Which way should India go?

Which way should India go? Has democracy failed? Everything has failed. Are we all corrupt and unfair? Only politicians and business house are corrupt? I would know the answer If I were Amartyasen. Gandhi knew that the corruption and dishonesty had taken over the country. British period is remembered by many Indians as an honest time. Truth is far from it.  Rajahs and Mughals were also occupied in manipulation and covetousness. Are we unhappy that now everybody has share of it? Conventionally wealth and power belonged to rulers and elites.  About 95% people had  only 1% of the wealth. Everything belonged to the king and his men. Things are changing fast. All want to become rich and powerful. It is not very difficult either. More people are entering the club of rich and famous.. The earning involves the complicated and competitive methods. For some time things were slow. But then it turned into crazy war fare of wealth making. In the war of making money and gaining power all became fair. Brokers, agents and consultants are natural members of this war. With everyday, more complicated and remotely controlled. Internet technology added to the sophistication of the techniques.  

After gaining freedom from British Raj, our leaders worked hard for creating a frame for governing the free India. Efforts were made to learn from the democracies of West to work on the Constitution of India. UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia and others were studied. It does not lie in my capacity to cast shadow on the ability of our Nation Builders. At the same time, they must be facing challenge of de learning the influence of Western Societies where they had received their education. Many were also elite due to their wealthy and upper caste backgrounds. While they had magnanimous heart for poor, they failed to see the exploitative tendencies of market owners and caste divide. Soon we were busy with minimum need model. Education, Health and   Economic status became central. Soon, it took form of rhetoric.  Issues of equity, justice and accountability had to wait. By the time, they came on agenda, the smart and privileged had already taken over all systems, jobs, resources and benefits. The elite and strong were deciding the priorities. It also opened unlimited opportunity of amassing wealth the resources for political and administrative agencies. Lack of accountability let loose the plundering of national assets for personal ownership. The elements of contemporary Indian society became more pronounced. Caste domination, feudal character and wealth gave natural advantages to some groups. But majority suffered as always. It had to happen. All our policies and regulation were interpreted in favor of the powerful.

Noble intentions were not enough. Human nature is governed by the selfish and worldly factors. It requires conditioning and internalization of a value system. It comes over a long period. It also comes as part of vision and long term of plan. Our leaders were good orators and thinkers but poor planners. The tug of war for power between politicians and the civil servants started influencing the performance of the Government. It hurt badly the pace of change at the level of family of the poor and weak. But it did not stop the emergence of a western educated and technology based growth of a fortunate segment of India.  They were rich. They were at highest positions in the Government and business houses. They were moving out of the Nation for more prosperity and freedom. Many started finding India not livable place. They were writing on the problems of the poor. They were also guiding the Government on the policy and planning. External experts were also busy with the future direction of the country. Gandhi wanted rural population to become self reliant. But he could not create a mechanism for this. Very few people differed with him. How to do and what to do become limited to writing and translation of books and conference. Since, we failed to provide a national perspective, other forces occupied the space. The Western way of thinking and life style became most acceptable options. Western thinking got defined as materialistic outlook. In the process, we missed totally the social and political processes of the west. Dignity of labour, equal rights of all, duties of a citizen were missing in our interpretation of the west.  We never imbibed the true meaning of patriotism. For us it meant fight with Pakistan and China. We enjoyed in wasting rare national resources and refusing to perform in Government job. The ability of person was substituted by recommendations and connections.  Public in general fell pray to God, destiny and brokers. They were helpless. No amount of profound intentions can bring an iota of change. A society already with stark caste and class divide can not be changed by some rules and weedy administrative mechanism.  The country is hostage in the hands of politicians, civil servants, business house and media. Above all the international politics and market control us. Social activism at the best monitors and checks the violation. It has failed to affect the basic equation between people and the dominant forces. Business local or external is business. It is based on profit. The decision on profit is further linked to investment and production.  Here, all one can hope that humanism demands lowest possible profit should be taken from the poor.

