India @ 70! Happy Independance Day
Happy Independance Day to all my blog readers. Today we are celebrating 70 years of India’s Independance. I have been inactive with this blog due to some personal reasons, hoping to keep this blog active and interactive as much as I can.
On this day, today as we celebrate I-Day all over India, I have one question pondering my mind for sometime now. Are we morally rich? Are we materially rich? After 70 years, did we get matured enough to grow and develop to face the other developed nations of the world.
Our 70 years of Independence have been, mainly, an era of lost opportunities and lost morality. The first four decades after Independence saw an inward-looking search for socialist self-sufficiency that failed miserably.
India became an economic laggard, overtaken speedily by economically liberal countries like Singapore, Korea and Thailand. Indians sneered that these fast-growing counties were western puppets that would soon come to a sorry end. Instead, these supposed puppets quickly became ten times richer than India.
Our poverty ratio remained stagnant till 1977 while the population almost doubled. So, the absolute number of poor almost doubled after the British left. Anybody who predicted this in 1947 would have been called a traitor. That sums up how badly we bungled.
Fortunately, India started on a new, liberal path in 1991, and after a decade reaped large dividends. Today India is the fastest growing major economy in the world. It has proved that even a messy democracy can become a miracle economy. It lifted 138 million people above the poverty line between 2004 and 2011.
And yet our success has a hollow ring. If asked what they are most ashamed of in the last 70 years, people will point to the political class. At Independence, we were proud of our politicians. They had, after decades of suffering and imprisonment, ended colonial rule, using not armed force but non-violence and moral force. In 1947, we felt materially poor but morally rich, and held our heads high. Today we feel materially much richer but morally bankrupt.
Like business houses, most political parties remain in the hands of their original promoters. This is one reason why, despite our boast of democracy, 70 per cent of Indians in a World Values Survey were for “a strong leader who doesn’t have to answer to Parliament”.
Justice remains outrageously slow, and cries out for reform. Without quick justice, law-breakers gain an advantage over law-abiders in every field, from politics to business to the professions. Lawbreakers have become law-makers: the number of elected members of parliament facing criminal charges has risen from 158 in 2009 to 186 in 2014.
One chief minister (Lalu Yadav) and a quasi-chief minister (Sasikala) have been jailed for corruption. This points to the India we need by the 100th anniversary of Independence. It should be one where Indians feel not just materially but morally rich.
There are still many hollow areas which needs to be addressed by the Government which can make India and Indian morally rich in all terms, when compared to the other developed nations.