Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Letter to Hon'ble PM of India


As we have such a social media savvy PM, I went to the PMO website as I wanted to write to the Prime Minister. The website does impress, a few boxes to click and the one on the top right has 'Interact with Hon'ble PM'.

Exactly what I wanted, a dialogue with our PM and I imaged that, as two giant intellects conversed in cyberspace, our mail would enter the archives of history. I felt he was just waiting for someone to talk to him, a human being, not another politician or a bureaucrat. I clicked on 'Interact with...' and find I have a choice of subjects. Ahh, knowing how loquacious we Indians are there is, not a word limit, but a character limit. One thousand characters, max.

I click on 'Subject' and discover there are 16, ranging from 'Agriculture' through 'Education' to 'Social Injustice'. I believe this makes it easier for the PM, a very busy man, so that he is immediately prepared to respond and converse on the subject. There can be nothing more confusing when opening a mail on 'Agriculture', and turning one's mind in preparation to discuss the price of onions,  to find the letter is on 'Women's' Issues' or 'Defence'.

I dither over such a wide choice. I have to think carefully as I don't want to confuse my PM. I hover over 'Social Injustice'. It isn't quite right - I haven't been beaten/raped/imprisoned by our cops. Yet. I wish there was one more category 'Other Important Issues'. It takes a good ten minutes of such dithering to decide which subject my letter comes under.

I choose 'Law & Order'. I click on it, fill in my name, address (correctly), and then compose my 1,000 characters. I don't want to dazzle him with my examples, I just want to discuss the subject with him and expect him to keep within the 1,000 character format when he replies to my letter.

When I finish my abbreviated note to the PM, I copy the 'Verification Code' and hit 'Submit'. The site responds immediately, a complaint about commas. It does not like too many of them, so, despite a great reluctance, I delete a few of them to keep the site happy. Once more, I copy the code and hit submit.

There is a pause. I imagine my letter instantly appearing on the PM's screen and him leaning forward to read it carefully. His hand hovers over 'Reply' even as he composes his response to my letter. A moment letter, a line pops up on the screen. 'Thank you for writing to the PM. Your letter has been forwarded to the department concerned'.  

Whatdoyumean? I wrote to the PM, not to a department. I expect him to read it and to reply. I want to have a discourse.  That's the whole point of 'Interact with the Hon'ble PM' at the top of the website.

I don't want to interact with a minor babu, somewhere in labyrinth of the Minister of Home Affairs, now staring at my letter on his screen. Is he thinking :Should I print it and rush over to show it to the PM, and wait for him to read, cogitate and reply? Or should I just hit the 'Delete' button and return to sleep?

 

Dear Prime Minister,

Congratulations on your astonishing victory and I am confident you will lead India to a great future. As a writer/filmmaker, I am very concerned with the extreme right wing Hindu elements, who have taken it on themselves to censor and intimidate writers, artists and filmmakers with their narrow interpretation of our ancient religion. We hope they are not encouraged to further extremism due to the BJP victory. This is a law & order problem when they physically attack artists, filmmakers or publishers. As a democracy, we must respect the opinions of others, even if we do not agree with them. As Prime Minister, you have spoken of the inclusiveness of all Indians, and this must include those who hold different views to the extremists. I hope you will discourage their activities. With my best wishes for your leadership. Timeri N. Murari.

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