Coronation Countdown - one more letter to our new PM

Dear Prime Minister

Coronation Countdown is what of the news channel has chosen to name the hours before your swearing in today, May 26th 2014, 18 00 hours. As I write these words, the clock is ticking and we are about 8 hours away. I like the use of coronation for your taking over the helm of our country as I view it as the coronation of the voiceless people of India who after being perhaps bedazzled or simply manipulated, believed that their future lay in the hands of those who used 'poverty' as a clever political plank. I too must admit that for some time I fell under that spell and was convinced that all the programmes targeted at the poor would ultimately rid us of the shameful bane of poverty. Today I admit my mistake.

There have many new age theories that propagate that the more you talk about something, the more you attract it and hence it seems that we have collectively erred for brandishing the banner of poverty high and loud. True millions in India are poor and this something we must be deeply ashamed of, but we must view them as part of the whole or in other words as Citizens of India. I would like to think of today as the coronation as these citizens who I hope will finally be given a voice. You have said time and again that you are the Prime Minster of 125 crores Indians and that is what we want to believe.

I do not want to rain on your parade as today is your day. You have proved without an iota of doubt that India is a country where anyone can aspire to and become Prime Minister. You come to the hallowed grounds of the land with a story, a story that every Indian can identify with and thus you become a role model, something we Indians did not have. As you rightly pointed out, those who fought for Independence and even paid the ultimate sacrifice cannot be emulated as we have to live for India. Today the humblest heart looks up to you and feels that s/he to as an opportunity to break every ceiling that till now weighed on his head. With you at the helm, no ceiling is strong enough if you have the will, the honesty and the motivation to succeed. I would urge you to put an end to the bogey of poverty that has too long been a stranglehold.

I know that you have your task cut out for you and its is nothing short of Herculean! But I also pray that these tasks do not entail the falling in the crevices of oblivion, of issues that plague people everyday and tar India in a shameful manner. Most of these are due to the arrogance and feudal attitude of the machinery that we finally bid farewell to.

Without raining on your parade, I would like to remind you gently that on this 26th day of May 7000 citizens of India will die of hunger and of these 5000 are children under 5. This has to end not by handing a few kilos of grain a month in the name of food security, but by setting into motion actions that will entail self sufficiency in every family. Indians are proud people by nature and should be rid of the humiliation of having to beg for what is and should be a right granted by the Constitution. I would like to again draw your attention to the story of Ashok Kaurase who walked 35km in scorching temperatures as he was told that his compensation for crop losses had been credited to his account. It had not and on his walk back, he collapsed and died 10 km from his home. The post mortem indicated that there was not a grain of food in the 50 year old's stomach. The family had not eaten for days. This happened a month ago. The man had made many trips to the bank to be told that it would take more time. The sum was a paltry 4200 Rs, but to him and his family, it meant life or death. That the money was credited a day after the news was reported is to my mind highly suspect. I tried to find a link to this story but could not. It has appeared in this week's The Week with the title Hunger Strikes. So you see Prime Minister, even what is promised never reaches in time. Maybe your first step should be to ensure that promises are kept and to make those in charge of implementing such programmes aware of the fact that they are not giving charity and need to respect the dignity of the beneficiary. Such programmes are a sad reminder of our failure in implementing the constitutional rights given to them on 26 January 1950. Deaths from malnutrition have to stop specially in a county where grains rot in the open and food is thrown with impunity.

On this 26th of May, Sir, 6 women will be raped and 14 molested in Delhi. This too has to stop and here again it is not simply by sending a rapist to the gallows that we will solve the problem. Gender equality is again something that will need to be addressed by setting into motion changes in the mindset of those who believe in the inferiority of the female sex. Education can play a role in this and  we need to shed our apprehensions about including sex education at an early age. Little girls are raped and abused  in our country. They need to be taught the difference between good and bad touch as early as possible. And the teaching of the role of X and Y chromosome in determining the sex of a child needs to be explained loud and clear to ensure that no woman ever has to suffer the pain of being held responsible for not bearing a son.

You have given hope Prime Minister to every Indian whose heart beats for India and in your coronation we see the coronation of every soul born on this land.

I wish you success and fortitude.

An Indian