Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Mess of Basic Infrastructure

Seeing the amount of hot air over the various issues of chalta hai attitude that afflict this country, I wonder why people think this is appalling. Anyone who has travelled across the country would tell you horror stories of the terrible infrastructure (or mostly lack of it) in this country across a range of public services that would otherwise be considered a public right in developed nations (I do not count the United States in this). Lack of beds in hospitals, horrifying mental asylums. incessantly long queues at hospitals, strips of roads in potholes (and not the other way round), open manholes and deep flowing drains. no remediation of the annual breakouts of dengue, malaria and chikungunya across the country during monsoons - you name the problem, you find its evidence in abundance across the country. Nobody however seems to be trying to diagnose the disease.

This country has a law that can declare strikes of people working in 'essential services' illegal. There are also layers and layers of legislation on how hospitals are to be run, how disabled people are to be treated, and we have a lot of precedents in the civil law domain (also known as the law of commons) that can be invoked anytime to declare the lack of facilities as contempt of court, since it seems now that the only thing that people in our country is scared of seems to be the upper echelons of judiciary. However the real reason we do not do anything is because our political interests do not seem to get served. Votes it seems will not be gotten by getting the bijli sadak pani (electricity road and water) issues being solved; they can only be won by shrill warmongering and finger wagging. Talking to the people on the road reflects a sense of absolute despair in the elected representatives who are still believed to have the power to bring about the change that they seek.

It is time we changed the political conversation of our country, right from the grassroots level, especially in the urban areas. Howsoever much we may blame corruption, the problem is that we the people have refused to determine the agenda of our people, and have let a few men drive the debate in this country while the others stand absolutely baffled by the turn of events that they are witness to every day. Let us force our politicians to spell out what their vision for this country is for the next ten years. Only if we force them to do so will we make them think of our problems and understand that the people are not going to be fooled anymore by the shenanigans that some people think can continue to fool the common man. One should not forget this memorable statement:

You can fool some people all the time, you can fool all the people sometimes, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

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