Looking back at the personal level, I feel that we have over the years progressed well. Hark back to sixties, the College of Military Engineering parking lot looked a lot better with our cycles, neatly parked as we enjoyed the movies in the open air theater. Today we see our cars crowding the lot at Rajendrasinhji Institute as we enjoy the movies in its open air theater. The cycles to say the least are used by our man Friday to fetch household goods! Even our men have two wheeler parked in front of their quarters. Yes, we have all benefited from the various reforms and their fallout. The village has a fewer thatched houses (I have seen quite a few in the interior mainland China), more children go to school better dressed and are taught more caring. My nieces residing in my ancestral village Kichaucha Sharif studying in 6th and 8th classes scored 97% and 99% in their final exams respectively. Neither I nor my children, who were educated in Bishop Cottons, Simla, could ever come anywhere near although we are considered the brighter members of the family!

But, yes there is a but! Statistics have a different tale, some garbled and some factual. The bottom line remains that inequalities have risen. The urban middle class has risen and so have the urban ghettos and slums. The big farmers in the rural areas are thriving while the marginal and the small farmers yet depend on the creditors and the vagaries of the weather. Schemes after schemes are propounded and are initiated and yet their benefit is lost in the web of deceit, corruption, nepotism, and so on. The beneficiaries are those who remain in the chain of authority and implementation only a trickle passes to the proposed recipients. The road to progress has ever since been bedeviled and blocked by the honorable members of our society who have filled their pockets and amassed wealth at the expense of others. The prevalent systems allow and encourage them in their nefarious ventures.

My relatives, friends and well wishers worry about my visits and prolonged sojourns in the USA. Their concerns are valid but my reasoning does require a hearing. I love my country but I enjoy staying in USA. Foremost is the pleasure of spending wonderful time with the loving sons and daughter and their spouses and the grandchildren, whose visible growth and company very much compensates for that I missed out with my children in their formative years. The reason we all know is our professional commitments. Besides the pollution less air and sound, the natural greenery, and so on, the mute issue remains is that unlike in our country, in USA the systems are in place and they work. I do not have to curse all along the way as in Hyderabad, when driving, I do not have to watch my steps for dog or human litter when walking on a street, I stand quietly in a Queue waiting my turn knowing that the counter  is not surrounded by hordes of persons each trying to get his way, I know that the milk that I am drinking is not from an adulteration plant in Faridabad, and so on. I also know that in case of traffic violation, I am promptly booked and ticketed and punished, unlike my nephew in New Delhi, who at the first instant received an arrest warrant 24 months for his traffic violation. The system in USA works as the law enforcement machinery by and large is at vigil, prompt, unbiased and non corrupt.

There appears to be a frenzied and vociferous showcasing by our politicians of all shades and hues of leading our country to progress and prosperity. Some show case their achievements made in their domain and some eulogies their existing and past track records. Both could succeed as the search engine of Indian economy has been served well and their searches will give the right choices and directions provided the words, sentences and phrases are becoming. How far this thrust for progress proceeds to alleviate the poor or needy is quite obvious. The story will remain the same; the rich getting richer, the urban middle class increasing in numbers and the rural rich enjoying more benefits. The poor, increase in their numbers both in the rural and urban areas.

Is the chant for ‘progress’ an empty word and self-serving? Obviously, yes to both. The building will always remain shaky and weak on a shifty sandy soil and before it sinks the bearing capacity of the soil has to be enhanced. Judicial reforms, police reforms, electoral reforms are the urgent need, before we even broach the subject of ‘Progress’. There may be other reforms too but unless the fear of authority is instilled in the subjects, status quo will continue irrespective whosoever is at the helm of affairs. Let us have systems that work, that provide us with security, safety, equal opportunities and punish the corrupt and wrong doers within a reasonable period.

To those who are debating for changing the constitution, Hitler did it and we know the consequences. Let history not repeat itself; a very handy cliché!

As to how time catches up with me in USA? Wait for another day!