(Translation of ROTI or SWARAJ)
“If we ask a 100 villagers whether they want food security first or self-governance, what do you think would be their response?” my friend puts up this question during a conversation on Self Governance.
I conceded, “food was the obvious choice”. But then I reframed the question. Let the villagers be explained, “there is a certain amount and the two options are - either to allow the government to purchase food and distribute it, or directly give you the money and the independence to purchase food for yourself. And not just food, but with the money you can arrange for whichever other facilities you require.” The obvious choice this time is the latter. And this precisely is Swaraj, the Self-governance.
Independence of the people is not possible until schemes continue to make them dependent and a beggar for their rights. But along with my friend, many others feel, including the well intentioned intelligentsia and civil society, that schemes are necessary. And if only all the schemes in our country would function well, we would be fine. But inherent in the schemes are the opportunities of siphoning considering the magnitude of logistics. Schemes, in the garb of feeding the poor, actually feed the sharks, pet of politicians. Besides, the schemes result in enslaving of the common man. As clearly the government is the only giver, there is no other option but to beg, from whether politicians or the bureaucracy.
Now again my friend retorted, “if there is a fire, then what is the need of the hour, to dowse it or install a fire fighting mechanism?” By fire he indicated the problems afflicting us today- poverty and hunger to which the schemes cater. If a scheme helps a square meal reach the plates of the impoverished, it is doing its job, and rather well. But as I see it, if there has been fire for the past 60 years, persistent, growing, then what is the solution. Dowsing it, then, is important but it’s just for temporary safety. It is necessary to ensure that fire doesn’t recur.
In the last 60 years, we have had a scheme for everything and anything. There exist schemes for students, for women, for infants, for senior citizens, for poor, for very poor and so on. But the situation remains as is, or worsened.
Money, kept for these schemes, has reached to the pockets and schemes continue to exist, only and only, for the corrupt. Starting from top politicians to the local goons everybody has enjoyed these schemes. This money has empowered local mafias and goons to reach Assemblies and Parliament and becoming ministers as well. It’s time we rethink on our passion about schemes in the name of poors.