US and us...


What happens a thousand miles away concerns every nook and corner of the world. While the entire world had set its eyes on the US polls, let’s agree they have certain significance for everyone us included. Of course, not much was common in our and their procedures. Imagine how the things could have been in India on the Election Day. For America, it was a 24-hour affair. The game is over and result is out with the President firmly in the saddle. Ours is a different scenario altogether, isn’t it?
Perhaps, we love the melodrama called election, event that runs for months, if not more. It’s no less than a circus where it’s tough to make out who are all performers and where’s the ringmaster. Perhaps, we wouldn’t be able to choose between two candidates. Perhaps, we require multiple choices.
And profiles of candidates! Criminal background seems a plus and charges of graft appear to make one’s electoral claim stronger …
Just before counting, Obama had a quiet dinner with wife and daughters and headed for a hotel to witness the countdown with his friends and aides before heading for his Chicago headquarters. Can we think of a prime Indian candidate sharing space with family ahead of a key moment? And what do election campaigns mean to us? Besides making hollow promises, our leaders keep tearing each other apart. How graceful Mitt Romney was in defeat! It appears unlikely in the world’s biggest democracy.
This is not to glorify the superpower and paint us in poor light. This is just to look at the reality. As an Indian, it would be an understatement to say I would be glad to hear from our prime minister the kind of victory speech that Obama’s delivered. He dwelt on the future his country should be offering to the posterity. He mentioned basic concerns of his people. He also pointed out what made US a superpower was not wealth, military might or world-class varsities. It was the founding principles. He also reminded citizens that their responsibilities went beyond voting and how all needed to work together for country’s betterment.
Even Romney didn’t sound like a sore loser. We are used to seeing a defeated candidate launch attacks on the winning party. Romney talked about working in tandem with Obama to see the country through difficult times. A wonderful statement from his speech: We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes.” Hope our politicians drive home such as message sooner than later.
Yes, nothing can be changed overnight but the process has to begin. Once, a senior citizen told me India was blessed to be led by octogenarians. I was wondering if it indeed was a matter of pride. To me, it means either we don’t want to pave way for fresh blood or we are unable to foster young leadership. Here we have heard many criticising the US and the West for its materialistic progress but have we really earned that right? Then there are so many hapless people in our country going without food and shelter! It goes without saying India first needs to fulfill the fundamental needs of her people.
Of course, every society has its strengths and weaknesses. In spite of our march ahead in some arenas, in others we must get our basics right.
-KanChan

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