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Understandable....



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Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
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Dr Sanjeev Sabhlok's  agony is understandable, which we all share. More
than
contempt for the state of affairs, his list speaks of our frustration
about
our  not being able to bring about a tangible change. We all hope that
all
the present decay is only a part of our evolution and not the symptoms
of a
permanent degeneration. We at IPI and IRI and other like minded people
are
the levers, putting the derailed nation back on track.

with lots of hope,
Prasad Boddupalli.

----- Original Message -----
From: Kulshreshta, Bhuwan <Bhuwan.Kulshreshta@usa.xerox.com>
To: <debate@indiapolicy.org>
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 1999 10:59 PM
Subject: RE: A small list


> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!

> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dear Dr. Sanjeev
>
> I think you would be far better off living in the US. Why frustrate
> yourself
> and all of us with your unending litany of woes in the garbage can of
> the
> world -- INDIA.
>
> Get out and leave the poor slobbering idiots run the country to the
> ground.
>
> Regards,
>
> Bhuwan
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dr. Sanjeev Sabhlok [mailto:sabhlok@yahoo.com]
> Sent: Sunday, October 24, 1999 7:00 PM
> To: debate@indiapolicy.org
> Subject: A small list
>
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!

> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Life in India is very trying. It taxes one's
> enthusiasm, stresses the mind and body in many ways,
> and at the end of it, one is very likely to end up
> with a sense of frustration, apathy and revulsion at
> ourselves as impotent human beings ("God, only you can
> save us from this mess! All one billion of us taken
> together are utterly incapable of doing anything but
> mess up things"). The average citizen is in a state of
> mind very far from the state required to do a logical
> analysis of our state of affairs. When even the basics
> of life cannot be catered to, when the grime and dust
> and irritation of daily living hammers down the
> optimism of each citizen, then what can we expect out
> of this immense population?
>
> Perhaps it will be a good idea for us on India Policy
> to list some of the common irritants. So here is a
> beginning. Having freshly returned from a much more
> 'smooth' system, these points are perhaps more acutely
> felt and observed by me, but I am sure that all of us
> have many such things to report. The problem is that
> just as the human nose gets used to obnoxious stinks
> very soon, so does a human being get used to these
> irritants very soon after which these become 'part of
> life,' and anyone mentioning them is considered 'out
> of touch with reality' and 'having unreasonable
> standards.' The list I am preparing below is grossly
> inadequate, making a tentative beginning. Thousands of
> other irritants are left out, as a casual perusal of
> the list will show. The list needs to be consolidated
> by all of us and it can be placed in one part of the
> IPI web page. Later, we can classify these, and even
> bring to debate the appropriate policy which might
> help get rid of some of the irritants. This list is of
> course in no particular order. So here goes:
>
> *       Garbage is thrown and piled up by people on the
> roadside since there is no bin provided  or the bins
> are broken themselves (just come to my house to see a
> huge garbage heap outside my backyard!).
>
> *       People urinate all over the place leading to
> obnoxious smells since we do not know how to run
> public urinals (Sulabh Sauchalayas, where are you?).
>
> *       The notes supplied by banks are put into packs of
> 100 each by use of 4 huge rusted staples pierced
> through the bunch, which not only take superhuman
> strength to open, but require big screwdrivers and
> other tools to take apart, thus tearing up the notes
> in the process. Bankers cause damage to the notes they
> are supposed to preserve!
>
> *       Banks supply you Rs.500 notes which are then not
> accepted in the market, and indeed are not accepted by
> banks themselves (so leading to one more personal trip
> to senior officials of the bank! The last one was when
> the teller would not start transacting till well
> beyond 10:30 am. India is one long line, where
> everyone waits for everything on earth, including
> making payment! For getting your money, you have to
> wait, of course. We dislike smoothness in life and
> will not provide ATMs. We would much rather go on
> strike against computerization)
>
> *       The telephones either don't work at all, or possess
> massive static and noise, or dial up wrong numbers, or
> receive wrong numbers (I get about 4 wrong numbers to
> each correct one), or you can't hear the party who is
> calling you, or you hear your own echo! Miraculous is
> the ability of our telephone department to mess up a
> simple gadget called a telephone which can be
> mass-produced in Timbuctoo or Afghanistan if needed.
>
> *       To get the internet, due to the government monopoly
