“Expecting this to happen in India is like expecting Ramayana or The Bhagwad Geeta to be recreated.”
This was the opening remark of an email forwarded to me by a friend on Tuesday.
The email reproduced an article, First Among Equals: True Democracy in Action by Dr. Jogishwar Singh, a Swiss citizen born in India, in which he highlights a report on Swiss TV, which showed the Swiss President, Mr Ueli Maurer leaving on a five day state visit to China. The President arrived at Zürich airport like any other passenger in a private vehicle, carried his bags to the check-in counter and checked in like any other passenger without any special treatment. Only two other persons were seen walking behind him.
Dr. Singh, a former IAS officer, adds, “I was so struck by the contrast between what I had experienced in India and what I was seeing on the TV screen that I told my wife that this represented one of the finest examples of democracy for me, certainly of the Swiss variety. It made me proud to be the citizen of a country where the serving President behaves like an ordinary citizen and does not feel the need to consider special privileged treatment as his divine birthright.”
After describing various instances of exemplary behaviour by Swiss politicians and disgusting behaviour by Indian politicians and officials, Dr. Singh concludes:
“Each such incident deepens my gratitude to Waheguru Almighty for having made me settle down in a country like Switzerland where the President carries his own bags to the check-in counter. …….
I might accept India as a true democracy the day I see its President or Prime Minister behaving like the Swiss President before his departure on an official visit abroad.
I don’t think I will ever see such a sight in India during my lifetime.
You think, maybe, my grandchildren will?”
I replied to the sender of the original email:
“Dr. Singh says, “I don’t think I will ever see such a sight in India during my lifetime. You think, maybe, my grandchildren will?”
You have said, “Expecting this to happen in India is like expecting Ramayana or The Bhagwad Geeta to be recreated.”
I request Dr. Singh and you to read the following pieces about Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa:
If you want to read more, please Google ‘Manohar Parrikar simplicity’.
Whatever happens in Switzerland can happen in India as well. This is exactly what I’ve written in my blogpost ‘Yes We Can!‘.
I cannot compel you to do so, but it would be nice if you forward my email to all those to whom you sent your original email so that they know that there’s no need to recreate the Ramayana, Mahabharata or Bhagwad Geeta!”
The gentleman graciously forwarded my email to all the recipients of his original email with the following comment:
“’Expecting this to happen in India is like expecting Ramayana or The Bhagwad Geeta to be recreated’ was the comment I had made in the mail that I forwarded to all of you about the Swiss Presidents who move about like simple common people.
I have received several responses from a few of my E-mail contacts correcting me on this as we have the Chief Minister of GOA who also does the same. Attached is one of the mails received for all to read.”
I had used the same content (with minor changes) to post a Comment on the article at sikhchic.com, but the same has not been published even after 36 hours, even though another Comment posted the next day has been published.
I fully agree with Dr. Singh and all others that most politicians in India, in fact most persons in any position of power expect to be treated like demi-gods and are treated like demi-gods. However, the situation has already started changing, albeit in a very small way. Manohar Parrikar may be one of the few exceptions today, but people like him can become the norm. If we all decide to do away with VIP culture, people like Manohar Parrikar will become the norm.
Can we do it? Yes We Can!