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Monday - December 11, 2023
Veg Cutlet

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Director’s address on Independence Day – 2013

Good morning my dear students, teachers and parents! Greetings on our Independence day. It is always a special challenge to make a speech that appeals to all age groups and makes sense in a way that each one of you take something from this.

Following story has been making rounds in the internet and I have decided to share this with you and the trail of thoughts that occur to me on treading this. Let me share this story first.  We are good at laughing at ourselves. This story is highly ironical and bordering to some level of cynicism. But it clearly drives home a point that we all live with, as everyday reality.

Here it goes: 

Ant and Grasshopper - Indian Version of the story (to change the result.. change the story)

Original Story:
The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs dances plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and
well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Indian Version:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs dances plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house.

Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter .

Mayawati states this as 'injustice' done on Minorities.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven & Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance) .

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for 'Bengal Bandh' in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the 'Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act'[POTAGA] , with effect from the beginning of the winter..

Arjun Singh makes 'Special Reservation' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions in Government Services.

The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it's home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV, BBC, CNN.

Arundhati Roy calls it 'A Triumph of Justice'.

Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice'.

CPM calls it the 'Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden'

Koffi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later...

The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley ,

100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India ,
As a result of losing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the grasshoppers, India is still a developing country...!!

Well! While we chuckle at the turn of the events for ants and the grasshoppers, we surely see who the ants and grasshoppers are  in our democracy.

Today morning I received a text message greeting that read like this – “we desperately need a Gandhi, Nehru and Patel to  launch  another freedom struggle – to free our nation State from the shackles of corruption, scam, disaster and poor governance. This is the problem with us – the educated lot. We wait for someone to fix the problem that we have all been part of – directly, or indirectly, in creating it and keeping it as part of our daily life. We wait for a messiah, leader, a guru, a philosopher or some God men / women (if not God themselves) to solve our earthly problems. 

My dear students, problems, big or small, are created by us , directly or indirectly. Being passive to a problem situation is  a problem. Not taking a stand is also a stand. 

So, let us pledge, on this day, to be part of solution track. Solutions need not come in big forms – like a PIL or morcha or a demonstration. It can come in small forms – with our homes, with our environment, in our institution so that people movement for change becomes a reality. 

Jai Hind!