Changes from within

Changes from within

Changes from within

Elections are around the corner. Every newspaper and television channel is in overdrive with election news. Who will run our country? Mudslinging and verbal slugfests, we have seen and heard it all. We are bombarded with these questions. Are we really interested in politics? Isn’t this a game where there are no permanent friends, and enemies?

To most of us, our Parliament functions or their lack, are a laughing stock. Causing a ruckus, flinging fans and breaking flower-pots are a usual sight. Do politicians who promise change abide by their pledge? Most of the time, our answer is  negative.

Finding a good and honest politician is like coming across a four-leaf clover. Haven’t we had enough of corruption? These few lines aren’t really about politics or politicians. It is about us. What role do we play as citizens in making our country a better one? It is time for us to start looking at the little-wrong-we can-right. Can we make a difference in little ways?

Two things that annoy me are corruption and uncleanliness. We would all be happy with a corrupt-free and clean country. Is only the government responsible for corruption today, or are we partly to blame by abetting it? Corruption begins with greed. When we participate willingly or unwillingly in giving or taking a bribe, we join the clan of wrongdoers. By indulging and parting with ‘folding compensations’, we are as guilty as the opposite party.

For too many years we have gone with the flow. Unfortunately, I have been a part of this tarnished system. I confess to ‘greasing palms’ to get my work done in public offices.
Do we all have the same confession to make? Isn’t it time to turn over a new leaf and bring about a change? I know it is a real difficult task, but not an impossible one. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not planning on joining politics but just on doing my bit in being honest.

On the other hand, there are a few honest officers in government offices who don’t abuse their power. They are the ones who flow against the tide. Sadly, they are just a handful and countable. I salute them and pray that they continue to be the voice in the wilderness.

Getting down to the cleanliness issue, we can’t blame only the Municipal authorities for keeping our surroundings unclean. I will tell you why. I have witnessed citizens throwing garbage just two feet away from the dustbins installed by the municipality. They won’t walk those extra steps to throw it ‘in’ the bin. While sweeping the porches, the rubbish is conveniently swept into the gutter nearby. Do we, then, wonder why our gutters get clogged?

While travelling in trains, many passengers throw rubbish under the berth or out of the window. Don’t you feel that keeping the rubbish in a separate bag to discard later is a better idea? I recently chided a coffee-seller in a train for discarding the coffee packet under my seat. It took all the courage in me to tell him to pick it up and throw it inside a dustbin.

He must have thought that I had lost my marbles, but may be, I did make a difference; the difference of telling him. I’m glad that he took it in the right sense.
It is these little deeds that make a difference to the system, of putting one’s foot down in certain circumstances. The change is in our actions of today for a better tomorrow.

Getting down to being a law-abiding citizen, I’m going to vote this time too. If I don’t, I only have myself to blame for not exercising my right to vote and elect the candidate who I feel can make a difference in delivering what he or she promises. Perhaps I will come across that four-leaf clover.

I dream of a clean, poverty-free and corrupt-free country. Though this reality is far away, there is no harm working toward this vision. I’m going to start by being an example to myself. I remember the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

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