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Nervous charades

Nervous charades
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They sold their small pieces of lands, and whatever little properties they had. Their children were thrown into a mad frenzy Yet another section of...

They sold their small pieces of lands, and whatever little properties they had. Their children were thrown into a mad frenzy Yet another section of society was not exposed to better living, let alone education and the consequent progress in the early days of the century. It was the illiterate farmers, downtrodden and the Scheduled Castes. They were not even informed that there could be a dignified way of living. For instance, it was taboo for them to walk into a few streets with shirts or chappals on, where the forward castes lived. Some of them were 'untouchables'. It was a sin even to see their faces. Nobody dared to question the diktat or question the tradition conditioned by vested interests and not by logic. When, at last, these sections were given a chance to liberate themselves, especially in the last 66 years, they found a new light at the end of the tunnel. They were given opportunities for better education and living. This was when the mad charade for new-found goals began. But they were never taught the proper way of going about; nor do they care anymore. They have some basic goals in their minds and not the process to reach there. They know what to do. They don't know how to go about it. They have targets. They don't have means to reach there. They could see the goal but not the road to reach it. It was a cultural emancipation for them. It was their emotions that decided their priorities and not their calculated discretion. But, of course, they were not equipped for such an exercise. What did they do? They rushed madly towards their cherished goals. Their mad urge was to break these shackles; to earn a semblance of dignity not heard of or given for several generations. They wanted their children to do it quickly. The transformation must be immediate and total. They sold their small pieces of lands, and whatever little properties they had. Their children were thrown into a mad frenzy. The burning desire of their elders made them get charged to the goals, not theirs but of their elders'. The first generation children had shown some startling results. They gained international recognition. For instance, Dr.Y.Nayudamma, a favourite of Indira Gandhi in those days, became the Director General of CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research). He had come from a very modest rural background. Another shining example was Dr.Sadasivarao, who rose from very meagre means and virtually became the champion of the poor. Another shining example was a young man whose family had only two and half acres of land in their village Nimmakuru of Krishna District and who used to go by bicycle to Vijayawada everyday to sell milk to hotels and households and go to Guntur to study in a college. His name was N.T.Ramarao. The chains were broken. A new world dawned on several families. But there was a price to pay in the process. Their goals were hand-picked by their elders. They were not properly tested or counseled. Some 23 years back, we were travelling to the airport in New Orleans in the car of a doctor who was a very successful professional and was running a clinic there. J V Somayajulu, comedian Padmanabham, Tulasi and my family were in his car. He was playing songs of Ghantasala on his car stereo and suddenly became emotional and blurted: ''I can't excuse my father for what he had done to me!''. We were shocked. Then he explained. In his younger days, there were several families of farmers in his native village whose children were sent to America for higher studies, perhaps pledging their properties. His father, in his urge for one-upmanship, struggled to send his son also to America only to prove a point. He never bothered to care for his aptitude or his consent. He became a successful doctor and set a good practice there and virtually became a money-earning machine. "Now I cannot come back as I have developed my roots here! The pity is I have my money here but I lost my heart in my homeland, '' he said with tears in his eyes. Yes. The parents never bothered nor did they know that they had to bother in their mad urge to prove a point while coming out of the age-old shackles. They were successful at the cost of a few misplaced people like our friend. Perhaps, these people would have proved their worth in some performing arts or humanities given a chance. It was the period when the families bulldozed their way into an area hitherto not permitted to enter. A dozen names, or round pegs as it were, come to mind of those who were placed in square holes. Dr.V.A.Rama Rao of Kent, Dr.K.Vivekananda Murthy of Vigan, England, Dr.Kodi Rama Rao of Abu Dhabi, Nagabhairu Apparao, England, and a host of others. And an important price was paid by the country also consequent to this mass exodus: The native language and, more importantly, the brain drain. The State invested a lot of money on these choicest graduates who, however, ended up in other countries in search of greener pastures. What was a need then has become a way of life now. It has become a pattern of life. It was a profession of doctors then. It is software engineers now. The common man in the village, who saw the success story of his previous generation is interested in making his son follow the same pattern. His goal is saleable education that will fetch him a lucrative job. He should end up in America, and earn lot of money. It is the success, material and emotional, that is important. By now, even the forward castes that became weak because of the priorities given to the weaker sections have joined the bandwagon. My friend was a steno in the Railways and his father was a clerk in Collector's Office at Visakhapatnam in his days. I financed purchase of his bicycle during the early days of his career. He virtually pledged everything and made his son study at IIT, Chennai; he came out in flying colours and ended up in America. His son purchased a Honda car, owned a house as he was earning a four-figure salary. He calls his family every week, and meets them every three years. His children born in America lost total connect with their grandparents. Is it sacrifice? No. Paradigm shift. (gmrsivani@gmail.com)
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