“Oh! The east is east and the west is west, and never the twain shall meet”. Shall they ever meet? 60 years from now on, year 2067, the liberal economists have a positive model, all set up for India. Can the “rich” India actually lurch forward, carrying its “poor” twin, into a sophisticated, independent, global superpower? Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one, but, the point is that (to which hardly anyone would raise their voices), right now we face, and represent a twin, diametrically opposite, basically a triplet, the third one being the “pampered class” of people.
Historically speaking, ever since Alexander’s invasion, began India’s tryst with destiny. With the flow of time, the Mughals, the Dutch, the Portuguese, and finally the British Raj, has left one of south Asia’s most prosperous nation face-to-face with impoverishment, heart-wrenching famines and sowed the seeds for being the “eternally developing nation”. It’s interesting to note what William Dalrymple mentions in one of his articles for the TIME:
In 1600, when the East India Company was founded, Britain was generating 1.8% of the world’s GDP, while India was producing 22.5%. By 1870, at the peak of the Raj, Britain was generating 9.1%, while India had been reduced for the first time to the epitome of a Third World nation, a symbol across the globe of famine, poverty and deprivation.
What caused this huge divide, this breach in the approaching Indian summer? With the glitz that we see, with the digital invasion, the chrome and glass IT centers, with a soaring GDP, the next best to china, what seems like India is wired and wired for good. But the question is that, with so much poverty, the ‘diminishing’ back face of India, how India managed to maintain a high degree of free enterprise despite the striking dark side? Majority of the people in India are below poverty line, yet India is a democracy?
Or a culture of corrupt mindsets?
Experts say that the British gave India the democracy in 1947. But again a question pops up. When should democracy be ideally introduced in a nation? When can democracy be an advantage, and when does it stall progress? Glancing at the world politics, and comparing the democracy in India with other “successful” democratic nation, we may observe that democratic rule in India has been untimely and premature. The western counterparts had a successful stint with democracy has been on the foundation of a strong economic platform. The basic need for democracy to flourish is the base of economic condition of a nation. Citing the example of Japan or Korea they believe in a strong bureaucratic rule, it provides the necessary strong leadership to bring on a string base of economic stability. On one hand democracy in India did bring out the voice of the people to the forefront, but on the reverse side, it has created a sickened distribution of wealth among the people, representing the ugly skeletons of immense social exclusion.
In spite of all the odds, India and democracy has been inseparable entities, and it has shown the democracy isn’t needed but it’s inevitable. Despite all the doomed predictions democracy in India, did rise resulting in making the nation the 3rd largest economies of the world, and if predictions are to be believed India will overtake china by 2030 and the US by 2050, in economic terms. What really made Indian democracy click? It’s like a chaos that survived and is now thriving. What is the secret of success behind India’s untimely and premature democracy? Maybe India’s multi tired constitutional approach, its bottoms up electoral process that is just so perfectly suited for the diverse nature of the nation, may have fuelled the success mantra for India, finally. Even though the growth hasn’t been as striking as its Chinese counterparts, but the recent economic boom can’t be overlooked, nor ignored rest aside its huge poverty stricken mass. Even the fiercest protestors will beg to agree that India has come a long way post-independence. People hardly think of snake-charmers and elephants when they think of India now. The beaming face of India upholds software giants, steel tycoons. Not only do we talk about the IT and the BPO industry, but the telecom, textile, retail, auto, manufacturing and power industries are breathing fire down China’s neck, India’s closest competitor. It’s an open secret how India GDP has grown over 9%, and optimists won’t be disappointed, if India continues the rampage to double figures.
Indian Economy: The Dark Horse?
Is the suffering India the Real India?
