Look beyond what we want to see, to see what the reality is
The self-sufficiency India has achieved in food is no small feat. We are also proud of our achievement in the frontier of science and technology. But, we must look beyond what we want to see, to see what the reality is. The reality is disturbing that it should infuse in us imminent sense of crisis. Whether we notice or not, these realities are likely to pose danger for the future of India. It cannot be kept at bay. We will have to grasp our very own bull by its horns, but there are blinkers on our eyes that prevent us from seeing the truth. Hypocrisy creates gap between substance and image, but now the time for such sterile dichotomies is over. The future of India in this new millennium will be determined solely by the unity of citizens to forge an integral vision that inspires us to think and embrace the good of all Indians.
By r.k. jenny
Though India is the largest democracy, we can derive satisfaction about the fact that we have retained our unity and sense of nationality in spite of often bewildering diversities. The self-sufficiency we have achieved in food is also no small feat. We can also legitimately be proud of some of our achievement in the frontier areas of science and technology. All of these are important element in assessing the strength of the foundation on which we hope to build the edifice of our future.
However, there is something contrary to the feel good picture. We must look beyond what we want to see, to see what the reality is. The reality is disturbing. Indeed it is so disturbing that it should infuse in us an imminent sense of crisis. Sixty years after independence we have over 300 million people, who live below the poverty line and go hungry to bed every night. This means that the entire population of India in 1947 is today living in poverty which is by any standard the starkest definition of deprivation. It is a matter of considerable shame that in our capital Delhi, illiteracy is as high 46 percent. The situation in the field of primary healthcare should also give us sleepless night. Every three minute a child dies in India of a disease as elementary as diarrhea. A slogging 50 percent of the children below the age of five years are victims of malnutrition.
Whether we notice or not, these realities are likely to pose danger for the future of India. It can not be kept at bay. Even in Delhi if 40 percent of the people live in the slum, and 35 percent of the people in the city defecate in the open, and 4,500 tons of garbage in the city is not lifted every day, how long can we not notice this situations? What he or she notes, we don’t? In fact, many foreigners wonder why educated Indians, who are secure and sophisticated in their bearing, and who claim to be the end product of a 5000- year-old civilization can be so completely blind to the transparent suffering and deprivation around them.
In visualizing, therefore, the future of India the one truth we must understand is that it is no longer possible for a part of India to progress and become globalized, while another part of India (which is numerically greater) continues to be deprived. The successful cannot secede, any aspiration to do so will fail.
Many people, especially from the middle and elite classes, believe that the solution to all our problems is to reduce the size of the unwashed masses. They would be more than happy if some method could be found to castrate the poor, so that they don’t continue to, as is the common belief, marry and multiply like rabbits. The problem, of course, is that we are a functioning democracy. And the truth is that those whom we would like to castrate visit the ballot often. An attempt was made in the past to sterilize people with the help of force. It did not work without doubt; the increasing population of India is very serious matter. The answer of population control lies in education.
There is little doubt that India has a future in the new millennium. This future can be greater than ever before. But for that to happen, we will have to grasp our very own bull by its horns but there are blinkers on our eyes that prevent us from seeing the truth, Hypocrisy creates gap between substance and image but now the time for such sterile dichotomies is over. The future of India in this new millennium will be determined solely by the unity of citizens to forge an integral vision that inspires us to think and embrace the good of all Indians.