Home > Opinion > An idea whose time has gone

An idea whose time has gone

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Manish Sharma

India has changed a lot in recent times, much faster than we could have imagined. Things that were a part of our daily lives till a decade back have become obsolete today. Not only that, even their memories too have faded away. TV antennas adoring roof-tops, an office typewriter, the big bulky MTNL phone, or a Murphy transistor glued to every year during a cricket match; I bet the population that frequently uses the Net these days and form the majority at social networking sites would not even relate to what I am writing. But that’s understandable; those things were meant to become redundant with the advent of technology. 

However, when it comes to government the same swiftness is missing in its approach. It seems that those palatial-bhavans (buildings) that housed our esteemed legislatures prevent any fresh thought or idea to sneak in. I don’t know why age-old conventions that made sense in a different era are still being pursued with a missionary zeal. Here is a list of three things that could easily be done away with for the convenience of not only the common man but also for the government.

India International Trade Fair: Yeah IITF or just plain ‘Trade Fair’, as it is referred by the masses, tops the list. Now, when India was a closed economy, it made a sense to organize an event that brought international-level business person to deliberate business prospects with Indian counterparts. However, today when the charm of imported/smuggled goods from Dubai/America has become nostalgia and the internet has revolutionized the trade world; it is only fair to expect the government should stops such ‘Fairs’.

Rail Budget: This is another bogey of the British Raj that is being carried on despite losing its track. Now what is the need to provide an hour of fame to the Rail Minister to indulge in nothing but political grandstanding? If it is for the government officials, then they are supposed to do their duty with or without the minister’s speech. If it is for the common man, then in today’s age of satellite TV a simple press conference would do the needful. The lives of people are not hanging on fare revisions, and the new train services that are usually announced take years to get functional. However, considering the fact that it takes the government more than 50 years to change the timing of the Budget presentation from 5’o’clock in the evening to 11’o’clock in the morning, the yawning Rail Budget speeches will be a part of the Parliament for the next 50 years at least.

*Pic Source: Tribune India

Beating Retreat:

This is the annual colorful military musical extravaganza that happens two days after the Republic Day parade. The event that symbolizes the returning of troops to their barracks is again the legacy of British rule. With due respect to our military forces, the ceremony should be held without a doubt. However, with rapid urbanization it causes a lot of inconvenience for three full working days, almost always to the citizens. May be, it could have been accommodated during the same evening. I hope it is not cast  in stone that the event should be held exactly three days after the event.

  1. Amit Gupta
    November 24, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I think it is essential to raise issues such as these – besides being a reflection of progressivist attitude it is a sign of ones ability to reason! I am reminded of the famous case wherein lawyers in India were given the liberty to shed their uniform which was a colonial bequest! It was almost suffocating to wear the old uniform which was least conducive to the Indian climate -it was actually a straight pick from the UK where temperatures hover around single digits!

    I am however not sure if all traditions need a re look or need to be scrapped. The problem with traditions is that since they have been handed down by generations of people, the rational bases get eroded and moreover mostly traditions or traditional ceremonies are not about logic or rationale but about experience – anyone who has been a part of the beating retreat would know. Even the trade fair for all its pitfalls evokes fond memories and recollections for most people..

    I am not sure if we have a definite answer to this debate but there is certainly a need to have one!

  2. sharif
    November 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    will history beat its retreat when it comes to government?

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