Yesterday I met a young NRI from south India, about 27 years old and a bachelor. He holds a Master's degree in Computer Engineering from an American University, and has a good job in an I.T. company in the Bay Area of California ( the Silicon Valley ).
He told me that he has no material desires, and is intending to go back permanently to India to do social work there. He sounded full of idealism, but appeared vague about his precise plan of action.
I told him that while I appreciated his noble sentiments, I would like to know what exactly he intends to do on reaching India.
At first he said he intends to start a campaign against corruption in India. I told him that corruption is so deeply entrenched and so widespread in India that anyone who genuinely and sincerely tries to fight against it will not be able to eliminate corruption, but he himself will certainly be eliminated. The mafia ( i.e. politicians, big businessmen, land and building mafia, mining mafia, etc ) will all gang up against him and bump him off, as was done recently to the I.A.S. officer D.K.Ravi in Karnataka.
He then said that he may go to a village and start a school there. I said that he has no idea of the social realities prevailing in rural India.
Rural India is largely controlled by large landholders, money lenders, etc who are also in control of the gram sabhas, directly or indirectly through their relatives or agents, and these are mostly hotbeds of casteism, and centres of corruption. If you raise your voice against them they will have you bumped off very soon. There is a lot of violence in rural India
Moreover, the moment you step into rural India and express your intention of staying there, you will immediately be branded as a Naxalite, and that will also ensure that you are bumped off by the police. So you will have a very short life.
When I poured this ice cold water on his head, to drive sense into him, it gave him a shock, and he asked me how he could help his country.
I told him that when I was his age I too was full of the fire of idealism. Having passed out of Allahabad University ( topping in the merit list of Ll.B. in 1967 ) I defied my parents who wanted me to sit for the I.A.S. exams or take up the family profession of a lawyer, and went to a village where I lived for 2 years ( 1968-70 ) teaching in a village school. At that time I had the intention of spending my whole life in the village.
There was no electricity, pucca road or pucca buildings there, and I lived in a kuchcha hut, getting a salary of Rs.80 per month basic and d.a.of Rs.40, i.e.total salary of Rs.120 per month ( which I gave to a school peon to buy and cook some rotis and vegetables for me ). I was a bachelor then, and this was sufficient for my needs. In the night I would give free tuition in lantern light to students weak in maths and science. Later, due to family pressures I came back home and started law practice in the Allahabad High Court ( where I later became a Judge ).
I told the young man that idealism is a good thing, but one should also be realistic. He did not seem to have any realistic plan, and in all probability would later regret what he did ( if he survived at all )
He then asked me what he should do ? I told him that he should first know India, for how could he serve a country if he did not even know it ? To know India I advised him to read all my blogs on justicekatju.blogspot.in and my facebook posts. After he has done so, and this will take a few months, I will advise him what to do next