I used to worry about the ability of the younger generation to take responsibility. Even chiding my children occasionally, to the utter lack of amusement on my wife’s part, leading to more nights on the living-room couch.
But recent events have proved me wrong. Once again.
It seems that while I was busy worrying and chiding my children, and sleeping on the living-room couch, organisations that stand up and take responsibility have been growing and prospering, as I discovered from a friend’s recent post.
They even have a name.
They are called political parties. And governments. And they mostly do it (take responsibility) on other people’s money. And one of the key responsibilities of governments, as I have learned, is to take responsibility for what they have either done or not done, or what others have done or not done.
Were it not for the full page adverts in major national dailies, purchased with my money of course, I would not have known how responsible this government is.
For instance, I would not have known that the present government, that came to power three years back, is responsible for the unprecedented success of the space programme that has delivered unprecedented successes many times since its inception over sixty years back. Foolishly, I had assumed that it was the vision of the founding fathers that had created the space programme.
I would not have known that the present government is responsible for the surgical strikes that not only served as a strong warning to terrorists and resulted in spectacular lack of success on the Kashmir issue, but also introduced a new term to the vocabulary of most Indians. How many previous governments can rightfully claim to have expanded the common man’s vocabulary?
I would not have known that the present government is responsible for providing universal access to banking services. Not drinking water, not grid-supplied power, but banking services.
Even state governments have come to the party.
Kerala has claimed full responsibility for introducing the Fat Tax. Just imagine!
Chhattisgarh has claimed full responsibility for electrification of 98% villages. Without any responsibility for supplying power.
Bengal has claimed full responsibility for marching forward in its endeavour to make the vision of a golden Bengal come true. Not green. Not white. Not silver. Golden.
Each claiming its share of responsibility with its own paid advert in national dailies.
Even though we found out why Kattappa killed Bahubali, before the government could claim any responsibility for it, could it be possible that we have found an answer to some of the most enduring mysteries of the world?
In the seventies, a number of ships and planes are said to have vanished in the Bermuda Triangle. Could this government be responsible?
Would my childhood friend, who was disconsolate after losing his pet pooch when we were both children, get closure after all these years? Can we safely conclude that this government was responsible?
Quite a handful already, isn’t it?
But, as usual, the common man is never satisfied. He wants more. He has started expecting the government to take responsibility for even real day-to-day problems.
He now expects the government to take responsibility for the poor state of roads in Gurgaon.
He expects the government to take responsibility for the precipitous drop in water levels in rivers, ponds and lakes across the country?
He expects the government to take responsibility for the security of women.
Is that fair? After all, how much can a government do? Ourtax money can only buy so much advertising space.
But the government is game. To take on more responsibility.
Even though it expresses inability to take responsibility for real day-to-day issues, it has offered to take responsibility for having brought down the Ganga and other perennial rivers from their glacial abode in the Himalayans.
It has offered to take responsibility for designing and commissioning the annual system of monsoon rains.
It has offered to take responsibility for inventing the game of cricket and Bollywood.
It has even offered to take responsibility for the first man to be sent into space sent by Russia and for Chelsea Football Club winning the latest edition of the English Premier League football.
Can you ask for more?
With the government poised to take on so much more responsibility, the responsible common man can continue to provide proof of his nationalism on WhatsApp?