Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Extinguished Young

We may be one of the World's largest -- and the fastest -- growing economy. In Feb 2006, the benchmark Sensex index of the Bombay Stock Exchange breached the 10,000 mark for the first time since its launch in 1986, propelling us in a select list of bourses which trade above the magic figure of ten grands. We recently renamed our national airlines --to Indian from Indian Airlines-- signifying our growing confidence. Our growth rate is well above expectations -- at 8% -- and second only to China. The Indian government allowed IIMs to set up foreign campuses. At the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, arguably the globe’s most important gathering of corporate elites -- this year -- the omnipresent slogan was: India is “the world’s fastest growing free-market democracy.” Achievements that do every Indian proud.

It is however in small, nondescript parts of the country -- outside of the glare of media flash-lights, neon glitz and the Ac-ed comfort -- that India fails miserably. It flunks to understand its rapidly growing global stature. And the institution that brings in this completely unwanted shame is perhaps the most revered. The Indian Army. Quietly in a remote Kashmiri hamlet of Handwara, army troopers -- in a state of battle readiness -- kill 4 kids last week. In cold blood. The kids, as late reports pour in, were playing a friendly game that is at the heart of every Indian -- Cricket. Ages 8 to 9. Plucked unripe. Perhaps too young. A promising future cut short in a barrage of death-beans. Software engineers, Sachin's. Who knows? Nothing now!

There was a furore in the valley for one day. A shut-down. An army spokesperson -- expectedly -- rebuffed the reports. Sonia Gandhi -- India's real power centre -- issued a statement saying sorry.

The news appeared on inside pages in major media outlets. The front page is too crammed up these days explaining in finer details how Prez Bush will alight from Air Force one. Hand around hip with Laura, the librarian. A good wife. Meantime, lesser mortals like mom's of the slain children cry silently at the fresh graves. One mother, I learn't, put a cricket bat near her son's eternal resting space. Trying to seek some shy solace. The newspaper's won't tell you that, stupid. They are busy checking what the visiting Texican shall have for breakfast on March 1.

Why do we forget the respect for humanity? Why do we deliberately hurt? Why do we appear so heartless? How can we pump bullets in 7-year olds, playing in their school ground? Ruthless, ain't it? Incidents such as these must shame us all!

As we continue to grow, we forget many things that come assocaited with power. Accountibility is just one of them.



Jotika said...

It is incidents and provocations like these that fail us all. We forget to respect humanity

Parul Singh said...

I agree with you. As we continue to take the upward flight to progress we must not forget our values. Army, especially must uphold the highest order, as often espoused by JJ.

Dr Anil K Jha said...

It is a sad affair and you right here but army helped the residents during the recent earthquake. True this is shameful but we must unserstand the tremendous pressure army is working under in kashmir
good write up tho as always

Catherine said...

Development must mean development of values as well. Merely progressing in economic terms without any respect for human lives is no progress.