> over the system, there is scarcity of supply of dialup
> ports, leading to a long waiting list for provision of
> the connection, which you overcome by pressurizing the
> GM Telephones, and thereafter you fill out a long
> form, wait for a demand note to be sent to you, submit
> money in a different office located in a distant
> building (before 12:30 am else their counter closes!),
> and then wait endlessly for the internet exchange to
> inform you about your account being activated. After
> that (and this is based on the experience of my
> friends) you dial up a series of different numbers,
> upto 80 times and whenever you are connected, you get
> disconnected in a short while. And as a bonus for
> being a loyal Indian, you pay at rates much higher
> than people 50 times richer, pay in USA. And you see
> huge massive buildings and hundreds of staff belonging
> to the great DOT, feeding less than a few thousand
> subscribers. Communication in India is a luxury. Long
> live industrialization!
>
> *       Schools - charging Rs. 500 per month, and providing
> no facilities worth the name, prescribe books produced
> by NCERT or whatever, which are not available in the
> market, or if available, are illegible, with pages
> missing and the reverse side's print impinging
> through. You hunt - unsuccessfully - in three cities
> and in corners of many remote streets in order to add
> to the collection of books your child is supposed to
> read. In the end you photocopy entire books.
>
> *       It is still not customary to use computers in the
> government, leading to unending problems of
> organization and communication. One short draft letter
> takes two days with many corrections and re-typings,
> costing well over Rs. 1500/- in labor costs of the
> stenos and officers. And e-mail is not used, of
> course, adding hundreds of rupees and many days to the
> delivery cost of that letter.
>
> *       The city water supply - a scarce commodity since it
> requires a water purification plant - is made scarcer
> by poor workmanship leading to leaking pipes, badly
> placed pipes which are broken into by the public at
> large, no supervision, etc. Roughly 30% of the water
> is wasted by the supply organization and its
> distribution system itself. Another 10% is wasted by
> houseowners who are unable to purchase tanks which do
> not leak.
>
> *       Primitive hand tools are used instead of accurate
> and sophisticated power tools, leading to all kinds of
> misalignments in anything requiring drilling a screw.
> Our technicians would not be qualified to dig a 2 inch
> hole in sand, anywhere else in the world.
>
> *       Everybody who is 'official' has given up on the
> possibility of devising methods of improving the
> traffic congestion that we have "achieved" at the
> lowest levels of urbanization in the world. Each
> 'manager' of public services blames someone else for
> the problems at hand and bides his or her time having
> passed the buck.
>
> *       There are virtually no pedestrian crossings and
> those that exist are unusable. Crossing roads is a
> hazard which takes a heavy toll on human life and
> limb.
>
> *       Government hospitals do not have any equipment that
> works. There are not even funds for tubelights.
> Instead, you are asked by the government physicians to
> come to their private clinics in the evening where the
> better, or at least, functional machines are kept.
>
> *       Virtually no ATMs exist - at least not in the
> North-east. Therefore, if you somehow miss drawing
> cash from banks before a series of holidays, you are
> stranded without cash and have to borrow from others
> to survive the holidays.
>
> *       There is inadequate supply of coinage, a basic
> function of the government, leading to situations
> where shopkeepers turn down purchases made by you if
> you do not furnish exact change. I have not been able
> to buy biscuits worth Rs.12 because I did not have
> change. And the less said about our leprous Rs.2 and
> Rs.5 notes, the better.
>
> *       Shoelaces are not available in "Bata" shops or
> regular shoe shops since 'there is no longer any
> supply,' and you make do with laces which are far too
> short for your shoes, by leaving huge gaps in the
> lace-up.
>
> *       Everything is scarce. You hunt and you hunt. You
> make special lists of shops which might keep a
> telephone or electrical socket of reasonable quality,
> power cord, tennis ball, good stationary, and so on.
> No one-stop shopping here. You peck from shop to shop,
> collecting one item after the other. And of course you
> cannot order over phone, nor expect mail delivery of
> goods. More often, you get a poor substitute or simply
> give up.
>
> *       You come back with massive globs of mud and other
> rubbish on your shoes after shopping for vegetables.
> How many times do you have to wash shoes?
>
> *       Your car's door lock is of such poor quality that it
> does not open. You hammer it and then it yields. No
> one seems to know how to produce anything of quality -
> whether the private or the public sector.
>
> *       Your car's ignition key slips out and falls down on
> the floor mat as you wait on a slope; and of course
> the car stalls and stops. Being a stick shift as there
> are no automatics in India, it requires unbelievable
