Friday, February 7, 2014

Am I a good person?

I enjoyed reading the novel, Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat.
It chronicles the story of three Indian youth as they struggle with exams, romance, careers, success, and personal identity. The backdrop is India's highly competitive education system.

Bopal and Raghav face the intense pressure associated with the slim chance of getting into one of the highly selective IIT's [Indian Institutes of Technology]. [500,000 students take an exam for 10,000 places].
Their exam performance and rank defines not just their future career prospects, but also their personal identity and worth.

Bopal fails to make the cut and never goes to university. But, later he is involved in setting up a private college, under the patronage of a corrupt local politician. The story highlights the level of corruption and expediency associated with the establishment of some of these private colleges.
By some measures Bopal is very successful, proudly owning a Mercedes and living in the luxurious bungalow for the Director. But, two things he does not have he pines for. One is the heart of Aarti, the common love interest and childhood friend of both Bopal and Raghav. Only in the last pages of the novel do we see the second thing Bopal yearns for: to be told "you are a good person".

Where does this yearning for moral affirmation and acceptance come from? How can it be satisfied?
Are the words of another frail and flawed human enough? Or can only God counting us a righteous be sufficient?

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