Sunday, August 17, 2014

Howdy gentle readers ,

The last time that I wrote about a serious socio-political issue was way back in the August of 2011. It's about time that i come up with something new. This being the sole week in the year when all Indians turn patriotic, let this be a small contribution from my side, as an add-on to this overall patriotic fervor.

India - 68*

PM NaMo had delivered a bodacious speech at Lal Quila on the Independence day. Our vibrant media has indeed left no stone unturned in analyzing each and every single word that was uttered by him in that hour long speech. So most definitely, I'm not getting into its nitty-gritties. The wider point being that, most of these media houses did give a big thumps up to his speech. On a personal level, it did feel good to see the Prime Minister deliver an extempore speech, which was so refreshing, compared to the dull and dreary speeches we used to hear from the former Prime Ministers. This is not to say that the speech was flawless. He did  miss out on some important issues ( corruption for example ). At the end of the day, speeches are all about perceptions, and perceptions have everything to do with the listeners. Considering the popularity of NaMo in the country, it would be safe to assume that the number of people who found fault with his speech would indeed be a minority.

1947 - 2014

A Brief History of Time

( Nope. Not related to Mr.Stephen Hawking )

Lets go back in time, shall we ? To the time when the likes of  Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose & Bhagath Singh  lived. No discussion about nationalism and patriotism would be complete without paying tribute to these noble men. They fought for the idea of India, for the future of its citizenry. The wars that they waged, the struggles they went through, the countless sacrifices they made, all will stand the test of time. These men epitomizes Patriotism for me. Herein comes a set of cliched but very pertinent questions.

Are we, the future citizens for whom they fought for, upholding their values ?
Are we giving them the respect and admiration that they truly deserve ?    
Are we, as a society, forgetting the fallen martyrs ? 

"Lest we forget the fallen soldiers of yesterday"

This is the context in which we must analyze the trajectory that India took, after its hard fought independence from the British-Raj. Immediately after independence, the freedom fighters turned politicians, began to set a course for the future of India. They imagined an India free from poverty, an India where every citizen enjoyed equal rights, a prosperous and self sufficient India. The course was set and the journey started. Thus began the story of Modern India.

The initial decades after independence were the foundation years. Democracy began to flourish in India, albeit with difficulties. Growth was sluggish, but the people were optimistic. Back then, world economy wasn't as integrated as it is today. The government had tight control over most of the economic activities in the country. Decades rolled by, slowly but steadily India moved forward. By the late 80's situation had changed dramatically. India could no longer afford to be isolated from the world economy. Out of utmost necessity, India finally embraced liberalization. Growth began to pick up. Foreign and home grown business conglomerates began investing in India. Economic activities increased. From being an under developed country, India soon acquired the tag as a 'developing country'.

This sudden influx of money, and the ensuing economic hyperactivity had major impact in our developmental ideologies. Crony capitalism took over the minds of rich corporates and the ruling politicians alike. Development was no longer about poverty alleviation and social equality, rather it became a mere number at the hands of politicians and their economic advisers. The people in the lower strata of the society were the most affected. The very Government they voted to power, began neglecting them. Development became synonymous with growth rates and balance sheets. The ideals of our forefathers and the freedom fighters were forgotten.

The situation has come to such a stage that the number of poor people in India is much more than that of the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa put together. Is this the India that our freedom fighters fought for ? Even the common people are turning a blind eye to the plight of the poor. How can we, as a country and as a society move forward, if we maintain this collective apathy to the people in the lower strata of our society ?

There are no easy answers for these questions. There needs to be a complete overhaul of our mindsets. The speeches given by our politicians and leaders on poverty alleviation are nothing but empty rhetoric. A country would never be able to move forward if a huge chunk of the population doesn't even have a basic sustenance for living.

The Road Ahead,

Vision 2020 or Mirage 2020 ?

There is this book, India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium, written by our much beloved former President, Mr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam. The vision, as envisaged by him, is to make India a developed nation by the year 2020.

 A little too far fetched, a tad too improbable is all i can say to him. 

It was a vision, a dream and it would remain just so. A fairy tale dream. I don't want to sound too much as a skeptic, but reality can hit you hard. 2020 is too small a time frame for achieving such large a dream. We'll have to put decades of effort, if we ever are to become a truly developed country and society. Just wishful thinking won't do anything to change the status quo. The change will have to begin from us. Yes each one of us. Nothing short of that would do.

Inclusive Growth - The One and Only Answer.

India is the largest democracy in the world today. Many Governments have come and gone. So have the Planning Commissions and their five year plans. Did these successive governments serve the purpose ? Did these "five year plans" get executed as per the plan ?

If you consider corporate profitability as the sole criteria for measuring the success of these governments, then yes. They were highly successful. In all other respects of social justice, it just doesn't hold up. The need for the day is inclusive growth. Of course, it is the buzz word among the political class, used just to earn political brownie points. If only these ruling class and their economic advisers sit together and devise a proper strategy to bring about an inclusive growth, paving the way for a much needed social revolution, will India be able to truly become a global super power.

All hope is not lost. The wind of change is definitely blowing. People are increasingly getting frustrated by seeing poverty all around them. There is a palpable change in the attitude, particularly among the youth of our country. This will surely push the government to take concrete steps towards poverty alleviation. Let's just hope that the people in power would give as much importance to poverty alleviation as they are giving to Special Economic Zones and Industrial Corridors.

Jai Hind.


Narendran Mappat said...

Wow, amazing post dude

sree said...

Thought provoking blog dude..keep writing....:)

mukesh said...

'All hope is not lost. The wind of change is definitely blowing. People are increasingly getting frustrated by seeing poverty all around them' , really ? may be am a bit negative here but the youth of our nation seems to be more concerned about the version of android in their smartphones !

mukesh said...

and completely agree with your very first observation , this is the week when everyone suddenly turns patriotic , and that include doing incredibly difficult things like changing whatsapp pic and fb profile pic to indian flag ! phew ! some hard work that is :)

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