Monday, 16 April 2012

Say NO to Freebies!

In the past week there was a buzz in my neighbourhood. The entire locality was on its feet, brimming with curiosity. You could find elders in each household enquiring detail about the ‘event’ from every possible source of information.

The event that I’m talking about is distribution of ‘Free’ fan, mixer grinder and table-top grinder by the government. Yes, the government was fulfilling its electoral promise of giving freebies. Let me clarify here, that this initiative was meant for all, irrespective of the income capacity.

The day before the actual distribution took place, people were called to collect tokens so that the distribution would be hassle free. Just as the clock struck 7 in the morning, you could find people starting to queue up and within a couple of hours, the scene was flooded with an army of desperate people. I must at this moment commend the punctuality and sincerity that the people showed. Wish half of this intensity was shown on an election day.

The action now shifts to my home. My mother had woken up early and prepared breakfast and lunch with a visible hurriedness. I asked her what the matter was. She told me about her plan to join the queue. There, I started a mutiny. I protested that she should not go. My argument was that we had all the items that they were offering and we were not in any need of them. I went on to argue that it was a shame to bend the back and get anything for free. And that it was below the dignity of man to do such an act which had glimpses of greed, lack of self esteem and lack of high morals. My mother, though unwillingly, decided not to venture out.

After some time, as I was wasting time on computer, my neighbour knocked the door. No prizes for guessing, the news of my rebellion had spread and my neighbour thought I should be counselled at this foolish behaviour.

He went on to preach that it was not wrong to avail of government schemes. He argued that we pay taxes and with prices of commodities rising so high, it was our right to avail the benefits. He has a point.

I counter argued that this culture of freebies is bad and one must earn from his own hard work. I asked him where he and these queued people were, a few months ago when an old man was fasting in Delhi. My neighbour, visibly offended, left the house. I must add that my dutiful neighbour had only recently built his new house and possessed all kinds of accessories from laptops to Ipads. Yet, he ended up getting two sets of fans, mixer grinder and table-top grinders (One on his name and the other on his son’s).

This leads me to a question, Where are these shameless populist measures leading too? I have no problem with these freebies being given to deserving poor but why to well to do people? You could see greed and selfishness all around. I’m sure they will vote for the ruling government next time around, unless of course, the opposition comes up with better accessories. I feel this attitude is a blot on our society. I was taught in school to be simple in living and high in thinking. I guess, I need to revisit my school.

PS: No, my family did not avail the freebies. My small mutiny succeeded!

Karthik Narayan

 @karthiknarayan1 on Twitter

The writer has just  finished with his Board exams and wants to pursue Chartered Accountancy

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