As swine flu takes 25th victim in Pune, disease, frustration and corruption daubs dark molasses across India; Shabana Shaikh who succumbed to the deadly virus last week in the government-run Sassoon Hospital was not the only one dying helpless within the limping cast of Incredible India.
This is also the week in which Rajisthan declared 26 out of its 33 districts scarcity-hit. A record score of malnourished children residing in India and a sharply rising trend of suicide in the countryside speaks of the long drawn neglect on part of the government in providing for the shortcomings of the people and also explains for the rising despair and widespread frustration taking root in the society.
That being said for the natural calamities, fear hangs low in the neighborhoods of Orissa, Jharkand, Bihar, West Bengal and Chattisgarh leaving the locals panic-stricken and sabotaged as a result of the recent 48 hour Bandhh (shut-down protest) imposed by the Maoists that left Jharkand Police rattled, their futility exposed.
In Patna Maoists blew up two Mobile towers in Gaya district using 400 ultra detonated dynamites while also setting ablaze four vehicles at Talhautu in Rohtas district of Bihar during Tuesday, which was the second day of their 48 hour shut down in protest against detention of two of their top leaders.
Earlier on Monday night more than 70 Maoist tore through Orissa blowing up Roxi Railway Station with landmines and abducted the station master along with two other railway employees. They also attacked Bhalulata Station situated at a distance of 35 km from Roxi setting ablaze eight dumpers outside the station due to which at least three helpers were injured when the diesel tank of one of the dumpers burst. During all this Jharkand Police remained enthralled with some cops melting away and some acquiescing to the demands made by the Maoists. The strife continued unabated until the Police produced the two demanded men.
Today the neighborhood of Orissa smelling fowl and lifeless is oddly comparable to the streets of Pune fraught with the lethal H1N1 scare. Rising insecurity in India owing to religious and political extremism and intolerance; deeply rooted corruption and crime permeating all the major government functionaries and finally a futile police force leaves us with no place to turn and seek hope and salvation.
India wonders what to fear most, a deadly virus or the rampant Maoists that haunt the neighborhoods. Fear and frustration is at large throughout the country as crime and corruption crawl up the headlines of morning dailies.
Dr. Singh's superficial stress on Indian image building appears to melt down under the societal, political and natural calamities India is now facing. With that the religious extremism and political intolerance evident from the Jaswant Singh's expulsion all these factors push common man further into the clutches of frustration.
This week the true face of India has been generously exposed to the world, doing away with all flimsy myth-making meticulously tailed down by the government as the artificial image-building policy reaches its Young's Modulus.
Corruption charges against high officials of the Indian Army, PSUs, Income Tax, Doordarshan, Delhi Jal Board, CISF and several other government organizations in Delhi, MP, UP, Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Nagaland and Karnataka's booked for high-profile corruption cases (along with Union Minister, Virbhadra Singh) depicts a never ending matinee for us sorry citizens locked up in a cinema of inescapable gloom.
All these developments embarrass Indians within and outside India as the Incredible India's bubble breaks on the horizon dispelling a messy curd of problems that its poverty-stricken, rural, illiterate, underprivileged and mal-nutritioned peoples face.
The recent corruption charges against the Indian Army, of bungling in the purchase of barbed wire for fencing along India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir adds another dint to the image of the Indian Army that is already haggling with Shopian disgrace.
Central Bureau of Investigation that regularly features India in the list of most corrupt countries recently registered 69 'high-profile' cases against the government functionaries in a matter of days and the list is still in process.
There is no way pleasant for the common Indian man to turn and seek salvation in the Incredible India of its pretentious politicians painstakingly painting up the face of forlorn. This time around even Ganesh festival lacks its character and festivity as the timid citizens remain homebound avoiding public places for the fear of gods and men.