Chameleons at Play in Resisting Change

Published: 11th November 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th November 2014 11:09 PM   |  A+A-

It is quite understandable. One should not complain. It is just that it has been a long wait. Dreams have been created and fallen flat in our face. The new prime minister wants to create a sense of hope but it is really difficult to hope…for change.

I remember when Rajiv Gandhi became prime minister. There was euphoria because he was “kind of part of our generation”. How wonderful that someone so young would be at the helm. Surely, the time for the big change had come. We were convinced younger voices would get as much credence as that of elders. In our society, where we are taught to keep our opinion to ourselves in front of elders, that was some hope.

Then it all fell apart. It was amazing how the coterie syndrome took over and things reached the comfort level of previous decades. Yes, there was a change. Those who inveigled themselves into the clubs were now of two kinds. Some of the old gang managed the chameleon trick and made their place. Amazingly, the young adopted the exact garb of the older system and just made it savvy and slick.

Soon it all fell into place. If you did not know the right people, you could not make the connect. Merit of a person, relevance of an idea, pertinence of an action was not the guiding factor for access. Feudalism, fiefdom and babudom were firmly ensconced. The same walls, long-winding dance of red tape, arrogance and disrespect and lack of protocol of not even answering a letter.

I have prided in being apolitical in a world where being political is a must and fashionable. It isn’t easy for me to buy into all the RSS-isation perceptions about the new PM and his regime. And thereby hangs a tale. How unfortunate that the word “regime” has returned to circulation.

In the last grand election of 2014, I saw euphoria building up across the nation that had been waiting in hope. Somewhere, the winds caught up with me. The time for change has come, I said to myself. It will be different this time. Well…here is my little story…

I got engaged in a global initiative to empower citizens with media and information literacy and provide them lifelong learning skills. My task was to organise things in India. I identified seven core ministries whose engagement would spiral development in unimaginable ways.

Decorum was followed to approach the “honourable” ministers. Three emails and many fruitless phone calls later, I am convinced, change is a long way away. Not one office of seven ministers of the Government of India has considered it necessary to respond. One office, when told that I have sent an email with all necessary attachments, even asked if I could send a fax!

Digital India will take a long time in the making. Meanwhile, I am totally dejected. Merit of a person, relevance of an idea, pertinence of an action is still not the guiding factor for access. How can I believe…hope…that the chameleons will not be at play.

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