Monday, March 23, 2009

Is it really "sab chalta hai"?

It has been more than a month since the last post. Just got lost in blogosphere. I am following a few blogs and the allotted time for blogging got taken up in reading what others are writing.Also changed my employment status from "not working, just a housewife" to working full-time. So a major chunk of the day now gets spent at the work place.

I have been thinking of the phrase "sab chalta hai" for quite some time. Have been meaning to write on it. Suddenly this phrase is everywhere- ya, well the phrase has been a big part of our Indian vocabulary for a long time. But with the media now lapping it up, suddenly everybody is talking about it.

We indians have been blessed with an accomodating nature. We have always been open to people visiting our lands(and then going on to colonise us, that is a different story). We have been open to testing the waters of foreign lands(and then opening indian grocery stores and dosa shacks there, that is our story).I think our "sab chalta hai" attitude really helped us in our endeavours back then. 'Coz it really must not have been easy when the "goras" looked down on us,the "bloody indians", in our own country. 'Coz it really must not have been easy working and holding our own in a foreign land where the weather as well as the general public was heartless and unforgiving. "Sab chalta hai", these days too shall pass. With this attitude driving us, we persevered. The tough times passed and the world recognised our worth. Mission Accomplished!

But now what. What are we doing with our "sab chalta hai" attitude? Is it really driving us to glory as it had once done or has it now become our bane? Have we taken our "sab chalta hai" too seriously and stopped complaining and fighting for what's right? Are we using "sab chalta hai" in the same manner that we use a cloth to blindfold us, to avoid the harsh realities outside? Hasn't "sab chalta hai" become a byword for not having to take a stand on unpleasant happenings? A phrase preceeding the action of looking away and walking off from whatever we are unwilling to take an action on!

The acts we are performing under the umbrella of "sab chalta hai" range from the inane to the serious. But they have one thing in common, they are collectively destroying our glorious nation!

Atithi Devo Bhave- But i must cheat, exploit and have my fill of the "gori-chamdi" tourist! "SAB CHALTA HAI"

Public property- Well i have paid for it so i can do as i please with it. Destroy it when i am angry and protesting, paste my posters on it , deface and dirty it- kuch nahin hota, knock off the pavement/lights when i am driving drunk- if i don't do it someone else will. "SAB CHALTA HAI"

Scams, bribes, cheatings- Whats the harm. Everybody is doing it. No point in being Raja Harishchandra in this era. "SAB CHALTA HAI"

Breaking every rule of every kind- Rules are meant for breaking. I know when i go abroad i will not break rules. I will get caught and fined exorbitantly. But in India- "SAB CHALTA HAI"

Taking law in our own hands- Murders,thrashings, rioting, goonda-gardi, defiling art, moral policing. Have to do it. Lending the police a hand. Police bechhari kya-kya karegi. "SAB CHALTA HAI"

Have we not let this "sab chalta hai" demon engulf us totally? What is it that will awaken us and take charge of our lives and our country once again? How many more Jessica Lals before the powerful learn to respect the law? How many more Aman Kachroos before the perpetrators of ragging see it as a friendly "breaking of ice" rather than as a means of sadistic pleasure? How many more BMW episodes before the drunk as well as the under-aged are scared to sit behind the wheel of a car? How many more Scarletts before we learn to treat tourists as guests to our country and not take advantage of them?

The "sab chalta hai" is no longer really working to our advantage. It has made us and our country a huge mass of inactivity. In the international community it has given us the label of "nothing works here".

Isn't it about time we shed this casual attitude to everything and made things work for us and for our country? We could start by concsiously voting out the bad elements and voting for some change in these general elections. Take charge, nahin toh "chaulbe na". Jai Ho!


  1. Mudita,

    Sab Nahin Chalta Hai when you or your near ones are the victims. But if it is next door neighbour, Sab Chalta Hai. We really need to get out of this attitude as if it is next guy today it could be me tommorow.

    I was looking for your reply to my comment on your previous post. If you find time, do visit me. I would appreciate your views.

    Take care

  2. Hi Mudita,

    Thanks for your comments on my blog. So now I too will be following yours.



  3. Maybe you have better insight into things or it is your ability to think and communicate clearly. It's a joy to read.

  4. A nice insightful post. :)

    We'd all like to start big, but I think if each individual made a bit of an effort to think beyond their oh-so-important selves, we'd make some progress. :)

  5. Thrilled with your comments, specially the "insight" bit! Tks folks.Mudita.

  6. Yes Mudita, I value your thoughts. If we shift from being INDIFFERENT, we can certainly build a nation that is humanely INCREDIBLE!! The journey is on...

    Wishing you the very best..

    Love and wishes,


  7. I saw the phrase "sab chalta hai" in a scan of a Indian newspaper article about bad traffic that a friend sent me. Thanks for helping me better understand this phrase and its role in Indian culture.

    (in Taiwan)

  8. great one...
    how about a post focusing on the approach to solve this issue!!!

  9. Agreeing with the rot of "Sab Chalta hai", Who to blame and how to avoid it?
    My recent view seems to be we understand the real vedanta and spirituality - the clean, simple one (not the superficial, material way of praying for favors or dumb idol or inhuman rituals) but "Bramhan - the real thing". I feel that model has answers to almost all - unfortunately they are very "counter intuitive" (For example - The person with minimal needs is richest). In this fast food and instant gratification realm it seems far fetched that as a society we can understand and work with this counter intuitive logic always. It seems more likely some tragedies can shake up people and realize.
    Or many (one is hard) very inspiring leaders who can articulate such values and sacrifice for it, That will be a big thing to put together.

    I feel the biggest problem is our approach, it is on the downward spiral. First an inability to be satisfied, then not caring to hurt others and the system around. Then system becomes more hostile and people are more hostile - a viscous cycle . We need to turn the tide in the opposite - not easy. But on our part we will be doing an awesome job if we strive and carve out high values per individual and wait for a big storm. It will come and hope we will be our best ready metaphorically - grooming ourselves, our kids, our neighborhood .... as much as we able but believe.

    Finally I lived most of my life with the superficial religion and god(s),it feels sad and amazing most live and die the same. When the vedanta type (I don't know much either but have an interesting view) are so simple and powerful model are better than "Capitalism" or "Socialism" or "Communism" but as I said that whole view is a bit counter intuitive and against the material way of thinking. Note vedanta I am referring is not the basic dumb religious bigotry prevalent. Live Humble but confident - Humfident!

  10. 4 years since this post was written. Haven't things moved just a bit towards the better. Yes there are still crimes of every nature being committed across the length and breadth of the country. But, the amazing thing is that the masses are beginning to find their voice. Non-political street gatherings and candle-light protests have become a medium of expressing dissent for the huge educated, enraged but law-abiding middle class. The protests may be quiet but it is the numbers that draw attention. Present day Gandhigiri!
    Who would have thought of that 4 years back!
    Am now hopeful that we can do it and make things work in our nation.