Talking Shop: We need George Foremans

The name is but a synonym for someone who can be tough, aggressive and yet compassionate. That’s someone who fights the odds and gets life back on track

Talking Shop: We need George Foremans

“I am so happy to be alive.

That’s the one thing I’d like

people to know. Sometimes,

people slip up and say wrong

things about me. I smile. It’s

becoz I’m happy to be alive.”

George Foreman

Learning something new is always a blessing and I try and do it each day, even though I have no quest for a new job or further emoluments and increments. Why? One, I have no job but my life is nonetheless chugging along, though I admit my bank balance is not keeping apace. That’s okay. For each day, I learn things that astound, depress and inspire me, in abject unison. That’s remarkable and something that you have to experience personally to understand and get a true grasp on. In our country today, we need someone to be tough and aggressive, yet compassionate—someone who will fight the odds and get us back on the growth track and the tract to being a global economic juggernaut. Who is that going to be? I have no clue, for I am no soothsayer. I have no intention of being one either.

That gets me to the hero of this column, George Foreman, a boxer beyond compare who regained his lost World Heavyweight Champion medal 20 years after losing it. The fact that he embraced preacher-hood and excelled at it in the meantime is incredible, quite phenomenal. Today, we need a grounding as solid and a director who is solider for our nation, be it a Michael, Rahim, Gurmeet or Shambhu, so long as this gent or lady shepherds us to economic growth, brotherhood and milks the industrial prowess that we indubitably possess. If you get the drift of this piece, I am not talking politics, but only a guttural language for India’s betterment and solidarity. I don’t care who is king or queen; I just feel that we need more than a Shakaal or Mogambo to pat their bald pates and comment ‘khush hua’ after every onslaught. Where is this going, you ask? Well, you shall know.

Some heady Foremans

An IPS officer in Uttar Pradesh was transferred a day after stopping riots when the kaanwads (religious road-walkers) drew swords and threatened the police. And you and I thought kaanwads only carried holy water! We need a George Foreman to stop this menace, which is ours alone. A Delhi High Court judge got transferred soon after he questioned the police on patrol in February 2020, for their seeming complicity in the said riots. We need that Foreman too. Over the last few years, many Judges and law-enforcers have been mysteriously found dead days after their judgment that defied and denied the authorities. These Foremans are gone now, but we need many more like them, and there are enough waiting to come out of the embankments of professional ostracization. We just need to give them the breathing space and confidence that they shall be allowed to follow their chosen careers with dedication and morality. We need these Foremans.

A woman set up an NGO many decades ago and has since helped India’s intellectually-challenged youngsters, changing their very lives, so much so that many have managed to leave aside the miasma of their past and are now leading normal lives. Ladakh would have been a foregone success if we had awarded solar power initiatives to the people of this region and ensured that they get their deserved share in revenues, not just big private players who intend to milk this remote region too. In the same Union Territory, there could be undescribable mineral and other resources below the Earth, just as lithium was found in Jammu and Kashmir. Someone needs to share the earnings with the people who have toiled in the harsh area for eons. We need these Foremans.

Media and personal savings

We have seen and heard of enough instances in the media where so-called reporters have sold their ethic and soul, yet now reign supreme, while those sticking to their journalistic truism and guns are running out of bullets, some even losing their well-earned and deserved jobs. A few of the latter have landed behind bars for bizarre reasons. With political idioms now blacklisting this bunch of shameless mavericks, they are crying foul and threatening all or nothing. This too shall pass. We need these Foremans.

On a personal level, Indian’s individual savings have fallen by nearly 50 per cent over the last couple of years, from Rs 22 lakh crore to Rs 13 lakh crore, according to a report by the Reserve Bank of India. Sure, COVID-19 had a dreadful impact, but the continuing economic slowdown, lost jobs and the result of people dipping into their savings to keep home and hearth running has led to this torrid financial situation in crores of households. We should take a moment here and rescind to the global meltdown of 2008, when India was one of the few nations to buck the depressing global trend, thanks to astute economic thinking, guidance and leadership. We need those Foremans.

Finally, a grim rejoinder of what is happening in India’s glorious mountains, which are now crumbling and capsizing. This has not happened before, thanks to careful planning and invigorated thinking for centuries. Well, it is happening now, thanks to runway corruption, mafias and a greed for more wealth, both amongst the masses and the classes. Well, the classes have all but got away scot-free, while the masses are now facing the brunt, with these ill-begotten structures now disappearing into the raging river water gushing down the mighty Himalayas.

What more do I say?

I shall give you some famous last words today, for mine are insignificant. Real people have to learn to be Foreman, you and I included. The voice of real people is the only answer in this situation, one that gets the powers that be to sit up, take notice and bring about a discernible change in the lives of the average Indian Joe or Jane. Else, the lament shall continue and we shall keep going antsy and pantsy, cursing the powerful. That is not even an inkling of the solution—the only way forward is to rise to the occasion, as Foreman did. Let me conclude with Lemony Snicket, who said: “It is very unnerving to be proven wrong, particularly when you are really right and the person who is really wrong is proving you wrong and proving himself, wrongly, right.”

Does that sound familiar? It should—people who have no clue what they are talking about are ruling and roost and calling the shots. We, the intermediaries caught dead-centre, are paying a hefty price for their lack of intellectual process, myopia and lack of a long-term vision.

The writer is a veteran journalist and communications specialist. He can be reached on Views expressed are personal

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