On Diplomatic mishaps and tragedies…

I met up with this long time Bangladeshi friend I knew through emails and Facebook today. Although I knew this guy for almost a year and we were put up in the same city for around 9 months, it so happened that we could meet up only at this point in time. And that too, because he was leaving Lisbon and headed to Barcelona. We discussed on his journey from Dhaka to Lisbon – one which was quite arduous to a listener myself, so I could imagine how much more difficult it could have been for the one facing the music.
 
And the villain in the eye of the storm was the Republic of India. Quite unbelievably so. Although I knew there was a wee bit of criticism on the diplomatic, administrative and bureaucratic setup prevailing in this country, I for one was completely unaware of the complexity of the situation especially for a foreigner in my country. I will not go into the details for personal reasons, but it all started at one of these embassies for obtaining a visa. Yes I know of our people who have faced similar problems in the States or even down under in Australia, but here we are talking about neighbours – people of the same ilk, who fortunately or unfortunately got separated to the other side of the fence and now find themselves to be in a clueless situation in this godforsaken alien land of ours. And hearing his story, I was astonished to know that he had to resort to consular assistance from Bangladesh to get things on track in Delhi. The callous and deplorable attitude with which these diplomatic officials operate in this country is something we are unnecessarily getting too used to and not caring to work on for betterment.
 
That’s not what happens when a Portuguese goes for seeking diplomatic assistance in Spain or even an Englishman goes across the channel to France for diplomatic support. That is just not something that should be happening anywhere else, for that matter.  
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And yes, here is something different that you may also like. An article on the Times speaking about the views of foreigner women on India and Indians themselves. Quite an interesting read although one doubts over the amount of homework done on this piece.    
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On reinstating faith in democracy…

Going by the title, reflecting on the need to reinstate faith in the minds of people regarding democratic governance policies and institutions might be a bit too far fetched considering we haven’t been doomed as yet, some would say. But then, we are very much on that motion, winding down the lanes into believing that the democratic setup that we have been witness to, over the last 60 odd years has started showing signs of rupture and tear.
As I write this piece, riots have broken out in Ara, Bihar over the untimely killing of the Ranvir Sena chief. The MLA from Najafgarh has just been shot by unidentified gunmen in broad daylight. The government has simply failed to curb inflation, that which was INR 63 against a Euro is now standing at 73 in the space of 8 months. Fuel prices have shot up. The man accused in the biggest corruption scandal is out on bail and attends the upper house of Parliament, the next day. The national carrier which was once among the top 5 airlines in the world is sinking and nobody cares about it. Acute power shortages – while we complain of 2-hour outages in Chennai, some areas of New Delhi have had close to 8 hours and worse, some areas of Jammu and Kashmir have 18-hour power cuts. Mamata Banerjee’s paribortan drive took a turn for its worse and ended up splurging INR 9 crore on a private club team which won a private league (the debt of West Bengal exceeds INR 190,000 crore as of today). And if all this was not enough, the government tried to curb social media independence by attempting to filter online content which you and I release onto Google and Facebook, even taking them to court over-exercising this issue. 
 
And I for one, have always have had my reservations over the need to exercise my franchise over such a setup existing in the country, sometimes even going to the extent of saying that the British Raj was much apter than what is currently on display today – drawing a lot of flak expectantly from all quarters. All the above-given instances are just a minuscule into the conundrum that people are getting to be increasingly aware of and start inquiring on. Well, if you were indeed to ask me if after all this whether India was really shining as is being perceived by the west, I wouldn’t agree so. At least not right now. People need to be reinstated with renewed faith in the system prevailing. I don’t know how this will come about and I am no economist or a financial school cat to put in those hard terms on the forefront, simply for the lack of knowledge on them than anything else. 

Impatience and frustration are engulfing the masses and they won’t keep quiet for longer periods from now. And thus the need for reinstating faith – soft measures to stem the aftershocks of inflation and price rise, fast-tracking of the judicial exercises on the 26/11 attacks, stemming corruption (with or without Jan Lokpal), delineating dangerous coalitions like the Trinamool and the DMK to name a few could all be some positives that the babus of New Delhi could try to achieve. 
Although, having said that, there is one person who is “fairly positive” when it comes to the growth story of India right now – Bill Gates, who reiterates some faith on the situation in his recent interview to NDTV. Although I fail to understand how its always good to know. Excerpts from the interview are attached along with this post:
   

By the way, Travel Trails have been updated with new photographs just to remind everyone.