Thursday, November 5, 2009

Flop Show - still

The famed satirical series by Jaspal Bhatti - Flop Show - was first aired on Doordarshan in 1989. Two decades later, as I finished watching the show again, the humor remains intact but the satire is much louder. It is sad, indeed, that even after twenty years, the problems we face are not much different. The government officials that don't work, the tenants that don't vacate the property, the doctors that do not care, the TV producers that fail to imagine, the doctorates that don't research, and so on.

In India, the world has changed a lot since liberalization and globalization began two decades ago; but ironically, the more it has changed, the more it remained the same. Democracy still fails millions and the four pillars - legislature, executive (administration and police), judiciary, and media are all hopelessly cumbersome, corrupt and inefficient. A dignified employment is mostly illusive for many, agriculture is still the largest employer yet least productive, basic amenities like potable water, sanitation, electricity, good roads, health, education, and security still remain a distant dream, and the Millennium Development Goals are but a mockery.

I am glad that we have made a lot of progress in the past two decades and I am happy that flop show is still humorous. However, I am more sad that we, as a nation, have achieved only a small proportion of our potential and that Flop Show is still relevant in India. Somehow, I feel that Jaspal Bhatti's jokes are no longer directed towards those corrupt officials or dishonest professors or inefficient doctors. Alas! The joke is on us.

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