Friday, January 8, 2010

How Governments Work

India is such a complex country, as people of every race, ethnicity, language, culture and religion rub shoulder with one another. For the starters, India is multi-cultural for millenniums. And India has learned to live that. It is said that there are over 520 languages spoken in India! That is morute than all the languages of the world put together, I suppose! However, as one country, governance cannot be different!

But that is where it ends. I just arrived back from my visit to South India. I really admire the way the states in the South, and some in West and North of India are progressing. I was speaking to a Bengali family that lives in Chennai for the last two years. This family has lived in over five states across the country for about two years in each of them, and has widely traveled. The lady of the family had this to say: "I feel safest in Chennai, because it is such a city that has nearly 100% eradicated eve teasing. And look at the necks of the women here, and the gold they carry. It is a clear sign of feeling safety." It does not mean no theft or robbery takes place in the state. It is the sense of confidence and protection that the citizens enjoy.

On 4 Jan 2010 I was traveling from the temple city of Madurai, where my sister lives, to Chennai. It was in a government run bus that leaves the city bus stand at 20.35 hours. I had booked the ticket on the previous day. (You can book the ticket on line as well.) It was an air-conditioned bus with semi-sleeper seats, video facility, electrical points for charging your cell phones, and providing a shawl to each passenger who wished to have one for the night! Besides all that, I woke up at least three times from the comfortable sleep I was having in the bus...not because of the jerks... But because of the sudden feeling that the bus had stopped! Hi, it was actually running so smooth that it gave an impression of standing still. Other than just a bit of humming sound of the engine, giving you a feeling of being in a plane, it was more than comfortable to say the least.

How is it that the governments here can maintain their roads and the buses so well, whereas in West Bengal we are satisfied with the minimum, and end up having bumpy roads and noisy buses that shake differently from the front to the back. How is it that the governments manage here the severe water crisis so well, by providing water only for two hours a day, whereas with so much of abundance of water, we in West Bengal, can not reach water even to large villages and small towns.

The governments must wake up!

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