Last week we saw the nation infatuated with stories and discussions of Sonia Gandhi’s travel in economy class and Shashi Tharoor’s remark which provoked a massive controversy from many corners, with Rajasthan Chief Minister firing salvos for the resignation of Tharoor for use of phrase “in kettle class with solidarity to all our holy cows”. News papers had it in editorials and TV and FM channels were debating over this recklessness. In too many words, the initiative for reducing the governmental expenditure was somehow lost. The essence of problem was reduced to frivolous gossip and blame game.
The question that I want to ask here is, why are we more constrained by the story behind the thing rather than the thing itself? Why are we more engrossed about the details of the person than the work of person? Why does the media want to make stories about non- issues? Why people generally are more interested in funny talks and discussions about personal chemistries than serious debate that focuses on issues, art, science, literature and philosophy.
Eleanor Roosevelt once observed “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people". These very wise words obviously have had no impact on our bearing. We continue to be people- centric instead of being issue-centric. We hero worship stars and celebrities but forget their ideology and traits. Sachin’s century matters more to us than
The need of the hour is that strong educated youth enter the Indian politics, for that it is mandatory that we give them the space to live the life style they think is appropriate. If they are sensitive about the misery of a poor Indian, they will automatically abandon the shoddy display of opulence .Such a change however should be natural and not a sham. It is no way mandatory to don a khaddar kurta, to appear run of the mill and politically acceptable. I personally see no harm in having couple of well dressed politicians. Some khadi clad swindlers who claim to be messiah of the common man have done more harm by their fiscal scams and caste politics than an Armani clad Shashi tharoor who gave a tongue in cheek politically incorrect reply to the clever Kanchan Gupta , the correspondent of ‘pioneer daily’.
We can’t put the total blame on media alone. Media dangles the enticing food under readers' nostrils because people are too eager to eat that. Sensationalism sells, so they make every effort to make it spicy. We have to accept that they are here to sell their newspapers and air their channels profitably. For them the Gucci shoes of Rajiv Gandhi matter more than the path he had in mind. They can usually get away after putting the word in mouth and after quoting one out of context. It is because they know, that most of us will just read the line for the news and not for the root of the news.
We cannot change them until we become the people who can tell the difference between cheese and chalk and have insatiable quest for ultimate truth. According to Aristotle "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." That is what is truly required, the exploration of reality because true knowledge is gained by real experiments and observations.
The times have changed and we have become a democracy form dynasty and monarchy, or have we? However some of the old tales are equally relevant even today.
As the story goes “A king of a city who was very fond of clothes hired two swindlers who promised him the finest dress made from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The king and his ministers cannot see the non-existent cloth, but pretend that they can, for fear of appearing stupid. After extracting lots of gold and silk, swindlers report that the dress is finished. When the king arrives with most distinguished cavaliers they dress him in mime. The king then goes on a procession through the capital showing off his new "clothes". All his counsel members and people in the streets praise the king’s dress though no one can see it. Yet, No one wants to acknowledge, for then it would be said that one was unfit for his position or that one was stupid. However during the course of the procession, a small child cries out, "The king is naked!" The crowd realizes the child is telling the truth. The Emperor, however, holds his head high and continues the procession.
I am desperately looking for that observant and expressing child who would free at least himself from the shackles of this ignorance in action.