> dexterity to somehow restart it and move ahead again
> without causing a serious accident.  Your car's parts
> such as screws and wires come out at all odd time on
> journeys of merely 100 km, brakes fail regularly
> (brake oil leaks out mysteriously), and it is a sheer
> miracle that you still have a life-expectancy above
> 30.
> *       Footpaths are designed to snag and break the legs of
> the pedestrians - particularly inexperienced children.
>
>
> *       You have no hope of sitting on a clean seat in the
> cinema hall, so you do not go to cinema anymore.
>
> *       You go to a 'decent' restaurant, and a cockroach
> comes and sits next to your plate. You have decided to
> eat 'Maggie' noodles instead of going out.
>
> *       You bargain for milk not mixed with water with your
> milkman by offering him a much higher than 'market'
> rate.
>
> *       Your transporter charges the highest rate for
> loading your household goods and then you find that
> your best teak furniture has been virtually destroyed
> in the journey across the country, and you are left
> high and dry with major losses in your hand, and no
> compensating mechanism.
>
> *       Electric power is of such a bad quality that you pay
> more than your entire annual electricity bill in
> purchasing stabilizers and UPSs for your equipment.
> And so many emergency lights, electric torches, and
> even inverters and generators.
>
> *       Getting kerosene and gas to run your kitchen are
> tasks of such immense magnitude that the travails in
> securing these are best left unrecorded. The amount of
> paperwork and ridiculous procedures that we follow are
> so mindboggling that it is a miracle that so many
> people still use these modern 'facilities' instead of
> using coal and wood to cook food. And of course our
> kerosene stoves do not work properly, causing the food
> cooked on the stove to reek of kerosene. And rubber
> pipes of the gas stoves leak gas. You have to be on
> the alert lest your house gets burnt down by these
> 'facilities.'
>
> *       Trucks and buses made by TATA, BATA or ZATA - our
> 'glorious private companies' - they are all the same -
> completely sheltered from competition and good
> technology - exude such dark fumes that you choke and
> get nauseated while passing hundreds of such polluters
> in the 3-hour climb up the hills.
>
> *       Tens of uncouth wild dogs run amok on streets
> forcing you to buy a walking stick for your morning
> walk.
>
> *       Large modern hotels exist without parking lots, and
> reportedly without fire protection measures.
>
> *       A road trip across the country is carefully planned
> to dodge thugs (mostly Police and tax officials at the
> hundreds of checkgates we have in our 'free' country).
> You make elaborate plans to stuff your truck with
> official documents else the trip will cost thousands
> of rupees more as greedy hands stretch out at each
> gate. Those paid to protect us are our worst
> tormenters. I would never like to be a transporter in
> this 'free' country.
>
> *       Virtually every fourth car or jeep (now Armada,
> Gypsy) you see has a red light for no rhyme or reason.
> And every 2nd car has a dark tinted glass. All laws on
> this subject are fully violated.
> *       Only socialistic political parties are accepted in
> India (Section 29A(5) of the ROP Act, 1951). So we
> have no scope of seeing any political group advocating
> economic freedom in India, by default. USSR is dead.
> Long live Socialist India. We are christened as
> socialists the moment we are born.
>
> Well, despite my hands and arms still paining
> considerably (though much lesser than before) and numb
> each morning from incurable CTS and RSI, I have typed
> these thoughts, and will try to send this to IPI
> somehow from somewhere till I get my own internet
> connection, someday ...
>
> Please do try to add to this list so that we may
> compile these irritants, classify them, and finally,
> try to do something about them. The torture and
> frustration that we go through on a daily basis in
> India is not really necessary, I believe. But first
> let us begin by recording the daily torture involved
> in being an Indian. And I have not even come close to
> the level of frustration which is faced by the poor of
> India on a daily basis. Their frustration and apathy
> must be 100% complete.
>
> In all these cases, the underlying cause is bad
> policy. The trick is to collect these events and to
> explore these with an analytical mind, with the goal
> of framing good policy.
>
> Note: One thing I thought I'd mention to avoid any
> sense of misunderstanding here. This is not a litany
> of grievances against anyone. I still find most
> Indians retaining a basic sense of humour and able to
> enjoy the small things of life. A movie song or a
> poem, a bit of beauty in the environment: these still
> evoke a sense of satisfaction. Many years ago I wrote:
> "The best that a man can do is to look at a pebble and
> to admire its various colours in the reflection of the
> sun." There is still much to enjoy here. Look at India
> with half closed eyes and it is still beautiful. It is
> also useful to have myopic eye-sight.
>
> SS



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