Apropos to my various write-ups hammering the political establishment of Punjab, the counterview that has emerged is that the Janta is to be blamed equally for the rot.
Emails, messages, Facebook and Twitter posts constantly point towards that people have not really done anything at their ends to help improve the state. Taking this viewpoint as a very valid premise, I posted on my social media pages the following question - “Ok. Let us list our contributions towards building a better Punjab. I don’t consider alms to religious places as a contribution.”
My Facebook and Twitter handle which usually see hectic activity whenever a politician is damned suddenly went on ‘chup’ mode. So intense was the quiet that even the trollers disappeared temporarily. Whatever responses trickled in, were way off the mark as they were mere suggestions. Even my prompt ‘at least say that I didn’t cross a red light’ didn’t have many takers.
Though the reaction or the lack of it on social media is barely a measure to jump to any conclusion, it corroborating with multiple other voices does become a sort of indicator that Punjab’s citizenry is a serious laggard. That it hardly makes an effort to uphold its institutions, law and order, environment, civic responsibilities and loves to put the blame on the Kurta-Pyjama fellow. That it is self-centred, selfish, concerned only about its own Juggad than the state’s well-being.
Unfortunately, this magic word juggad is only good to a point because the pillars of a healthy state cannot stand on its foundation. Just imagine getting trapped in the system having forgotten your juggad at home? How vulnerable you will become. It’s like a ramp model getting caught amidst the paparazzi without makeup. The point being that, the moment one is in contact with the system, it will give you a hard blow in some form or the other.
Just to give you an example, the accelerator happy bus driver on the road will crush you in spite of your tohr in your village. And even if the 108 number ambulance manages to rush you to the hospital on time, how will you escape the pitiable condition there?
The government’s apathy is only part of the problem. The gravest setback to the system has been inflicted by the citizens themselves, who have never taken their duties seriously. If only the transporter had understood his responsibility and not instructed his driver to violate traffic rules in greed for more passengers, the roads would be safer. Forget the transporter, how many of us reading this column observe traffic rules? Should we only start obeying rules after getting a ticket or should we be following them as a duty?
Now, let me take your mind to the Malwa region of Punjab from where all the top political and influential families hail. In spite of all the power and influence they wield, very few have been able to ward off cancer. This is a classic case of not taking our environment seriously. The farmers by spraying irresponsibly and the dealers by selling spurious chemicals have brought this wrath upon themselves and are now unable to escape from the scourge of cancer. Look around and see your religious organisations, godmen and deras. In their zest to outdo each other, they have ruined every city and highway in the state with their megalomaniac flex boards, langar and bhojan litter. Aren’t they citizens first and godmen later? While we have choked our cities with plastic and Kurkure wrappers, have we ever thought about the air we breathe? Farmers cannot absolve themslves from wheat stubble burning just because the industrialists have polluted Ludhiana.
Before hammering the politician for every ill, we must ask ourselves that are we performing our duties? Because ultimately, we get the government we deserve and not the other way round, Jaisa Raja waisi Praja.
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