and upkeep of your home doesn’t end with the boundary limits of your home. Don’t you keep your home neat and tidy? Why do you do it? Because you want it to be presentable to those who pay a visit. So it is okay to keep the rest of the country filthy? Don’t we have visitors coming in to our country every now and then? What is the image they would have? Streets strewn with plastic bags full of home waste…smelly drains with black water…paan stains just about everywhere…the stench of urine along every wall. Would you urinate on your boundary wall? Or on the wall of your bedroom? Then why would you do it on the road? Because it does not belong to you? Because you don’t consider keeping the nation clean as your concern? So the nation is not home for you?
I am not saying that everyone should go out there with brooms and buckets and clean the streets. The least you could do is to stop contributing to the mess.
To aim for gender equality…everywhere
Ah…the deep set issue with Indians not being able to treat its men and women equally. We have different rules here for everything, though the law of the land says that all Indians are equal. Right from payscales to social standing, where are we not different?
Today, I read on the news that a prominent movie director has become the proud father of twins via surrogacy. Sometime back, another actor too had a son via IVF surrogacy. And they are being lauded as heroes. Just think what would have been the scene if this was done by a woman. Like say, if a single woman wanted to have a baby and she goes in for IVF and gets pregnant and has a baby, she would be called a fallen woman, and the child would be called a bastard. Will anyone believe her if she says she did IVF? No. Society will say that she slept with someone, got pregnant by mistake and is now bearing an illegitimate child.
Can anything be done about this? I don’t know. Even if anything can be done, it’s going to take a very long time.
To understand that bridges are for two-way traffic
If you exercise freedom of speech, then you ought to allow that freedom to everyone. Trying to ebb/silence anyone who has views opposing to yours is nothing but being unfair. And have we not seen the levels to which people stoop to prove their point and to silence the other side? Just turn on the Prime-time debates on any of the news channels and you’ll see what I mean.
To let go of dynasty rule mentality
Dear people of India, we have ended the ruling style of the Maharajas. A Maharaja’s son/daughter cannot automatically become the next Maharaja/Maharani. There is a saying in my native language that roughly translates to this → Just because your father rode an elephant, that doesn’t mean you will have a calloused derriere 😛 So we need to deal with this change. It’s been more than 60 years, guys. Stop this mentality already! Please!
To stop judging each other incessantly
This is much easier said than done. People have certain notions about how a person should live their life and if they do anything against the set pattern, they are judged and very harshly too. It’s like people are under constant pressure to conform to standards set down by society. Being someone who has been subjected to this torture, I know what it feels like. And it’s not pleasant, I tell you.
This is but the tip of the iceberg. And just my two cents. Unless we join hands and do something about these things, things are going to spiral out of control. And then it will be too late for anything.
And that’s my Quora answer#1000! 🙂