I should tell you that this is not a political issue neither am I going to be philosophical about it. It’s a simple thought that has been bothering me for quite sometime and I am going to write it down.
Socialism can be simply defined as a political movement which opposes the accumulation of profit among certain individuals and propagates the idea of distribution of wealth among all. I have always believed that the notion of distribution of wealth among all is painfully stupid and I have good reasons for such a belief.
I’ll give a simple example. Everyone in their lives have seen people who try to shirk off their responsibilities. Now, let’s take two people A and B. A is hardworking, efficient and smart. B is lazy, slow and works as less as he can. Would it be fair if they have the same salary? I don’t think so. Salary should be based on the amount of work and effort put in not on hours and certainly not on the basis of humanity.
A lot of people may have read about the experiment by an economics professor where he proved that socialism would fail because of human nature. The story goes like this, an economics professor at a reputed institution was known to never have failed a single student. But he had, once, failed an entire class.
The class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.
But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little … The second Test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.
The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else. All failed to their great surprise and the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder to succeed the greater the reward but when a government takes all the reward away; no one will try or succeed.
You must be thinking that how is all this related to West Bengal. I was coming to that after I had established that Socialism is a lost cause. First of all, why West Bengal? The answer is simple, I live in this godforsaken state. Secondly, what is the problem with a socialistic attitude? Well, you will get the answer ahead.
West Bengal has been under leftist rule for quite sometime. Even though the leaders were less corrupt, they were mentally handicapped. I’ll be relating only with the socialistic angle to explain the how. Every Bengali can tell about the problems faced by worker unions. The unions are supposed to be a link between the workers and the government and are supposed to make sure both sides are benefited. However, exactly the opposite happens. Since, there’s no reward for working harder or no punishment for working less, most of the workers choose the latter. Hence, the output is reduced as a result of which sales are reduced and thus the overall wages are reduced. The union leaders on the other hand keep the head of operations in dark and enjoy some amount of petty control on the workers. They don’t realize that such habits are not beneficial to anyone, be it the owners, the workers or the consumers.
The picture given above is of an earlier period. Then why am I bothering with it right now? Well, as it happens, this process made its way into the bloodstream of almost everyone in Bengal. Yes, that is right starting from a cycle rickshaw puller to engineering graduates, doctors or officers in the corporate world or banks. Pretty insinuating right? Maybe, I am just telling about my observations.
I’ll give an example in each case. I’ll start from the lower strata of the society: the beggars. They except others to show sympathy and give alms. How many beggars has anyone seen in India who are absolutely unable to do any kind of work? I can bet it is not more than 1 in 100. Nowadays it is a common occurrence in local trains when a young healthy guy sings with a mic and asks for charity. They expect charity from people who work for their livelihood and because they work to earn money. The beggars behave as if they have a right on that money. I don’t see a reason for such a mentality. The equation is simple, you don’t work so you don’t get money. However, they get a lot of alms because they are blessed by earning idiots who believe in the same philosophy.
Next level, cycle rickshaw pullers, auto rickshaw and taxi drivers: The auto rickshaws ply on fixed routes, they take passengers from one side drop them on the other and then pick passengers from the other side and this continues. If a passenger does not have change, he or she is abused, insulted as if gravest crime has been committed. The drivers don’t realize that it is their passengers who provide the source of food. There have been cases of physical abuse against the passengers and the perpetrators got away with it because they were protected by their union leaders who in turn were politically connected. Who benefited from it? The commuters don’t trust the drivers, the drivers are not earning anymore and the leaders are enjoying their petty sense of control.
Taxi drivers: Dare you ask anyone to drop you off to a location where the driver is not willing to go. Either you would be refused rudely or you would be asked for an exorbitant amount. It was just yesterday, two taxi drivers were chatting with each other and I approached one of them to drop me and my friend off at Ultodanga crossing. I was straightaway asked for a sum of Two hundred rupees which is double the original fare. I refused and went ahead. Result? I had to walk further and the driver lost a chance to make money. Maybe he got to eat that night but is it all we want in life? He doesn’t realize that if he earns more he can give himself and his family a better life. At the same time he will earn some reputation with the customers for fulfilling his duties. The same goes for cycle rickshaw pullers. The problem is the drivers’ constant refusal has pushed me to my limits and I plan to bring a few people and puncture the tires of the taxis which refuse to ply. It’s a simple concept, if a taxi is on road it has to ply or it should sit in the garage.
Now, coming to clerks, peons in offices: First, peons they are absolutely lazy. They will spend time chatting with other peons and give a damn about their duties. Lastly, they will curse their superiors because they earn more. Isn’t it obvious that a higher ranking official will earn more? But mind it, that peon will never work hard enough to reach that position. Still he expects his salary to be equivalent to an officer.
Second, the clerks: well, they finished their graduation and thus got the job after an interview. The ones in government offices know that their job is secured and hence, they are free to behave as they wish. The following incident from last week was shared by my friend. He had visited the local Post Office to post an urgent mail. The clerk who was supposed to handle the typing of address made him wait for five whole minutes even though he was not doing anything just because he wanted to. It gives them a weird sense of power. These people expect respect even after maintaining such habits. Even I have faced similar behaviour on separate occasions. They will behave as if they are our gods and thanks to the no complaint accepting system, they continue to do so.
It’s the same even with most shopkeepers, restaurant waiters. Result? Lack of business or sales and finally just enough money to feed the family.
It’s turn for the upper class. Everyone must be wondering how is the upper class a part of it. I’ll tell you. Till class 10th every student wants to excel in Secondary board exams so that they can take up science at +2(Higher Secondary) level. A lot of them are able to achieve the target, a lot of them don’t. Next they want to crack good colleges and most of them are not able to. Reason? Socialistic attitude. They work just enough to get good marks in Higher Secondary board exams which are extremely easy. They don’t work hard, spend any extra time they have gossiping with friends or ogling at the opposite sex. I have asked a lot of those students, why don’t you work harder? I always get the same reply: Why should I? My classmates are not doing it either or I am at par with my classmates. Then, they have to settle with some average college but even then they are content since their classmates are at similar places. When they see an IITian or someone similar they say, “He just got lucky” or “He has reservation”. Then they end up in some IT firm with a dead end job.
No one aspires to take a part in the administration but everyone likes to take a sip of tea in the morning and curse it. They would also curse anyone who tries to be a part of the administration. The common dialogue is,”You won’t be able to change the system, you are just one man” or “We are happy with our jobs, why can’t you be content with it?” or “What are you trying to prove?”. When I decided to ditch jobs and choose self employment, my uncles said,”He has gone mad, why can’t he take up a job like others?” and that too behind my back because they didn’t have enough guts to say it on my face.
Doctors? well, most study MBBS because they want to earn commission from various pharmaceutical firms as was told by one of my doctor friends and a few more who take their profession seriously. They are exceptions as far as my experience goes. I have been given certain medicines at my institute hospital because those were being promoted and not because I required them. Thankfully, I had a habit of checking medicine components before consuming them otherwise God knows what would have been the outcome.
Thus, in conclusion I can safely say the progress is zero in this damned state not because of the government but because of the people who live here. How can a state progress if its constituents don’t want to progress? This topic is open for debate but not for stupid rebukes from people with myopic vision. They will be insulted with utmost disgust.