Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I Want The Moon
By Manuwant Choudhary
I sat near my pond at my farm in Bihar looking up at the moon on the day of Poornima (full Moon) - a large ball of white with some grey shades.
I look forward to the Poornima full moon because my home does not have electricity even after 60 years since India's independence - at least for a night I do not need to think about the governments electricity department. My home, my garden everything is awash with light.
And I wonder why the earth has just a single moon.
For Bihar I wished the earth had 30 moons which would in turn light up the earth each and every night.
I do not understand why the Indian government plans to plant our Indian flag on the moon?
But I did relate to ISRO's moon project director talking about his village in Coimbatore which did not have a single street light and that is how his village became his natural planetorium where he could observe the moon and the stars on a clear night and dream.
When India plants its flag on the moon can we say that we are now Superpower No.3 or 4?
But with the economic `slowdown' even the United States is not sure whether it still is a Superpower.
In politics and humor and in everything in life the most important thing is `timing'.
And here I think India has got it all wrong.
When I was studying broadcast jounalism at Cardiff in the United Kingdom my best lesson was not in the classroom but at a Welsh pub where an Englisman came up to us and got talking.
We told him we were journalism students.
And he asked us, "Has man been on the Moon?"
And my colleague Amit immediately replied, "Yes, ofcourse..."
Amit rattled off the names, the years...the moon missions...but the Englishman seemed dismayed.
"You guys can't be journalists!"
"What if I tell you man has never been to the moon."
We replied in complete disbelief, "But we've seen the photos."
Englishman, "Sure, but those photos could be taken on the Nevada desert."
"But why? Why would the Americans do that..Our American professor even has a piece of the moon given to journalists by Nasa."
The Englishman, "The Americans did that to beat the Russians. Don't you see it was the Cold War era? There was an arms race, a nuclear race...and the only way the Americans could establish supremacy in the public mind was by sending a man to the moon."
"And the Americans succeeded because everyone, even journalists did not question them."
But we were still not convinced with the Englishman's arguments.
And he replied finally, "Don't you see it? If the American's could send a man to the moon in the 1970's why have they sent nobody since then?"
So returning to India I question everything.
I question the corrupt, the underdevelopment, the cricket craze, the misery faced by our people...the salary hikes taken by our politicians..the leave without pay offer By Air India...the permanent leave with pay for all government offcials.
I also question those questioning capitalism.
I question those arguing for more government controls and regulations.
I ask them does anyone know why the American economy has collapsed? Can anyone, any government save it?
Banks and investment firms are perhaps just extensions of government policy.
A school friend I met while in London asked me how are things in India. At the time JVG, a non-banking financial company, had gone bust, literally stealing people's hard-earned savings and I told him with such passion about the corruption in India.
Then I asked him what he did.
And he replied, "Just the same what JVG does."
He worked for a large American financial company.
See how Democract Obama says every American will get health insurance. Do American politicians care about the health of the economy?
And George Bush and Manmohan Singh have no idea what a `slowdown' is.
Come to Bihar.
No credit cards, no mortgages and loans if you are a farmer just forget it.
But still I am no cynic.
A beautiful person once told me, "You are asking for the moon."
I replied, "I want the moon."