Tuesday, October 4, 2022

A Citizen’s View of a Better India

India had a great past though only some shades of it are still seen. Six centuries of Muslim rule and two centuries of English rule made us aliens to our culture. Once we were very rich but now many of our people are in poverty. In independent India we neither have the wisdom of the past nor the materialistic or scientific advancement of the present barring a few exceptions. We take pride in our Democracy and Welfare State. We had plans and created a constitution, several institutions, constructed big projects, had Green Revolution, advanced in Atomic and Space researches. We faced wars, made defence agreements, changed economic governing styles, allowed collaborations with foreign companies – all for the development of India.

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India is people

India is not any leader or the land within certain boundaries. India is its people. To measure the progress in India we have to look at the improvement in the standard of living of the people. No doubt we have many gadgets today which our earlier generations did not enjoy. But compared to Japan which faced total destruction with a nuclear bomb in 1945 where are we? China, which had more population to feed than India had, is a big bully today. Our statisticians give us figures of progress made every year. But our economic position in the comity of the world has been almost the same. ‘Garibi Hatao’ was a slogan then and devastating ‘Freebies’ are fashion of the day. In spite of all the rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer. May be the leaders did not do enough and the public had been insensitive to their duties.

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Civic education

The primary requisite for the development of India is civic education. That is people should be educated about the way government functions and how the money they paid as taxes is utilized. They should know about the duty of each politician and each officer in the government so that they can keep watch on their functioning. Thus they know whom to vote. Then they will not be influenced by money, muscle power, caste, region, religion etc and will not elect inefficient, corrupt, criminals as their representatives. That will be real democracy.

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Set of norms for welfare

No family, society or nation can exist without a set of norms created for its own welfare. Existence of all, in our pluralistic society, is possible only with a set of rules to be followed by all. All religious, regional, local customs and practices must be in accordance with the constitution we gave to ourselves.  It is the duty of all to see that we follow it. If anyone does not, he should be taken to task by the law enforcing executive and punished by the judiciary. Executive should have a free hand in dealing with law breakers without interference from politicians.

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Judicial reforms

There is an immediate necessity of reforms in our Judicial system. Cases going on for long duration make criminals fearless and encourage them to continue their activities. Lawyers need to be trained periodically to interpret law properly. All loopholes to postpone things and repeated appeals have to be closed. Cases relating to politicians, corruption, atrocities on women and weaker sections should be in fast track courts, with a separate investigating wing if necessary. 

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Corruption, the root cause

Corruption is at the root of every problem in the country. It can be eradicated to a large extent by removing decision making power from individuals. This is possible with digitalization. E Seva Centres avoided our going to some offices for different kinds of documents. Driving Licences and the like are made available online. Income tax assessments for most of the people are settled online without human intervention. Still human decision making is necessary at higher levels and there we need effective vigilance by authorized forces. 

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Caste and religion

Casteism and regionalism have been major hurdles in the development of our country. Political parties select candidates based on caste strength in the constituency. Some people vote based on caste. So some inefficient people or criminals are getting elected. Governments distribute ministries maintaining caste and regional balance giving a go by to merit of the elected representatives. In a way parties and politicians are perpetuating this malady without giving scope for meritorious people to come to governance. 

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Do your duty, says Bhagavatgita

Bhagavatgita says every person has to do his duty. Unfortunately in our society everybody talks about rights but nobody talks about duties. We want freedom to talk but we do not bother whether we are speaking truth and are doing the right thing. We want to do what we like but never care to see if it hurts anyone. If everyone does his duty there need not be supervisors, police or judiciary. Progress of the country will be automatic and consequently individual will be benefited. Once a boss, instead of asking his employees to do the maximum, asked them to do the minimum thereby suggesting that they are not doing even the minimum expected of them. Our progress depends on our efficiency and dedication to work.

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Education is development

Education is the root of development. Improper education leads to inefficient people in all fields who spoil everything they do. Well supervised education creates efficient people and leads to research which in turn leads to innovation. Innovations are used by industry to produce wealth. More innovations get more industries and more employment for people. Thus education is the royal route to development.

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We were deemed whiteman’s burden

British treated us as half naked snake charmers and felt “Whiteman’s burden” to ‘civilize’ us. They not only enslaved our country but enslaved our minds too by introducing English education due to which we lost touch with Sanskrit in which our cultural heritage had been stored. With the material prosperity based on science, West became a model for us. We should not forget our great past which exists even today in the form of some beneficial customs and traditions. But basking in our past glory does not fill our stomach today. So we have to be conscious of our roots but at the same time should be open minded to receive good from all corners of the world for our progress. 

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Unity in diversity

India has been one culturally though politically it had been many kingdoms in the past. British made us a colony of their empire and with their divide and rule policy made us conscious of the importance of unity and we fought to become one independent nation. But even today we see some jealous, back-stabbing people, like king Jayachandra,  who are seeking help form enemy countries and organizations to gain power. They are encouraging and supporting even anti-national forces and sowing seeds of intolerance among different sections of our society. Governments should take effective steps and public must help governments in rooting out these criminals.

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Public sector necessary

Our economic policy changed from ‘License Raj’ to ‘Market Economy’. Encouraging private enterprise is the order of the day. But, in a county like India in which big businessmen create syndicates to raise prices, Public Sector is also necessary to control syndicates. Visualizing this our past policy makers adopted ‘Mixed Economy’ in which both Public and Private sectors thrive. If Public Sector does not function well it should be set right. We don’t burn our house because there are rats in it.

Let us believe that we will be able to achieve much in the coming years and make India a better nation in which people live safely, comfortably and happily.

Also read: What to do for early disposal of cases by courts?

Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur had been a Lecturer in English. He is a poet, critic and translator. His interests are Literature, Philosophy and social media.

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