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The sense of being cheated

Honesty in dealings has become hard to find, and values have disappeared

Last year my wife purchased two chiming clocks. The promise was that they would ring indicating each hour. After some months, both clocks started ringing ahead of time. That is to say, it will ring eight when it was only five. She took both back to the dealer. He claimed that he had corrected the ringing on both the clocks. But after some days one clock continued to ring correctly and the other ahead of time. Disgusted, she silenced the wrongly ringing clock and kept it in the kitchen, and the other one in its place in the living room. The price of the clock was about Rs. 700 each.

At another point last year I purchased a fancy table-top timepiece with a wake-up alarm feature for nearly Rs. 300. Now it does not function at all in spite of my changing the battery cell.

In 1984 it was said that a 30-metre-wide road was about to come up caressing our ancestral house in central Kerala. It would ease the transportation of raw materials to the nearby paper mill without affecting traffic on the Main Central Road. After the land acquisition a majority of the land-owners got the money in 2012. But even in 2017 the road remains incomplete! The road has changed its name and purpose during these 33 years. Now it is the Pattithanam-Ayarkunnam Bypass.

In 1917, through the Bolshevik Revolution the communist party in Russia tried to establish a class-less society of people: it promised social equality for all with abundance of food, shelter and work. But Josef Stalin built the USSR with an iron hand. His government and those that followed still created a ‘class-full’ society there, the only difference being that the classes are the rulers and the ruled. After 1991 the USSR broke up, resulting in the formation of countries such as Estonia and Georgia.

The situation in China is no different. Near Shanghai a privately owned industrial hub manufactures goods under stringent quality control for the purpose of export… to the United States.

We in India were promised Ram Rajya after independence in 1947 from the British. But even after nearly 70 years we still take ‘pride’ in saying that more than 50% of our population is below the poverty line, and that cities have become 100% free of public defecation. There is a huge gap in the income of the haves and the have-nots. Politicians, irrespective of their brand and colour, move around in expensive cars, live in palatial bungalows and possess a lot of money, evidently disproportionate to their declared sources of income.

Almost every day in parts of India we read about street dogs even killing passers-by. But still some people say they should be protected. We ourselves leave our old pet dogs on the streets. We throw remnants of food on to the road to keep our houses clean. Why should there be any dog without an owner in India?

Every day we read about rapes (disgusting indeed, even infants of two years) thefts, looting, murder and so on.

Now some say nationalism need not be created; it will come of its own. If so, why should we teach our children to tell the truth, love others, respect elders and so on? WE should assume that these qualities also they will pick up of their own!

Some people are now clamouring for streamlining election-funding. All political parties aim for power through the ballot. The purpose of power is to govern the people, provide them with food and shelter and provide an image of good governance. If that is so, why election funding at all? As we all know, election funds provide one source of political corruption and bureaucratic favouritism. As such the government should spend only for nomination charges of all candidates. No candidate should spend even a rupee by himself or herself. His or her past deeds and character should fetch the votes.

Look at ourselves, the elders. We spit on the roads, even defecate in public. We throw our garbage into empty yards in the neighbourhood. When will we change? When will we change our state of mind? When will we start loving each other rather than hating? When will we practise what we talk? The sooner the better. Else, our children will curse us for what we do now.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 2:30:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-sense-of-being-cheated/article18306968.ece

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