Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hope for India are its leaders

It was on August 15, 1947 that India got Independence from more than a century of British rule. India and many other countries that were colonized suffered severe economic, cultural and spiritual decline. The British used all tools to break the back of the spirit of the colonized people. In their drive to exploit and maintain economic and racial superiority, they have destroyed all life supports of the colonized people. As I read the autobiographies of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, I realized how generations of people suffered racial discrimination and unfathomable suffering.

Economically India had a fine fabric and cloth industry before the British occupied.  The British would export all raw cotton from India to England and then sell the finished products to India in return making huge profits and killing the local industry. All kinds of injustices were levied. The people have borne all these suffering for a hundred years and at last under the leadership of great leaders selfless like Mahatma Gandhi, Tilak, Nehru and many others, the country got independence. This was only sixty years back. Just imagine the jubilations on the independence day and the aspirations of the people of free country. I am sure every one aspired for a country where inequality and other injustices will somehow end and people will come to realize their brotherhood and humanity and reject communal-ism and other narrow mindedness.

On this momentous day the first Indian Prime minister Nehru asked,"Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.
It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.
At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again.
The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?"
We have made great strides in science and technology, revived many life streams for proper functioning of the country. We have a proper functioning democracy where people are free to choose their representatives and hope to see their aspirations and hopes realized. But the culture and the spirit of the people which was deeply injured could not revive soon. For a culture to revive we need good education and government services that can kindle and empower the spirit of the people. Still India is poor. Vast majority of people do not have access to any education and health care, which are available and free in western nations.

The burning desire for free India and emancipation that was in the hearts of the freedom fighters has evaporated with the travel of time. Having the freedom, people no more think of the country or of social good. They have become self absorbed, It was a natural consequence after independence for the people were devastated by the economic policies of the British. People had to find and revive a way to live and fend their families. The government was not strong enough. Leaders were hostile to the idea of capitalism after experiencing the exploits of the colonizers. Nehru was more inclined towards socialism which promised equality and class 
extinction. Unfortunately, this did not create a favorable climate for private investments and competition. The state owned industries made major investments and employment. However, this was not enough for the vast majority were unemployed and also killed private competition. 
When people are scrambling for money, they become corrupt. Each family thinks of itself, to survive and see the next day. Let us not forget that during the British rule millions died in famines. It is sickening now even to think of a situation like that. Whatever the conditions were, Indians have become self absorbed after independence. The spirit of Nationalism is diverted to communal ism and joyfully exploited by some politicians. 

Now politicians promise televisions and free dinner in return for votes. Corruption, rowdyism and whole breed of indecent behavior, blaming each other regional parties has become the new norm. No one takes responsibility. To the rich man of India I ask this question: Is it good for your son or daughter to move in a rich car and live in a rich neighborhood surrounded by 
children that live in shanties and walk bare foot and beg and live in dire straits? All the money that the rich and powerful hoard for their children will only be a false security. When people all around us are unhappy how is it possible for us as humans to be happy. No matter how apathetic we are, there is a always a small part of us that is unhappy about the surrounding and people who are suffering. 

Cultural Amnesia

Culturally too, India has hit a new low after the Independence. With vast majority in poverty, how can the poor man think of society? But now that the country is reviving economically, it is imperative that at least some take this opportunity seriously. India should be a new light and people in this country should bring new hope for the world. This country that is the mother to two great religions, Hinduism and Buddhism should revive its past glory. We have to bring to India  pragmatism of the west with the wisdom of our eastern philosophy. 

We humans forget the past and with poor education, the youth loses touch with the lives and  histories of its great leaders. Each generation needs new leaders who can be examples of purity and sacrifice. India is in need of such great leaders now. It is when the majority feels safe and comfortable and forgets the responsibility, that a keen leader shows thorough is example of purity and sacrifice and knowledge that our mission has not been accomplished. our mission has not been accomplished till the poor of India get good education and health care, till our culture is not revived and till the distinct character of the nation is not expressed completely in the world. 

