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those were the days, my friend!

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If you want things as in the golden days of yore, leave them be in the hands of the government - that is, subscribe to ‘Socialism’.

One may further argue as to why complicate life even to the extent it was during the golden era - why not go back to the caves? Yes, indeed, how romantic an idea!

1) Owning a telephone connection was considered a luxury. You had to apply to the monopoly Telephone department, and wait for years together for your number to come up. And finally, when it did come up, the lineman will pose a problem saying that spare ‘cable pairs’ were unavailable, and that you will have to wait till a new cable is laid. If you take the hint, and pull out a Rs 100/- note, the cable pair will suddenly make its appearance. But, it will be at least another three days and a few more Rs 100/- notes before you get the connection proper. And, with the first rain (actually, even a breeze would do), it will go dead. As a result, you needed to ‘cultivate’ your lineman if you wanted a semblance of connectivity maintained.

As compared to that, in this ‘kali kaala’, you have the AIRTELs and VODAFONEs offering you connections within hours - and, attending to complaints, also within hours. Against a complaint I had once lodged at around 7 PM, I was shocked to find an AIRTEL technician at my door at 8 PM, attending to the job most professionally, and leaving without even waiting for a thank you from me. It was in a way insulting to think that, unlike in the days of yore, he didn’t care a damn for your bakshish. These companies are re-writing the equations between the workers and the sahibs.

2) Well, of course, in the good old days, there was no internet, and you had to find some newspaper or magazine editor to publish your whines, and consequently, the world was spared of them to that extent.

In this ‘kali kaala’, you are burdened with all the whines from various quarters, on top of all the info, all because of the net.

3) It was the age of the Ambassador and Fiat (later called Premier/ Padmini) cars. Every morning, you had to open the bonnet of the car and check the radiator and battery water levels, apart from the air pressure levels in the tyres - brought about a sense of discipline in you, and generally did not allow you to take your car for granted. Even with all that, breakdowns were frequent, and consequently, women rarely ventured to drive around by themselves.

As compared to that, in this ‘kali kaala’, we find even pint-sized women driving around confidently in battle tank sized SUV’s, competing with BMTC buses in pushing the scooterists out of the road. That was essentially a male domain! It hurts my manly ego! What a tragedy!

4) And, of course, the BAJAJ scooters - the favourite dowry item for a government babu bride-groom. One morning, I remember seeing the over mile-long queue in front of Khivraj motors on Kasturba road. I initially thought it was for booking tickets for some cricket match at the adjoining Chinnaswamy stadium. It turned out that it was for booking the latest model of BAJAJ scooter, the process for which was to begin that day - delivery to be made about a year later.

Likewise, you had to know an insider to get a JAWA motorbike released to you out of turn. The only other bike available was the ROYAL ENFILD - BULLET, which most mortals found to be too heavy.

As against that, you just walk into any of the many showrooms, and pick up a bike of your choice, from amongst an array of models available, in just hours. The contribution of this factor to making today’s ‘kali kaala’ has perhaps been the biggest.

5) In the days of yore, if you wanted to go to Bombay (tears well up in my eyes over nostalgia over that name, sigh!!!) in a hurry, you needed to have ‘cultivated’ the Indian Airlines (the monopoly, government-owned, service provider) clerk at the check in counter to push you through, out of turn. And, anyway, it was only the well-heeled who could afford the cost of air travel.

Today, you just sit at home, select from a bargain of offers available on the net, make the payment through your card, print out the ticket, and in a few hours, you are on board the aircraft. So much so, you now have every Amar, Akbar, Antony flying all over, even just for the fun of it, without a care in the world for the contribution they are making to global warming. Indeed, how terrible!!!

6) The traditional Hibiscus flower was in just one deep red colour. Likewise, Bougenvillae was a reddish pink, and many other flowers had their standard colours.

The kali world of today, playing around with plant genetics, has produced these plants flowering in a riot of colours, trampling on age-old traditions without a care - blasphemous indeed!!! That apart, I keep getting nightmares over what fate awaits us all for tinkering around with what God had originally ordained.

7) Drawing your money from the bank was easily a half-day exercise - waiting around in long queues, particularly on Mondays. It provided a great opportunity to mingle amongst the local community.

Today, you just go to the ATM, round the block, and in a matter of minutes, you are loaded. So much so, every one, particularly the youth, is just blowing away money, like there’s no tomorrow, leading to an overall cultural change - all for the worse, of course! God help us!!!

8) Oh yes - the idiot box! No, it has become that only now. Those days the monopoly Doordarshan showed you only virtuous programmes like Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc, apart from ‘Krishi Darshan’ for the valiant ‘kisaan’s’. So, you had no chance of getting corrupted.

Now, with so many channels, particularly the most vulgar American ones like FRIENDS, BAY WATCH, etc, our youth are getting totally corrupted.

