Zindagi dhoop, tum ghana saaya.

February 2008

I dont seek the treasures of the world.
I dont seek the pleasures of the flesh.
If your black deep shadows cover me against the scorching sun of life,
I dont seek to bathe in the bright colors of the rainbow.

The CNN debate.

February 2008.

Today was one of those rarest of rare days when I wasn’t working on a weekend. Hence I got up at 12.30 and straightaway went for the remote to watch the India Australia T20 match. But I somehow settled upon the Democratic debate on CNN. What started as just an intention to take a peek into the two contenders for the American president ended up in two and a half hours of my undivided attention (I forgot the match totally !!!).

And boy what a debate it was !! Two people who may hold the destiny of a nation in their hands being thoroughly grilled by their countrymen before they decide to pass on the baton to either of them. And then what struck me was the stark contrast of the state of affairs in our country when it came to electing the president or the prime minister where the peoples’ will is totally overlooked and often subverted (Kalam vis-à-vis “some” Pratibha Patil). And it made me admire the great country and democracy that America is. That is how a nation should be, I thought. Here was a country where the future president had to walk on fire and prove himself worthy before his countrymen before being elected and in comparison ours was a nation where an unknown lady became the head of the largest democracy in the world on the mere whim of some Italian who din bother to give an ear to the voice of its people. A lady who had absolutely no stature or locus standi whatsoever was elected (appointed rather) over a rocket scientist.

One of my favorite movies happens to be ‘Swades’. It had a scene in it where Shah Rukh Khan is asked whether he believed that our country was the greatest by virtue of its ‘Sanskriti and Sabhyata’. What he replied was further confirmed today when I saw that debate. Only our culture and all that bullshit won’t take us anywhere unless other things that matter in the present are put in place. One of them is our electoral process which is fundamentally flawed and needs to be overhauled. I wish we had a debate on Star or Times where Sonia or Manmohan or Rahul pitted their wits against Advani or some other hopeful which the people got to see and only then vote (I wun hv voted since thay all appear the same to me) but at least the citizens can put things in perspective before making a choice (The ‘Lead India initiative is a good step in this regard). No wonder why America is called the greatest democracy and why is it called ‘the American dream’. All the same I felt helpless and thought the minimum I cud do was write about this so that I can spread this thought to at least a few people who read this. Maybe greater things are to come.

As for the debate, I must admit I had really underestimated Obama until I saw this. He was awesome. There really must be something in this man that is making it so tough for Hillary despite the rich legacy of her husband.

The American president Woodraw Wilson had said ‘We are the citizens of the world’. If only we stopped looking at that great nation with eyes of envy and suspicion and imbibe the good things that happen there. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I wish someday I see this again on CNN except that it hosts the debate for the Indian elections. Amen !!