All said and done. Growing growth rate, the third largest economy, a predicted double figure growth for the next quarter: in short an “India shining” is on the cards. But what troubles us here, is the inequality in the growing economy. Economists’ state how the absolute poverty is decreasing according to the much-hyped and booming Indian economy, but serious contradictions can be placed when we observe the rise in the relative poverty i.e., the inequality in income. The poorer India however shares very little with its half brother. It’s true that it’s only a matter of time, if India can keep the growth momentum, before poverty can be mostly eradicated, then why do we need to worry about the income inequality? Just because this unequal wealth distribution can evolve into various cancerous possibilities, like social exclusion, medical conditions and health care is just an example. The UN Development report had published the GINI index, where India has figures of 32.5. The GINI index is a measure of the inequality of the income in the nation. This can be termed quite favorable when compared with other countries. But after the neo-liberation reforms this inequality of income is growing fast. And this can cause serious repercussions in the society. It has been observed that health care systems are better designed in richer countries, than countries which are poor. Sole economic growth can never be the scale of India’s development. It can never empower India as a true superpower in the horizon of the first world nations.
The Social Demons
The Reservation Debate: Education
The latest economic reforms have seen the pampered class of people taking multiple leaps, though theoretically and serving only the political motives of our hurly-burly politician class. The debate that raged through the country about the reservation rights of the SCs/STs/OBCs has actually brought up many an ugly facet of modern developed India. 81% of the rural population practice untouchability, when there’s social seclusion so prevalent among the classes of the Indian society. Even though K.R. Narayanan represented Indian president-ship, did the condition of the Dalits decrease? Did they get their rights, their so much desired justice? No. what is this quota fracas? When we have started accepting the SCs and the STs without discrimination, then why the reservation quotient comes from? By reserving seats in the educational institutions, the parliament, the job sectors, aren’t we just fueling the mentality that we are superior to the, in terms of overall performance. But when statistics is counted, the SCs and the STs have a whooping 14% into the IITs and the IIMs admitted as general candidates. When the socially backward people don’t have the means to get even the primary education completed, how does the question arise of any higher education? Where did this history of reservation quotas take India, if not any near prosperity? Just to fill the vote banks of our ever thirsty “political” castes.
India has to get the basics rights, otherwise the future picture can as distorted as future economists predict. Isn’t providing education to a child till he is 14 years of age a fundamental duty of the parents? But are they being properly executed? The government should take enough initiatives so that the measures are followed. And we Indians have this total dependency on the ruling government to provide us education, social security, economic stability, as we shun all responsibilities. Is this approach correct? Isn’t this a negative mind set that have set in? We take our government for granted. We take our freedom for granted and the worst of it all we take our self-respect for granted, but strikingly different is our mindset in any developed foreign country.
The empowerment of the women, in India has indeed been one of the most talked over matters. The abolition of sati and the child marriage to Indira Gandhi and Prativa Patil, these definitely hold up a broader picture about the women getting their rights, looking at matters closely, they have hardly been significant achievement. With the principle of gender equality in our constitutional preamble, could we really get any where near the goal that we set for us? Women are still facing immense gender discrimination, when justice doesn’t come easy on the cards. There are still miles to go in here…
Can India live Kalam’s dream?
60 years of the Independence.
350 Millions Of our people live in poverty.
23crore and 30 lakh people live in starvation.
We have hardly any social justice.
Virtually no social security.
Health care, sanitation, education, infrastructure, drinking water, food, are still main concerns what Dr. Kalam perceives as the developed India of 2020
We make our voices hoarse, we strain our vocal chords, but why can’t we at the same time make strides in moving forward, with a dream of making this country a global strength. After rummaging through all the information, I find 80% of the articles, as negatives, and the rest 20% positives. Yes. We should criticize, but that should be constructive criticism. If we don’t voice our opinions, who will..? If we don’t break all hell loose, to the path of elevation, in India’s undaunted, infinite potential, who will? But, yes we must keep this in mind, that we should also fulfill our commitments, do our parts for our country. We are so busy criticizing the government for their inadequacy, that we forget our own responsibilities. The same we, that cursed our huge population, are seeing it as source of immense man power. We don’t acknowledge our achievements. Our media is so negative, in all respects. If we don’t dream Kalam’s dream, who will?
What we think we are, we are.
The dream peddler
8th August 7, 2007