Free to Lose
Imagine you are captaining a cricket team. You are playing against a team which can make and change the rules at any time. They also have the umpire on their side. When you go out to bat, you do not know where the boundary is. You can be declared out caught by the umpire even if you did not play a shot. When you bowl, the umpire can declare a no-ball at any time. You can be forced to reduce the number of fielders at any time. The other team’s captain can demand that your team has to play without your cricketing gear (helmet, arm and leg guards, gloves, shoes) and you have no choice but to agree. Even in the extreme scenario that you win, the other team’s captain can demand that the scores (and the news stories) be modified to show that you lost.
This is the game we the people are playing daily. The other side consists of politicians and bureaucrats, supported by the umpires (regulators), match referees (judges) and scorers (media) – they are all part of the same team. Every game is rigged. We are there only to entertain the other side. Day after day, we are beaten and bruised in unequal matches. The other side promises reform of the rules but doesn’t do anything. It’s a one-sided game; it always has been. It does not matter which sport we play; they are the only ones who win. We are free to lose.
The India we live in has us (farmers, workers, entrepreneurs) playing this sort of game against them (politicians, bureaucrats and their friends). Taxes eat away our earnings – and yes, we all pay taxes. Our taxes feed their luxurious lifestyle, big homes and stashed funds. They control most of the banks and many businesses, adding to what they can take from us. They do give us a little back from the money they take from us. Some of us are given free gas cylinders, free food and slogans to recite. So, we even cheer for them. Of course, they can arrest and jail some of us any time should they wish – the police, investigating agencies and courts are filled with their people. They set the rules, we just play to entertain them.
This is not the India that was imagined in 1947 when India became free from the British. Little did we know then that our own would use the same pre-1947 rules to run post-1947 India. We wanted a revolution, we got a replacement. We wanted a future, we got frauds. We wanted a change in the political and economic order, we got only a change in the skin colour of our rulers. We wanted prosperity, we got perpetually planned poverty. We wanted liberty, we got licence raj. We wanted equality in the eye of the law, we got discrimination in the name of caste and religion. We wanted to unite, we got division. We wanted leaders like Washington and Lincoln, we got Aurangzeb and Dyer.
A few thousand Britishers controlled the destiny of our forebears. Will we let a few thousand politicians and bureaucrats control the destiny of our children? They limited our rise for generation after generation. Will we let them stop our children from advancing? Our parents and we suffered in silence. Will we let them suffocate our children’s future too? We sacrificed our dreams at their altar. Will we let our children’s dreams meet the same fate? When will we open our eyes, ears, minds and mouths so that we can open tomorrow’s world for our children?
There is no politician in India today or tomorrow who is on our side. They are all the same. We need to stop being pawns in their rigged game of politics and power and start winning the game of life and liberty. It is time to stop being an ostrich; we need to bark and roar. We have the ability to create an alternate India – an India which is free and rich. They may have the monopoly on guns, but we have the numbers with our votes. If we can unite and vote as one, we can win our country back. We can transform India. Not in another generation, but in the next election.