“The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”
~ John Steinbeck
The contents of that head lines from one of our papers is unimportant for the purpose of this post, but the two words Netas and Babus is very important.
Steinbeck should be here to assess what is going on in India. We have not given up on the first but the reaction of ordinary men and women in India to the latter is not love but total abhorrence. The men who practice sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest certainly love those traits and the two most visible lot are our Netas and Babus. One lot I am saving for another day is our businessman who is part of the establishment in what has come to be known as our crony capitalism.
Neta in Hindi means leader. In common usage it is used to denote our politician. And this cartoon tells you how the common people of India view that specimen.
MLA stands for Member of Legislative Assembly. This is the law making body of the state. MP stands for Member of Parliament. This is the legislative body of the Center.
Babu in Hindi means Bureaucrat. And these two cartoons illustrate what we think of them.
These two words today describe the disgust we feel about our leaders and bureaucrats. And that is what the newspaper headlines caught so endearingly.