Sunday, December 3, 2023

A vicious circle

We are a people who have become very impatient. We want everything immediately. In all matters concerning our daily life we exhibit extreme impatience. One may seem pessimistic or self-denigrating while describing these trait of our people but we have to admit that this has become a part of our character no matter how it came about. Impatience can be vividly seen on the roads. People drive in such a hurry disregarding all traffic norms as if they are in some dire emergency. One has vehicles overtaking both from left as well as right without giving least indication of their intentions. At most of the intersections the traffic police have a tough time in halting the flow. People invariably cross almost half the intersection and do not have the patience even to halt in time at the correct stopping demarcation even for a minute. However, whenever a VIP convoy passes, the police/IRB stops the traffic. Not a single person dares to defy the gun wielding soldiers. Thus people become patient only because of the nakedly displayed “rod” and not out of regard for the rules! The same type of impatience is exhibited wherever people have to queue up. The idea of forming a queue at public utility counters, shopping stores, and other such places is alien to us. Unless there are compelling reasons such as a regulator rail or a person managing crowd control, we do not normally queue up. One can starkly see the impatience while shopping. People never wait their turn with the salesman. They just come in over your shoulders without even bothering to see that a person is already talking to the salesman. Waiting for our own turn patiently has become alien to us. Material greed, another of our conspicuous traits, has no limits! Purchasing land at all costs and in all places is not only a new fad but a very popular commercial activity. Another major activity is real estate. There is a mad race for constructing dozens of houses and massive shopping complexes regardless of requirement. The only consideration is to earn money through all possible means and to whiten the black money. One is reminded of the short story by Leo Tolstoy, “How much land does a man require?” In the story a man goes to a kingdom where land is given free. He learns that he can own the entire land through which he can walk in a day from sunrise to sunset. He starts walking and goes on and on. The greed pushes him further and further and by sunset he is so tired that he collapses and dies. He is buried in a grave of two and a half yards. That is exactly the extent of land a man ultimately requires! Unfortunately none of us learns this stark fact of life. The greed for land is quite evident in a number of newly established colonies/villages. Our people are not prepared to leave even a foot of land to have proper roads within the colonies. Ultimately it is they who suffer in the event of some unforeseen happenings such as outbreak of fire, illness, death, or even marriage functions. Encroaching on state land and even grabbing it has become a common practice. People have absolutely no qualms in doing so. Even some churches have been constructed on state land after usurping the same illegally. There were also some cases where people had falsely mortgaged churches showing these as the buildings owned by them to draw loans from banks. There are incredible and fantastic stories of the extent to which people have gone in pursuit of their blind greed for material gains. Ultimately the money as well as land gained through unethical means will have a tragic end. However, the easy money also in the meantime has destroyed the social fabric. People with ill gotten money indulge in all sorts of unnecessary exuberance in all social activities which the have-nots are forced to copy to go with the so called norms of the “society”. Sadly it has become a vicious circle.