It is painful and it hurts! “Sarhad par hum apne mulk ke liye jaan dete hain; Kya apne hi ghar mein apne hi haq ke liye jaan dena padega?” (we lay down our lives on the border for our country; do we have to lay down our lives in our own house  for our legitimate rights?) The words came from a veteran aged wizened Subedar Major having served with bravery and honor for over thirty five years in the Army and drawing a meager pension. My friend who heard these words had no answer, he was fasting with others, though it was for a day only, to protest for the irrational delay in granting the OROP (one rank one pension) by the Government of the day. Words too fail all other countrymen who love their freedom and respect and look upto the Defense Forces as their final and last bastion for their safety and honor; to them the men who guard their country’s frontiers are their protectors and guardians and have to be looked after while they serve and when they retire. These countrymen are the majority who choose the legislators who pass laws to ensure governance. These are the ones who show the very same legislators the door very quickly. And yet the elected let them down very regularly; power does suck the legislatures into a different environment, pomp, splendor, showmanship, cronyism, deceit, and above all corruption of all variety. Pre election promises, nationalism, well being and welfare of the countrymen takes a back seat; forgotten to be resurrected before the next elections! Let us examine a few tall election promises made other than the OROP!

The politicians and the bureaucrats continue to suck and squeeze the non profitable public sector enterprises. Crores are spent in restoring the bankruptcy of the Government owned airline, the loss running hotels, the bleeding PSU’s , the sick telecom enterprise BSNL and so on. The reasons are obvious, as by getting rid of these the luxury and the comfort along with the wheeling and dealing  associated with these will no longer be possible. Government money will continue to flow into these sick units and part of it to their benefactors.

The infrastructure development plan  produced by the Government as per experts is confusing and unrealistic, it is a hopscotch concept catering to bits and pieces thrown in all directions.  Talking of Smart Cities meant for the elite is meaningless when the crying need is for rural roads, irrigation and electricity. The bullet train or high-speed rail concept is primarily calculated to keep up with China. But again we are creating white elephants; our existing shoddy railway system runs at a loss and heaven can only help us with the massive expenditure on actualization and use of the ‘bullet’ trains.

Where are the foreigners with their much trumped investments? How can they invest with abrupt reversal of policy? An example, the foreign supermarkets such as Walmart are prevented to own a majority stake in local retail stores. India’s $500 billion retail industry is among the most backward in the world and could badly use an infusion of capital and expertise to modernize itself.

The pre election promises made were galore and filled many pages of the Manifesto which was trashed into the bin no sooner the results were announced. Each and every item the Manifesto contained vociferously and vigorously was promised on various platforms through various means  and from different places by the leader and  was seriously heard, absorbed  and relished by the supporters. A ray of hope entered their heart and mind. But then the dismal performance so far has not only created bitterness but also anguish especially to the warriors who had served our country so as to take care of our tomorrow. Most of the soldiers and officers of the Army have served in the Himalaya’s, facing the enemy and the inhospitable terrain and the treacherous weather, away from near and dear ones. At the high altitudes the Himalayan bear makes his presence with ruthlessness and ferocity and let us hope and pray that he does not descend down to the plains.

‘The Himalayan black bear is a savage animal, sometimes attacking without provocation, and inflicting terrible wounds………..’      Brigadier General R.G. Burton: —A Book of Man Eaters.

Let there never ever be “Day of the Himalayan Bear’,