For a country that has attained its independence in just over 70 years, India seems to be progressing at a very incredible pace, at least on an economic note. India’s age demographic and how this young workforce contributes to the country’s GDP often makes for a stimulating conversation among the Economists all over the world. A country that marches to the beat of a different drum, when almost every country suffered from excessive inflation and an economic depression in 2014, India’s GDP growth remained at a constant 7-8%, which was initially an enigma to the majority. After several economists, both indian and foreign, have thoroughly studied the economics of the country and factors that have led to and continue to lead to such mind-boggling growth percentage figures, one now has concluded among other reasons, that it is the strength of the “young” workforce that is pushing this country to becoming better, more recognized on a world platform, and on a social note slowly but surely dispelling traditional taboos.
For all the respect I have for this country, I have to also be critical in pointing out its shortcomings, for if we only ended up discussing the positive developments, we would eventually become blinded by ego and an unwarranted sense of superiority, and a false one at that.
I found a very interesting quote the other day as I was skimming through an article about Churchill:
This sums up the reality of democracy really well. India calls itself a democracy and on a greater scale, it certainly is. I know very few secular countries that continue to be as harmonious as India despite the enormous linguistic, ethnic and even cultural divide. Yes politicians love to jump the fences, inciting a great amount conflict and turmoil for selfish reasons, but a general sense of harmony seems to, from birth, be imprinted onto the Indian psyche. It is indeed, the political system I speak of, which is highly undemocratic. Political leaders use financial incentives to woo and prey on innocent victims, in the hope of “buying” loyalty, only for the layman to later become disillusioned and even lose hope in the government system.
Another important problem that holds us back as a country is the tribal or clannish mentality that is passed on from generation to generation, father to son, teacher to pupil. Centuries ago, it was always kingdoms that looked out for their own interests so much so that such a mentality subjugated us as a nation to a wave of Colonists, denuding us of our confidence and stripping off a wealth physical resources. Come independence, this mentality took in form of a regional patriotism. Such patriotism exists to this date. With the advent of Globalisation, this has taken the shape of extreme individualism, one that is detrimental to the very growth of our country as a whole. People are so concerned with their own convenience and happiness, that every act committed, is justified. It’s ok to litter in public places because everyone does it so why shouldn’t I? If absolutely fine to drive haphazardly, well because frankly speaking who actually follows the traffic rules? It’s ok for me to cut lines because I’m in a hurry and also because I’m the son of a very important person, which entitles me to such a benefit. So why not take the advantage?
My dear fellow citizens, it is this lack of collective responsibility that prevents us from achieving our real strength. I currently live in Germany and I observe how orderly the citizens of this country are when it comes to following rules and regulations. And not just in the presence of public, but also in their private sphere. I’m often speechless when I see people on the streets late in the night, still waiting for the light at the pedestrian crossing to turn green, when in fact there is absolutely no need for it (given the hour and lack of traffic.) Or how the German folk are hold recycling so dear to heart that they won’t hold back when they see someone mixing up the occasional plastic can with the biodegradable bottle. It is this collective responsibility that has to be taught at the schools, not just taught but be actively put to practice. It is this very responsibility that has allowed a nation to cope with a brutal past and rise again to become a European economic superpower.
How do we achieve this sense of collective responsibility? First of all, it’s not innate to one particular race or a person. The two simple magical words here are education and awareness. We as citizens need to educate ourselves and others around us from very early on and make people aware of it through social media. We shouldn’t hold back from pointing out a mistake. The government needs to impose stringent consequences for rules broken and actually follow such rules. It’s nice to introduce a legislation that sounds so encouraging and promising but fails to be seen through after a fortnight.
Other causes include the socio-economic divide, which plagues almost every country in existence as well as India’s focus on the wrong themes. There is one another evil, which deserves its own blog post and that none other than the most convoluted yet arbitrary “caste” system that prevails in this country. I would like to share my thoughts on these topics on subsequent posts.
Please note that I don’t want to come across cross as some self-righteous arrogant elitist who takes the liberty to point out flaws of a country as a whole, rather I do this out of personal concern, for I have a lot of respect for this nation and its people and believe that we are, considering all that we’ve achieved in such a short period of time, capable of change. We just need to become more aware and take an active role in imparting such awareness to our fellow citizens.