How icons crumble
- Spot-fixing: Chandila was in touch with four sets of bookies, says Delhi Police
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives, to hold talks with PM on boundary, water issues
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Regular wickets put Pune Warriors on top
- Blast accused death: UP govt seeks CBI probe, FIR against 42 persons
- Afghan Prez to seek Indian military aid amid Pakistan row
Movie stars do for India what Armstrong did for the rest of the world. In the absence of everyday life heroes, the ordinary Indian mind conflates the reel and real image of movie stars, so that the promise of justice, opportunity and success they deliver on-screen stands in for worldly aspirations even off-screen. Still, unlike other countries, India's dominant discourse on success has often been at odds with worldly indulgences and acquisitions. The Indian mind has measured success in otherworldly terms, by way of worldly renouncement. That is why Anna Hazare's "personal sacrifice" and Baba Ramdev's austerity still have currency, whereas most other social, entrepreneurial and political leaders are viewed with suspicion and cynicism as spoilt, pampered, corrupt and hypocritical.
The new Indian generation, children of economic liberalisation, seek to subvert the narrative of abdication. Ashamed of old, ineffective ways and eager to join in with the ethos of the developed world, they seek role models not only in the rich, powerful, slim, youthful and beautiful but also in those who have the street smarts to "be practical", and "play the game". Yet, therein lies the problem: the desire to "win" all the time and at all costs over-emphasises the end while obscuring the means to that end. It creates a culture that defines success in limited, outwardly terms while ignoring deeper questions of truth, virtue and justice. Then, it's not enough to survive cancer, or to participate in the race, or to participate in the race after surviving cancer. In this hyper- competitive world, our might is not right if the race is not won, if our rivals do not taste defeat at our hands, if our peers are not coaxed, or bribed into supporting us.
It is counterintuitive to overcome one set of injustices by committing others. Yet societies overwhelmed by the fear of failure forget that rights come with responsibilities, that there is a difference between achieving success the right and wrong way, or that adverse circumstances, including poverty, do not justify opportunism, misdemeaours or crime. After all, corruption is not simply a matter of inferior, mismanaged public institutions and systems. Corruption is a breakdown in every individual's sense of community, respect and trust towards one another.
- Quake-hit and shaken, Bhaderwah spends nights in the open
- UP blast accused dies on way to jail, govt wanted to drop case against him
- Former civil aviation secy changes mind, seeks airport security exemption as EC
- BCCI suspects Gujarat players in other teams were also approached
- Police on money trail, Sreesanth in fresh trouble
- Chhattisgarh 'encounter' leaves 8 villagers dead, no Maoist link yet