Category: Just like that

A letter to the reader

To the reader,

When I started this blog, this journey, 3 years ago. It was all new to me. The very idea of publishing my opinion on various issues on a public platform would weird me out. In fact I would get scared just by the thought of it.

But deep down, I wanted to do this. Therefore I decided that it was time to swallow my discomfort and get on with my work. It has been a long journey and we have come a long way. Over the years my writing has developed a lot, and the credit goes to the readers. Your opinion and feedback (and not to mention some of the most interesting discussions I have had over email) is what makes this blog what it is today.

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The secret ingredient

The Right to a healthy life and a clean environment is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. Every year, millions of people lose their lives due to lack of clean water supply and inadequate sanitation. Their presence is essential for the welfare of families across the world. Cleanliness is also one of the Sustainable Development goals of countries across the world.

India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014 with an objective of achieving a clean India. A dream of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. His dream is now on the path of becoming a reality. The government is hard at work to achieve this dream. It has undertaken many initiatives for this purpose. Some of them are, ‘Open Defecation Free villages’, ‘Construction of toilets’, ‘Regularizing Waste Management’ etc. But is it enough? Can the dream of a clean India be achieved just by the government alone?

The might of the Roman Empire did not come from its military power alone; the people of Rome played a major role in establishing it as a superpower of its time. They actively took part in things which led to ‘Empire building’ like joining the army, participating in constructive politics and much more. Rome fostered one of the early feelings of patriotism. Similarly, for Swachh Bharat to become a success, the people of India will have to actively participate in it to achieve the objective of ‘clean India.’ The government has provided the means, but the people will have to take these means to reach the end.

Before the role of Mahatma Gandhi became prominent in the Indian Independence Movement, the masses were largely ignorant of the movement. It was only after Mahatma Gandhi that the sense of belonging and want of independence were realized among the people. This too took almost 35 years to develop. Changing the mindset of the people is one of the most difficult tasks in a mass movement. This is essential, if Swachh Bharat has to be made a reality. The people’s mindset has to change from ‘not caring’ to feeling a pinch when someone dirties (or even damages!) public property. It will take time, but the process has begun.

The people are what a nation constitutes of. If we want a clean India we will have to clean ourselves first. ‘Cleanliness begins at home.’ Then it extends to ones surroundings and eventually the entire nation. As a democratic nation it is our right to question the government on its failures. But it is our duty to ensure that we work for our nation as well. The secret ingredient to a successful movement? The people.

Happy Independence Day!

-Priyamvad Rai

Have we lost our sense of humour?

Humour, as defined by the Oxford dictionary; is as follows, “the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech.” It is an important aspect of our personality, it is what makes us likeable and in some cases attractive to other people. However, should humour be used at the expense of someone’s dignity or image? Definitely not! At the same time it should also not be taken very seriously.  Unfortunately it is not so in our country at this very moment.

There are a large number of sources for humour, there’s comedy TV shows, comedy movies, literary works, comic books, to a certain extent the opposition in the parliament and the internet. The last one, i.e. the internet has been the largest source of humour or, ‘trolls’ as they have come to be termed by the common masses. Most of these trolls are targeted towards current issues and people who are being focused upon by the mainstream media, sometimes these trolls take to radical heights in ‘humour.’ Trolling has become a major issue in India today, and it has taken an ugly turn with some of the trolls reaching the courts. Most of these trolls aren’t even that offensive and often make a good laugh, however most people don’t think of them that way and that speaks negatively about our people and country. Often it is said that we mustn’t compare ourselves with the west, but there are certain things we should adapt from them. Western countries take humour and trolls targeted on themselves very well and respond appropriately, most of their famous comedians make jokes on their own society and that is something to marvel at.

Narendra Modi in his speech in the parliament once said, “ham aaj kal sabha me haste nahi hai” (We don’t laugh in the parliament anymore) and what he said is true, it wasn’t always like this, if we look at records from previous sessions of the parliaments, namely the ones almost 15 years ago we find that members of parliament used to make a lot of jokes along with their constructive arguments. This degradation in the sense of humour of the members of parliament reflects the overall attitude of our country; therefore this change has come in the past few years itself, and it is a change which is not for the good. Furthermore people have grown more intolerant of ‘humour’ and the spirit of ‘taking it on the chin’ is at its all-time lowest. The time is high, for introspection and a change of attitude.

We can bring back our lost sense of humour. As a people, as a country, we have the potential to do so, we were resilient and resolute in overthrowing the British and we did so by not even picking up a single gun. Then we can also change this attitude.

“Does god have a sense of humour? He must have, if he created us” – Jackie Gleason

Priyamvad Rai