I wish I was born in Modi’s India… I might not have immigrated to another country just to avail my basic rights and dignity, and to live as a human.
I keep hearing Indo-Canadian friends complain about Canada: too cold, too high taxes, cannot relate to the multi-cultural people around us, too much wait-time at the hospitals — wish we could go back. But we cannot. Why? Because this foreign country gives us the basic rights and dignity which our own birthplace could not.
I lived and worked in India ‘snugly’ during the 10-year ‘delectable’ UPA era, which perhaps caused the country to plummet into the depths of corruption and dishonesty that she had never witnessed since Independence. And, inadvertently, lived in India during its ‘luxurious’ 35-year Communist era in Bengal. I saw the worst: bureaucracy, red-tapism, breaking down of the society, ‘dis’-industrialization, wreckage of the education system, rise of muscle-power and the redefinition of the word ‘Communism’. I survived, somehow. In power-cuts, in heat and pollution, in water shortage, in poison-spewing public transports, rushed for reporting in unkempt villages, and met ministers who were lavishly resting atop bundles of public cash. (I was raised a roadside journalist, which today’s generation hasn’t heard of).
I am not saying that they are gone, vanished, whooshed! Corruption will take another 200 years to disappear from India. But somewhere I can see a movement. A movement to make these anti-elements disappear. And despite some discrepancies, the bigger picture reflects that the Modi government is the reason behind this.
I have not met Mr Modi personally, but I’m supposed to hear his speech coming week when he’s in Toronto for a few hours. If I could have, I would have asked him just one question: When can you call us back?
When can you give us the clean air that we breathe here? This foreign country, which has no blood ties with us, gives every citizen running hot-and-cold water in every tap. Clean drinking water running from every kitchen tap. When can you give every Indian citizens free healthcare when they can walk into a clinic and walk out without paying anything? Free education to every child, be they rich or poor, in the same institution up to grade 12? When can you give Indians roads free of potholes and traffic signals that are working and obeyed by all? In how many years?
When can you give us these fundamental needs? When can you give Indians true freedom? To walk, stroll back home at the middle of the night like we can do it in Canada? When can we come back to our motherland with dignity, Mr Prime Minister?
I am sad to say I am Canadian now. Sad, because I could afford to come here and avail the basic necessities. Millions cannot. Sad, because my country (Read: Past government) did not let me hold onto my Indian citizenship. Tell me one thing Mr Prime Minister, is this change that we are witnessing a one-government mirage? Will we ever see a true socialism emerge in your era, like which was envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Bose? Can we come back to our country and live there once again with all the dignity of being just a human being? A proud citizen?
Canada too has its discrepancies, but we can ignore that. Because the law and the system does not support it. Law cannot be bought. Justice is not blinded by power. No one is powerful in Canada. No one is a VIP. Everything has a system and you have to follow it. Which is why perhaps I could not personally interview you. No influence works here.
Like me, there are hundreds of Indo-Canadians who would be glad to go back to their motherland. But their inner system has got so used to the regulated system in this country, that even if they want, they cannot. The peace is addictive.
When can you promise Indians this kind of peace, Mr Prime Minister?