My mom wants to buy a few solar lanterns and take it with her when she next goes back to Kamarpukur, the village where she runs a preparatory free tuitions school for some rural children in West Bengal.
Monday, June 6, 2011
She's asked me to buy it from NDTV's Greenathon and give it to her.
Except that it doesn't quite work that way.
What we are asked to do is to donate money and they will go provide the lanterns at villages of their choice. Apparently 200 villages covered so far. Even that - not the entire village, I expect - just a few homes in each.
And this is how the individualized world of a liberalized economy operates.
We stop questioning why the state - the central government that is - has not ensured electricity to the masses nearly 65 yrs after independence, and more than 20 years after reaching a 'galloping GDP' trajectory.
We learn to take pride in our individual feel and do good moments, and brush thoughts of factors such as 0.033% aside. That is what 200 villages actually represents in a country of 600,000 villages. When calculated as number of households, the percentage will plunge further.
As the media celebrates and self-congratulates, will someone stop and question why the state is under no pressure, no answerability whatsoever to make a true scaleable difference? When and how has it abdicated so completely that it can now rest comfortably allowing 'civil society' to feel it is doing fine?
And, simultaneously, we need to ponder this: what sort of a mirror are we putting up around us in society, that we are unable to judge criminal indifference of the policy makers? It is akin to the well-heeled (non-voting) elite family that sponsors their driver's children's education, and believes it has done more than enough for the nation.