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From The Heart Of An Indian


"WHY are we so negative?"

WHY are we, as a nation  so obsessed with foreign things?

WE crave for foreign TVs and foreign clothes.

WE want foreign technology. Why this obsession with everything imported?

DO we not realize that self-respect come with self reliance?

I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14year-old girl asking me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in the life is.

She replied: "I want to live in a  developed INDIA. For her, You and I have to build this developed India. You must proclaim. India is not an under developed nation; it is highly developed nation".

Do you have 10 minutes ?Allow me to come back with vengeance.

You say that our government is inefficient.

You say that our laws are too old.

You say that our municipality does not pick up the garbage.

You say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke, the airline is the worst in the world and that mails never reach their destination.

You say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.

You say ,say, and say. What do you do about it?

Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name-YOURS. Give him a face-YOURS. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your international best.

In Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores .You are as proud of their underground links as they are. You pay $5 to drive thru Orchard road equivalent of Mahim Cause way or Pedal Road) between 5pm and 8pm.You come back to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in restaurant or shopping mall irrespective of your status identity. In Singapore YOU don't say anything , DO YOU??

You would not dare to buy  an employee the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (RS.650) a month to," see to it  that my STD and ISD calls are billed to some one else".

YOU  wouldn't dare to speed beyond 55mph in Washington and then tell the traffic cop," do you know who am I:?" am so and so 's son .Take your two bucks and get lost."

YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New zealand. Why don't you spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't you use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston?

We are still talking of the same YOU.

You can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries .But cant in your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road  you touch Indian ground. If you can be involved and appreciative citizen in an alien  country. why cant you be the same here, in India? 

Once in an interview, the famous ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay Mr. Tunica had a point to make. "Rich people's dog are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place, "he said." and then the same people turn around to criticize and blame  the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do?

Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels? In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Will the Indian citizen do that here?" He's right.

We go to the polls to choose the Govt. and after that we forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the govt. to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we  going to stop to pick up  a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide the clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.

We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity . This applies even to the staff who, is known not to pass on the service to the public.

When it comes to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reserve at home.

Our excuse?" It's the whole system which has to change ,how will it matter when I alone forego my son's rights to a dowry." So who's going to change the system?

What does a system consists of? very conveniently  for us it consists of  our neighbors, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me but definitely not me.

When it comes to us actually about positive contribution to the system we lock yourself along with the families in to a safe cocoon and look in to the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. clean to come  along and work miracle for us with a majestic sweep of his hand. Or we leave the country and run away. Like lazy cowards hounded  by  our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system.

When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England experiences unemployment,  we take the next flight out to the gulf. when the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian Government.

Everybody is out to abuse and disgrace the country .No body thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money."

"Ask what we can do for India and do what has to be done to make India what America and Other Western countries are TODAY."  


-Adapted From DR.ABDUL KALAAM'S SPEECH In Hyderabad


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