Progress invisible!

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Not a day passes off without some or the other minister claiming that “the state is progressing by leaps and bounds owing to the massive funds pumped in by the central government.” Ever-grateful as the minister is, and will always remain, for the Centre may have ensured his personal and that of his colleagues’ progress and development ‘by leaps and bounds’. But when these claims are bombarded at the common people, one could easily shrug them off with a sarcastic laugh if only such statements were not an insult of the popular intellect. How absurd it is for the ministers and MLAs and other government functionaries to parrot self-praise for their so-called “historic initiatives” when the same are nowhere visible on the ground? And as if it was not enough, they want the people also to sing praises for the governments here and in New Delhi for their benevolence and magnanimity when the ordinary people are hard at understanding and locating the real reasons for the gratitude that if sought from them.

Centre may have opened its coffers on Kashmir, which is what ministers, particularly those of the BJP want us to believe, but as for the ordinary people are concerned, they have not seen this “generosity” changing their life situations or delivering them even from their mundane hardships. If anything has changed here, it is the political fortunes of the political functionaries and all those who they wanted to benefit. When common people are bombarded with huge figures and boastful assertions by the government functionaries, they only feel insulted. And they feel frustrated too for they are not able to comprehend what their ministers and bureaucrats are actually talking about. Since huge sums of money – crores that regularly dot the political speeches of ministers – as well as their promises of public good and welfare and beyond the experience of common masses, ministers’ speeches are no better than verbal garbage for most of the people. And when these ministers and other political figures approach common masses in such moralistic and benevolent way, it is outside the common people’s experience.

People may no doubt attend public meetings and listen to them, even rummage through newspapers to see what their morality/generosity-professing-but-not-practicing political leaders have said, but in reality they simply brush them side, virtually telling themselves: “Ah, the man is nuts, he thinks we all are fools…!”

Not a single day passes without the official press releases informing public about some or the other projects or schemes either already under construction or in the pipe-line. And every scheme and project provides an opportunity to the concerned minister and the government in general to promise moon and stars to the common masses. Ministers take great pride in going for the foundation-laying and inaugural functions, even if it is about commissioning a small band-saw mill or a tube-well, for these accords them chances to boast about huge financial costs of each project and scheme. And then people are told that if it were not for a political party being in power here and in New Delhi all this “progress and development” would not have been possible. In essence it is like saying that if people are provided roads or drinking water, they should be grateful to a particular political dispensation for it. It has become a sort of fashion to tell the people that their needs and their rights mean nothing if it were not for the government’s kindheartedness which makes it possible for them to breathe air and drink water and meet their day-to-day needs!

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