Respected Dr. Singh,
It has been a tough 24 hours since the news reports started coming in; news about the arrest of an old man in the world’s largest democracy.
But this mail is not about him. This mail is for about you and for you Dr. Singh; you who I have admired since 2001. That’s actually about 10 years later than I should have, but growing up in a communist ruled state where Marxist literature was easily available, you often have an one sided view of the world outside and I really believed at that point of time that you had messed it up. Nehruvian Socialism still had its hold on me and I really believed in the Public Sector to be the commanding heights of the economy.
As I grew up, I realized what you had done, maybe you were forced to the edge and had to do the unthinkable or maybe you actually had a plan. I believed it was the later. You see Dr. Singh; you were the one responsible along with the Chankya from Andhra to create my generation – the most confused generation in India’s history since the Midnight’s Children.
We grew up without McDonalds and with Doordarshan but as we went to college and started working suddenly we saw the world around us change beyond recognition. We got opportunities which were unimaginable to our parents. We finally believed that we were given the wings to fly and yet the 70s and the 80s held us back. We were born during the “License Raj”, we grew up in a country ravaged by terrorism and yet in a nation which some liked to call “India Shining”. We feel disconnected to those born in the late nineties; we are shunned by the ones born in the early seventies. We want to take on the world and yet we are afraid; we want free market economy where industry and merit will win over nepotism and yet we actively search for someone with a “connection”.
We are the ones forever indebted to you. And that is why, we believe in you.
You have the most unenviable job in this world and thus when you spoke little I thanked my stars that in a world full of “Argumentative Indians” here was my Prime Minister who did more than he spoke. Yours was the first government that was returned to power since Mr. Nehru in 1962. That’s how much we trusted you.
I respect Mr. Hazare. He has taken on the system almost single handed. But I respect my nation more. It gave him the opportunity to voice his dissent – till the arrest. And that’s when for the first time since 2001, my faith in you faltered a bit. “Life is never free of contradictions”. You had said it yourself. And this was so contradictory to my image of you.
Today, middle class India is baying for your blood. My belief is that they are less bothered about Lokpal or Jan Lokpal (though I must admit the bill presented to Parliament is not enough to control rampant corruption) but they are frustrated with the degree of corruption at every level of society and government and they want it to end. And they want you to end it, at least try to end it. But all they see is an old man taking on your government and asking you for an answer which seldom comes. And they rally behind him.
I do not today believe that the Lokpal can control corruption in office. If the CVC, CAG, CBI and an independent judiciary has been rendered ineffective by our system, there is little chance that another body will succeed. But I do hope that you take note of the sentiment and work towards strengthening the institutions that we already have. The 4 pillars of democracy - legislature, judiciary, executive and a free press – today are under siege because we have lost faith in the legislature and the executive, we are tired waiting for the judiciary to give its verdict and the press is slowly getting caught up in the race for TRPs. How can one trust the parliament if no one trusts their own elected parliamentarians? And we are ourselves to blame for this. We get what we choose based on who we choose.
Even after multiple allegations against your government, I have always believed that you have preferred to work in the background trying to work for us, the people, instead of wasting time and energy in answering every allegation.
Today I hope I was right in assessing you. I do hope you still are the right man to lead us. I do hope Dr. Singh you will remember your promise to us – “My top most priority is to deal with India's massive social and economic problems, so that chronic poverty, ignorance and disease can be conquered in a reasonably short period of time.”
In today’s world trust is an important currency Dr. Singh and I have put my entire life’s savings on you.
It’s not much but it’s all I have.
(written by a very disturbed me after the entire country seemed confused over what was happening. Searched for the email address and mailed Dr. Singh the above letter. Not sure if it will ever go to him though)