At this juncture if I  were a noble laureate or a thinker, I could forecast the future of India. From the deep analysis, may be it would become possible to tell what is to come. Is that the case? Is it really so complicated that the mind of a learned man should be disturbed? Is it not easy to see that Indian market will be full of products of other countries? Internet will play a very significant role in our lives and society. Sex will be a road side issue. Food will be divided in three broad categories- Health and environment conscious, careless and the poor. First two will have all that they like. Industry is gearing up for that scale. It will have Indian franchisee. But control will be outside. Food for poor will be a major problem. Government is finding hard to manage the food supply chain. Activists feel that Government is not sensitive to the problems of poor. This is tricky. Who is poor and how many are poor?  It is never ending debate in our country. From one angle, most people are poor and want to be counted as below poverty line people, farmer, tribal, dalits and other backward caste. It appears it would reach to about 70% of India’s population. From the growth of markets, institutions, increasing doctors and engineers, and IT professionals and management personals India is anything but the poor. Number of cars, malls hotels and air travels will further weaken the argument in favor of poverty. Are there kinds of poverty? Is there anything like water poverty? Gender poverty?  Poverty of rights?   Poverty of equity?  Marginalization due to life style of forest and mountain dwellers, wandering places and of subsistence farming and cattle rearing. Question of urgency guides our thinking. In current scheme of things, our government does not adequate time to concentrate on the complicated issues. Quick fix, political motives and monetary gains are guiding tools. Political motives are occupying centre stage. Parliamentary democracy has led to a situation where by default poor and honest is eliminated from the elections. Over a period of last 50 or 60 years, with money and influence have found place in the parliament. Politics is in most cases by chance or connection. A small percentage can be said to be joining politics as part of design and long term plan. Coalition government at centre is obliged to listen to the differing opinions. It’s always under threat of withdrawal of support. Any significant change in this situation appears to be unlikely. The MP, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat are in third term of fight. Nitish, Jaya, Biju and Mamta are strong voices of dissent and are successfully asserting their rights. It is also challenging our concept of Central Government. It should be called as federal government. Plenty of thorny issues are cropping up which are leading disputes. States are refusing to follow the programs and obey the instructions on different matters. It is leading to tensions and even affects the Central grants to state.

From all this, a very bleak and dark picture of India is formed. If we add the list of scams of recent and past, we may feel paralysis of thoughts.  Scam after scam is coming up. The credibility of present and past Governments are at stake. All appear to be involved. Both political parties and state Governments are accused of misuse of public money. These may all be correct or wrong. One thing is certain that political rivalries can cause any amount of damage. For winning elections and dethrone the rival, people can stoop to any low. With all this happening, India seems to be doing well in creating new infrastructure and means of communication.  India has vast market for food, fashion and automobiles. But who will take care of staggering population of hungry and marginalized people. These have been uprooted from traditional habitation due to lack of livelihood options in their communities. Their land is lost. Their forest is gone to mega industrial project. It will be unique combination of latest technological growth and sprawling facilities for fun and entrainment. It will also be known as home of largest number of TB cases, malnourished children and girl child being killed in womb. We can feel ashamed that our rural girls are being trafficked into prostitution. Our government services are being allowed to pathetic performance. Our Hospitals and Schools are worst performing services. Our police and administrative machinery is busy with serving their political bosses and mafia groups. Present political and Government bodies have failed to understand and find solution of the ailing Indian masses. The economic interests have hijacked all the vital decision making mechanism.

Ideological clarity is needed if weak and poor are to be empowered. People do not become accountable and transparent without deep rooted sense of responsibility.  These values are borne out of interconnectedness and  self discipline. New phase of India will give birth to a generation of people who will ne scientific in their outlook. They will reject anything less than best .In this society caste and class will have no place. it will be pure emotion of human love and respect.  They will admire the holy purpose of creation  and develop mutually  supportive systems.

Dr. S.K.Singh

Director, Sambhav

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