9) Also, time was when mornings started off with ‘Venkateswara Suprabhatam’ on the radio, going on to ‘desh bhakti’ songs rendered soulfully by the likes of Lata Mangeshkar (which moved the late Jawaharlal Nehru to tears), and ending the day with aesthetically romantic (usually on failed romances - sob, sob!) numbers by the likes of Madhubala. The culture and traditions were truly protected as long as things were in the hands of the venerated All India Radio.

Now, particularly with the advent of the FM, we are bombarded day-in and day-out with plain noise in the name of music. And, the lyrics, if at all they can be called that, particularly of the imports from that den of vulgarity, the US, are plain blasphemy. On top of it all, the ‘foreign hand’ is inexorably pushing for entry of the FM lot into news broadcast area, which is certain to cause havoc to the country’s unity and integrity.

In the midst of all these, what is noticeable is that there are the following few areas, which have remained unchanged, or changed just marginally.

1) Power supply
2) Water supply
3) Sewage management, & Sanitation
4) Roads & related infrastructure
5) Public bus transport services

And, what is common about all of them is the fact that they are all handled by the government.

Moral of the story then clearly is that if you want things as in the golden days of yore, leave them be in the hands of the government - that is, subscribe to ‘Socialism’.

One may further argue as to why complicate life even to the extent it was during the golden era – why not go back to the caves? Yes, indeed, how romantic an idea!

PS: I had published the above earlier with just a link to the posting in my personal blog - www.muralidharrao.blogspo.... I have since decided instead to publish the full text.

Comments

tsubba's picture

conflicts

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95 users have liked.
supply and demand. you have demand and you come up with better and better modes of satiating that demand. thats fine. lean mean modes. sure as modes of delivery, non-socialistic modes do well. that is a solved problem. in fact, that is such a solved problem that they are now giving undergraduate university degrees in that. what remains is politics. (which is very critical to be tackled) but the thing that i have been grappling with in my head, atleast for the past few days, is the question of whether all this is really sustainable? (i am not the first one, but i am going through this phase myself now and this question is of immense interest to me right now.) lets take telefones. sure everybody has a connection, but what does that mean in real terms? are husbands and wives better couples as a result? are kids better friends to their own buddies forget parents? what really has happenned? only thing i can think of is better governance. once there was only ambassador, now there are p-many brands. to be sure as hell, ambassador would not have ever talked off alternative fuels ever on its own. now there are p-number of companies tomtoming their green credentials - hybrids, alternative fuels and what not. lets say tommorrow there is a breakthrough in research, and a new non-polluting, cheap fuel is discovered. is that necessarily a solution to our problems? these are just some thoughts not entrenched positions. i am willing to be educated.
murali772's picture

debatable matter

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90 users have liked.

Products and services have definitely improved as a result of competition because of the opening up of the economy. As to whether that has led to improvement in the quality of life is a debatable matter. Also, the impact of growth on the environment is a serious concern.

Overall, I would subscribe to the norm put forward by an economist that if growth addresses the three E's (economy, equity, environment) fairly, it should be acceptable.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

The Guardian angel of Socialism

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50 users have liked.
We need to return to the public alternative to privatisation, in which national and local governments continue to develop infrastructure by using public finance for investment, and public-sector organisations to deliver the service. This provides greater flexibility, control, and comparative efficiency – because of reduced transaction costs and contract uncertainty, as well as economies of scale – and the efficiency gains of more democratic accountability.
 
For the full text of the essay, captioned "Privatisation has failed. It must not become official UN policy", by Rosa Pavanelli is the general secretary of the Public Services International trade union federation, in The Guardian, click here
 
The Guardian is perhaps the last bastion holding up Socialism in the world today. From the times of the genuine Socialists of yore like Lal Bahadur Shastri, Gulzari Lal Nanda, EMS Nampoothiripad, LokManya JaiPrakash Narayan, Achyuta Menon, etc, we have now come down to plain pseudo's, who use it only for getting votes, even while knowing fully well that it's not workable. I'll put even Arvind Kejriwal in this category.
 
As compared to that, even the likes of Prof Amartya Sen, and Prof Yogendra Yadav, whom I'll give the benefit of doubt as still believing in Socialism (which actually doesn't say much for them), seem kind of wanting to live down the label, going by what transpired in Prof Sen's recent walk-the-talk with Shekhar Gupta, and Prof Yadav's response (accessible here) when Rajdeep Sardesai called him a Lohiaite in addition. 
 
But, Arvind Kejriwal's recent leading of the AAP to its massive victory in Delhi shows clearly that people can still be fooled into believing that it can work, or rather that decades of Nehruvian Socialism has made people so lazy that they still expect the state to provide them everything, and largely for free. 
 
In contrast, Bangladesh's Muhammad Yunus (the Nobel Laureate and Grameen Bank founder)'s approach is reflected in his statement -  "We should start thinking beyond employment, beyond the idea that people should be job seekers. I believe that each human being is an entrepreneur, that we should be job makers. Creativity can come only from people; not the government" - check here for the full text of the report in the Mumbai Mirror. Though this clearly is the route for India too, our vote bank politics unfortunately is repeatedly taking us down the path of Socialistic povertarianism. 
 
Muralidhar Rao

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