Chetan's Blog

Republic of India-Excellent

Dear All,

Winning the World Cup made us so happy. Why? This week’s column, a tribute to Team India.

If you prefer to read it on the TOI website, the link is here.




Welcome to Republic India-Excellent

Yes,we did it! It took us 28 years but when we finally did win the Cup,we won it in massive style.We won at home,chasing the highest ever total of a World Cup final, recovered after the loss of two big batsmen,and with a stunning six as the victory shot.It is not possible,at the current moment,to praise the team enough.Their victory will give a lifetime of bragging rights and inspire an entire generation.

Equally stunning were the celebrations that followed right after the win.Even though it was close to midnight,within minutes,millions took to the streets.In something India has never witnessed before,there were impromptu victory processions,happy traffic jams,ecstatic people on the roads and a street party to which,literally,everyone was invited.

Why did we feel so great What makes this win so special And is there a bigger impact of the win that we can carry into our own lives After all,as some may say,this is just a game.It has no tangible impact on ordinary Indians lives.Yet,there is no denying the mood-elevating effects of winning the biggest trophy of our biggest game.It is like a booster dose of self-esteem and hope administered to the entire nation.

To understand why this win is so big,it is important to understand the context in which this has come.This trophy comes at a time when the only remarkable news coming out of India was the scams,including a big one in sports.The only remarkable people were the corrupt politicians and their cronies.Many of these people roam free and are even celebrated by Indian society.This is India – connections,the clique of powerful people who scratch each others backs and give each other mutual access to their power to enhance it.This is the way people rise in India who you know is more important than what you know.How you trade your power for another persons power is the core skill that will make you rise in life.

In the middle of all this,our men in blue brought home the World Cup.It was not a competition of connections.It didnt matter who your father was,which minister was your best friend or how much money you had in the bank.Only one thing mattered excellence.For the only way to win this Cup was to play better than everyone else,in match after match.And we played better than anyone else.

Such global recognition is rare for India,but this win showed the way to another,more glorious,Indian path to success : India-excellent.The India-excellent way to success is still hazy,but the young generation is getting a whiff of it.And it smells a lot better than the stale odour of success generated by India-connections.In fact,young India loves the perfume of excellence.That is why the youth came out onto the streets at midnight for the players,but they wont for any politician.The success that comes from excellence feels good its like a fresh and juicy apple.The success from connections tastes like reconstituted fruit.From a distance they may look the same,but for the person achieving it,the feeling is worlds apart.You cant kiss a bribe the same way as Dhoni kissed the trophy.You cant celebrate an unfairly earned telecom license the way Team India did after the match.Your ill-gotten gains may win you some fake friends,but India-connections is just not the same flavour as India-excellent.India-excellent is cool,India-connections is not.

With this win,youngsters today can see two paths.As they grow up,they will have the choice of two roads.India-connections is a well-travelled road.It may be easier,but ultimately less rewarding.The India-excellent road that Dhoni and co have paved for us is the harder one.However,it is more meaningful and more rewarding.

The clash of these two Indias will dominate the next two decades.Right now,India-connections has the upper hand.In the finals,tickets were essentially reserved for the India-connections.If you didnt have the right contacts,you couldnt get a ticket.This,ironically,for a contest that celebrates excellence.But i dare India-connections to contain Indiaexcellent.It wont be able to.Lurking beneath the tiny,creamy layer of India-connections is a talent pool so vast that it can transform our nation.One persons success can ignite the winning spark in millions of hearts.And Dhonis men havent just provided the spark,they have lit a fire.As a tribute to our team,let us resolve to win,and win using the path of India-excellent.After all,if we can be great at cricket,we can be great at anything.Let this trophy be the start of many Indian victories.Thank you,Team India,for making so many of us so happy.

Mera Neta Chor Hai

9 April 2011 Update: The government agrees to most of Anna’s conditions, and agrees to modify the lokpal bill accordingly. Yes, the people of India did it. Scared at the rising popular support, the government gave in. This will have far reaching implications for India, not only because of  a strong Lokpal, but also that people in India have tasted their power. From now on, the aam aadmi will not think of himself as powerless.

Since the government has agreed to the bill, the ‘Mera Neta Chor Hai’ campaign also ends. I can’t thank you guys enough for your support. Together, we will make a better India, one step at a time.




(The original Mera Neta Chor Hai Post is given below).


Dear All,


The time has come for us to show our corrupt leaders what people power really means. Anna Hazare’s fast is the starting point for corruption reforms in this country. Please note, the politicians will never make good anti-corruption laws on their own. They won’t pass a law that checks their power. People will have to fight to get them. Innumerable articles, requests, appeals have been given to these politicians. They don’t listen. They don’t respond. I have personally spent most of last year writing columns on corruption and the need for real laws. For instance, we have the CBI, our premier investigative agency, which ultimately reports to politicians. How can they investigate the people who appoint them? It is like asking your maid to prosecute you.


We need an independent authority against corruption, which is what the Jan Lokpal bill is all about. Passing this bill is as important as our Independence movement was.


We must however, keep broadening the base of this movement. Some of you may ask, what can I do? Do I keep a fast? Do I join groups on Facebook? Do I come on the streets?  Well, all these actions have their place. However, we must make sure this campaign reaches the grassroots, and doesn’t say confined, say, to the English-speaking, online world. I suggest one more option that might help.


To aid in spreading this, I’d like you to write something on your forearm, and display it wherever you go.  Using a pen, write in thick lettering, “Mera Neta Chor Hai” and wear it everywhere – in college, office, shopping malls and buses. Post a pic of it on your Facebook profile. Let people ask you why you have written it, and then explain it to them. From the neighbourhood aunty to the auto driver, everyone must know what is going on. And yes, this is inspired from Deewar, the hit Amitabh movie from the past.


This statement will also shame our politicians. For when youth of this country move around writing this on themselves, they will be forced to act. It will give impetus to the already active Anna Hazare campaign.


It’s that simple. Write “Mera Neta Chor Hai” on your forearm, post a pic on the net and tell everyone about it. Please also forward it to everyone you know who may care for their country.


Our country is founded on overthrowing the opressors. We have another oppressor now, the evil empire of corrupt politicians that have somehow taken charge of this otherwise great nation.


Remember  “Mera Neta Chor Hai”, until they pass the Jan LokPal bill.






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