A birthday is the most suitable day of the year for people to draw up a balance sheet of what they hoped to achieve during the past year and what they actually did. What is true of the people is equally true of nations. This past August 15 we celebrated the 65th Anniversary of our independence. The only fair verdict I can think of is we did well; we would have done better.
But for a little more than a year when Mrs Gandhi imposed emergency rule and put all the leaders of the Opposition in jail, we remained a democracy. I say that despite having supported the Emergency and its principal imposer, Sanjay Gandhi, I share his impatience with the slow pace of progress and echo the motto he coined, Kaam Zyada, Baaten Kam - more work, less talk. He got things done. If not for the emergency powers being misused by members of his wife's family and vastly exaggerated reports of his imposing family planning norms, the emergency would have speeded up development programmes.
Being a democracy our leaders feel we have done better than our neighbours - Pakistan, Bangladesh Burma and Sri Lanka. But everyone agrees Communist China has done much better than us. They have controlled growth of population, introduced fast trains which go almost at the speed of aeroplanes and launched self-made air-craft carriers. The only explanation for their doing a lot better than us is that they work a lot more than us.
It is time to cut down the number of holidays we take and increase our working hours. We must also drastically reduce the number of people who wear saffron clothes and call themselves Sadhus. In fact, they are parasites who live on working peoples' earnings.
On the whole the picture is not very gloomy. The present UPA government is in no danger of being out-voted in the near future. Also, it has a new generation of leaders coming up which other parties do not have.
Of the emerging young leaders the most outstanding is Rahul Gandhi. Though the English-educated elite have reservations about dynastic rule, the common villager (Gaon Vasi) regards this as a plus point in Rahul Gandhi's favour.
He is young, handsome and courageous. He has stormed into the bastions of the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and Mayavati's constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. He measures his words before uttering them.
No other party has a young leader of his calibre. If the Congress increases its representation in Vidhan Sabhas or in the parliament, credit should go to him.
Our Cricket Heroes
On hard, dry, lifeless tracks
Our batsmen their willows smack
Cut, chop, drive, hook, pull and punch
Not till 600 + are they done.
I pity the poor old cricket ball.
On grassy, bouncy, swinging strips
Alas! Their ability dips
Their leaden bodies and clay feet
Can't prevent ball and stumps meet.
The team's score like a telephone number
In search of glory
They create a world record
20 overs for an entire innings!
Don't blame the coach
He's not playing on the field.
Who is to blame?
No one. For you see
It's a game of uncertainty.
(Contributed by Nicholas Koch, Delhi)
A group of young women decided to arrange for a camp with their mothers-in-law to hopefully get to know and understand each other better since relations between them were very sour.
Two buses were hired, one for the mothers-in-law and the other for the daughters-in-law. Unfortunately, the bus the mothers-in-law were traveling in was involved in an accident and all the passengers died on the spot.
The daughters-in-law (women being women) shed a few tears but they were all puzzled by one woman who wailed uncontrollably for what they perceived to be her great personal loss.
Her friend asked her, "Forgive me for asking, but why are you crying so hard? I didn't realise you were so close to your mother-in-law?" to which she replied: "No we are not close at all, she missed the bus!"
(Contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)