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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


INDIA is increasingly a do-it-yourself country. And the government of India should give a medal to the residents of Tajnagar village, near Gurgaon, for setting a new benchmark in the DIY (do-ityourself ) scheme of things. Having waited a quarter of a century in vain to get their own railway station from a sarkar that seemed deaf to all their pleas, the enterprising Tajnagaris had a whip around among themselves, raised Rs 21 lakh, and set up their own railway station, certainly the first DIY railway station in India, if not in the world.

God is said to help those who help themselves. Our sarkar goes one better than God: it doesnt even help those who help themselves,but implicitly urges them to continue good work and keep helping themselves some more because as sure as eggs is eggs the sarkar certainly aint going to help anyone. In that way our sarkar is eminently fair, and does not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or gender. It leaves us all irrespective of particular persuasion to help ourselves to whatever it is that we think we require.

You want an uninterrupted supply of bijli Fine, its not an unreasonable request. But dont look to the sarkar, or any of its many agencies, to generate it for you; youve got to do it yourself. Get a genset. Or a kerosene lantern and a handheld pankha. What No kerosene available in the government-run fair price shops Havent you ever heard of a do-it-yourself source of supply for kerosene or for that matter for anything else you might require, like potatoes, and onions, and dal and rice which is called the black market

No municipal water to be had Stop bellyaching and get on with the job of digging a community bore well in your area. Set up a rain harvesting system. Push comes to shove, buy bottled water. To drink No, dummy. To bathe in. Its either that or dont take off your clothes before sending them to the drycleaners.

Government hospitals and healthcare centres either non-existent or full of rats, disease and infections Go to a private read, do-it-yourself nursing home. What do you mean you cant afford it Of course you can. What do you think do-it-yourself medical insurance is for, for which you have to pay those humongous annual premiums

There are no textbooks, blackboards or teachers at your local sarkari school Send your kid to a school set up by a do-it-yourself entrepreneur who charges swingeing fees for the services provided. Almost everything in India is on a do-it-yourself basis. Electricity, water, health, schooling. With the virtual collapse of the governmental postal system, the sarkari postman has become an endangered , if not a nearextinct , species, spotted only at Diwali time when he rings your doorbell to collect his yearly baksheesh . The rest of the time you deal with a do-it-yourself delivery system called a courier company.

Rising incidence of crime in your neighbourhood and the cops unable, or unwilling, or both, to do anything about it Employ do-it-yourself security guards to protect your property and your person. In some parts of the country you have not just do-it-yourself cops but do-ityourself armies, like the Ranvir Sena, or the Salwa Judum. And to provide competition to these, you have another do-ityourself army called the Naxalites, who are said to run a parallel do-it-yourself state-within-a-state in over 160 districts across the country.

Each day, in every way, Indias do-ityourself capacity increases, as exemplified by the resourceful villagers of Tajnagar who got themselves their own DIY railway station, thus relieving railway minister Mamatadi of an onerous chore. The sarkar should recognise and honour such doit-yourself enterprise. The residents of Tajnagar deserve a medal for the DIY spirit theyve shown. Trouble is, the medal will also have to be of the DIY variety, because the sarkar cant supply even that.

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