Saturday, 20 March 2010


Recently, when we watched the movie ‘3 Idiots’, we were entranced by the song ‘All Is Well’. We not only liked the song but also identified with its theme. We do believe that things and the situation we are in would improve and we won’t have to worry too much if we assumed ‘All Is Well’. Reminds me of the time when we were kids and we used to get scared of ghosts we used to hide our faces in the quilt; if we could not see the ghost, how could he see us!

In our country, we did not actually have to see the movie to sing ‘All is Well’. Ask our politicians, for example. Farmers may be committing suicide on a regular basis in their constituencies; people may be dying of hunger; there may be no water, electricity, medical help, and epidemics may have hit the villages, but, the politician would tell you and indeed sing like Aamir Khan, “Ahl izh bell, whai are dey kum planning?” Last year when the news came that India is now 144th in the world in human growth index, our politicians again sang ‘Ahl izh bell’.

Arun Shourie once wrote, “One sure way for evil to last or survive is for good men to do nothing about it.” And, how do we decide to do nothing about it? Well, by assuming all is well. In the vernacular it is roughly translated into ‘chalta hai’. We’d naturally identify with the song since by doing nothing we want the situation to resolve by itself or better still by divine intervention.

Here is a short list of things where we feel all is well:

· Our countrymen are happy, well fed and clothed and contented lot.
· Our roads, particularly our highways, are in good condition.
· We are very close to being number one in the field of sports.
· Our education system is world class.
· Our cities are clean, hygienic and really liveable.
· The corruption in the country will sort out by itself.
· Our country is free of natural disasters and in case one strikes our local government would take care of those who struggle to survive.
· Our judicial system delivers correctly and with urgency each and every time.
· Our teachers, doctors, engineers, industrialists are the committed lot who always think of the country.
· People fall head over heels to pay taxes.
· People at large detest crime and criminals and such people are singled out. Indeed, we have no difficulty in separating the law abiding from the criminal.
· Our trains and air services are always on time and in case once in a while these get late, people are not put to inconvenience because of a could-not-care-less administration.
· Our religious leaders and beliefs promote amity amongst people.
· We care for those who sacrifice their life for the country, that is, the armed forces personnel.

I think I will stop here. Suffice it to say that when we sing, “Chachu all is well’ it merely reflects a fantasy we have of utopian India - a dream world. Therefore, the first step towards the journey to make a better world is to assume that all is not well. A chalta hai, populist attitude is a good box-office formula. But, it must not be taken as a national policy!

Negativity? Well, in this case, the ‘Ahl izh bell’ statement has a negative outcome! People die and continue to live in poverty. Whereas ‘Ahl izh naut bell’ will certainly have a positive harvest depending upon our resolve and efforts to set it right.

So next time you hear ‘Ahl izh bell’, don’t just clap your hands and go unconcerned. All is really not well and we need to do something about it.

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