A few years ago I watched the film Slum Dog Millionaire at a seaside theatre. My family were the only Indians in the movie hall. When the film was over I was shocked and ashamed at the way the harsh reality of living was portrayed in the film about my homeland, India and her citizens. I watched the expression of the people as they came out of the theatre. There was disbelief and confusion on their faces. I thought at least now the authorities in India would wake up to address some of the issues depicted in the film. How naive I was!
Next day my neighbour who had seen the film came to chat about it over a cup of tea. She said, she did not understand the pace of the film and the constant running of the characters depicted in the film. It was all too much to take in and understand what is going on. I said, it is true we all have to run all the time to stay alive and we don’t know where we are going most of the time. Neither of us wanted to dwell on the topic and the conversation drifted to weather and recipes.
Soon it was all forgotten, until the common wealth games at Delhi came along in 2010. Now the TV channels were talking about the corruption, the delays, the poor quality of the games village and the scams and scandals that surrounded the whole thing. Friends and neighbours began to doubt if the games will be held at Delhi at all? I began to pray for things to clear up and for the safety of the games.
My friends and neighbours talked about their experience of doing business in India, or their harrowing tales about travel on our bumpy roads and the way we treat our people, not to mention the lack of hygiene in general. I wished my country was clean and progressive. At that time I agreed with them, that my country is chaotic, what they see on TV is all true. It is time the authorities set things right for the people. There was no further conversation about the poverty or the filth on our streets, as the games began and ended.
Now I expected to see some real action towards progress. I was wrong again. It was back to corruption and more scandals. Then I heard of the launch of “India against corruption” and the movement that followed. I talked to my desi friends about it, with excitement and hope. Most were not interested in the conversation, as it was no longer part of our daily existence. I got a few cynical comments, nothing will change, why bother? They were amused, at the fact that we were living in a foreign land and yet interested in events happening in India? I felt disappointed at the way the movement could not gather the momentum it needed.
This year once again India was the centre of world attention for again a pathetic and shameful act. The recent incident in our capital and the lack of respect for the safety and dignity of women in our country, brought to the forefront, the apathy of our inaction in all walks of life. We have serious attitude issues. Human values seem to have totally disappeared from our society. We all feel the need for change in our society. Our youth have a right to inherit a harmonious, prosperous and progressive India. It is time we channelled our collective energies towards a better India. Now the time is right for this collective action and volunteer for building a violence-free and corruption-free society.
The initiative by the Art of living foundation, calling to volunteer for a better India is a golden opportunity for us to make our life useful for our country and our people. How can I as an Indian living outside of India be a part of this wonderful initiative? I ask myself this question. Answers will come and guidance is available through the Art of living foundation.
If you feel you could participate in this initiative, please visit www.vfabi.org and be inspired. If you have ideas to contribute for a better India, please do share it with the community. We can rise above ignorance, arrogance, filth and inequality and be the real, true guiding light for the world. Let us support the youth of this great nation, to create a better India. Let us Volunteer for a Better India
Jai Guru Dev!