Now we see rampant corruption, crime and lawlessness and brutality of the politicians. Hoarding of money to win the next election and inciting majority against the minority and divisive politics has become the norm. We need a leader who can  bring unity to its peoples.
With power comes responsibility and in a democracy when power is misused their should be mechanisms to curb them. If there are none, new leadership with the help of tireless lovers of democracy should bring that change so that no minister or powerful person can use his power indiscriminately and irresponsibly and go unpunished.  

Indian economy is reviving but the underclass has no support. The government has to do a better job of bringing equality in the population. We need good schools and health care access for the poor. We need a government that works for the poor and not for corporate welfare. Naturally, the failure of the capitalistic economy is that the powerful and the rich have control over vast majority of resources in the society. They have great influence over commerce, business and politics. This is where new great leaders can bring a change. New leaders with the help of new uprising can put pressure on the politicians to bring about changes for the good of the people and not the corporates. Of course, corporates are also a part of national life. But
policies should not be inclined in making the rich richer and poor poorer. In the long run
this calamitous even to the corporate interests for the poor will one day riot the corporates if all their needs are neglected. 

Capitalism and its drawbacks

Capitalism encourages creativity and it has its place in economics of the nation. But it has its limitations. Welfare economics and role of government is also essential. Equality cannot be brought about only with capitalistic system. The countries that are most equal are the Norwegian countries where they have a huge safety net for the people. The role of government is huge in India. But at the same time one has to be weary that a corrupt government cannot bring about the necessary changes to education and health services. It is imperative that 
the government has to be cleaned of its corrupt practices. No corporate has the money or the willingness to bring changes to the educational system in the country. The corporate have  to show profits to their owners. Their job is not to bring clean water, good health and education to the people. It is only the government that can bring these changes. 

Politics is a complicated and rival game. Man is ruthless when it comes to acquiring and maintaining power. But love of our country should override party politics. Politics should not be a weapon to divide people. No matter who the creator is, we all have the same one and what religion we follow does not make a difference to the creator. Divisive politics should end. 
To be more specific, I would like to comment on the BJP party. Recently their have channeled their energies towards teaching a lesson to the separatists in Kashmir. Knowing the history of disputed area from more than half a century the BJP leadership is playing divisive politics to gain more votes for the next election. This kind of politics are most injurious to the country now. If BJP wants to rule the country and come to power, they have to follow and obey the constitution of India and respect the right to live and choose for all peoples of India. They have to stop this bullying the people of other religions. India is a secular state and they should refrains from all these useless activities. This kind of aggression only brings bad rap for the whole hindu religion, which always was open to other religions and to a pluralistic society. 

New leadership needed

I am very hopeful that new leaders will emerge and also with the help of selfless people will bring about the policy changes in the functioning of the government. No matter who it is, if one is corrupt and misusing ones freedom, the right place is the jail. One cannot be free and also 
bring harm to the society. All are equal citizens. No human can empower and suppress others. 
For the good of ourselves one has to do everything in ones means to help these selfless workers and leaders for the future of our children is depended on a clean government. The future of our children is not dependent on how much money we hoard of them. What is life  when there is poverty and suffering all around us and we alone live in a golden castle.  
At the same time our leaders should know our people and their religion. Since India is a vastly religious country, our leaders have to know our people and their culture. All the great leaders of the independence movement knew and revived the culture with the help of religion. Although a secular country, there is still a place for religion that is pluralistic and open to other religions. 

I agree that there are limits for what an individual can do for the society. No matter what the limits there is some responsibility of every citizen to care for the society. After all the society is also our extended family. We have to revive the burning spirit of the selfless freedom fighter who fought during hostile and adverse situations. Let us not forget the great sacrifices of thousands of unnamed citizens who gave everything for our freedom. Let us live up to their aspirations. 

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