It’s early morning and local travellers are stringing up for tickets at the Gomti Nagar railway station in the Uttar Pradesh’s capital, Lucknow. Across the tracks, a different flock is gathering – each person on his own, separated by a bijou distance. These are amongst the 48% of Indians who do not have access to proper sanitation. Making their way from the houses below the flyovers, these are pavement dwellers with no proper housing facility as well, squatting beneath the few trees and bushes along the elevated railway line – defecating in the open. Not so surprisingly, this is what they call the morning ritual when the nature calls.
Dreams shouldn’t let India sleep, because albeit we have achieved a lot after the short span of independence, it isn’t enough to bring in inclusive growth and development of all the spheres in the country. The dream of seeing an independent country, by the myriad number of freedom fighters was fulfilled, but the dream of seeing a clean India : as thought of by Mahatma Gandhi : Still remains unfulfilled.
While India got independence, it was divided into a number of independent princely states. What we think of when we say INDIA wasn’t really this way back then. It was a vision – a dream of one leader – Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel which made India what it is today. If it weren’t for him, India’s one part would be in Pakistan and a lot many of them(the princely leaders) would have gained independence, hampering the sovereignty of India – which was more of an IDEA back then. Devoid of a fatherly figure after the death of Gandhi, it was he who marvelled at his organizing capacity and superhuman ability. The integration of 600 Princely States and the elimination of autocratic rule of the Maharajas and Nawabs will ever stand out as his unique and greatest achievement. He did it without bloodshed and in the short span of two years.
Was it not a miracle? To him rightly goes the credit of completely changing the map of India. Tribal raiders and Pakistani troops attacked Kashmir and tried to secure accession by force. He saw the writing on the wall. The Indian armies landed in Kashmir by air. Clearly, the dream of Idea of India, took his dreams, and made him work hard for these dreams, to get fulfilled.
The Government Factor.
The Government of India dreams of seeing the people as becoming job benefactors, rather than job appellants. But little efforts have been made to provide finances to the poor till now. Dalits have to go through rigorous clearances to prove they are Dalits, which hurts their confidence. Lack of finance is also a main reason behind their misery.
Each of party which takes power in India thinks of utilizing the demographic dividend. This is imperative if we want to be a developed nation. But to utilize this demography, it makes little effort to skill them. Likewise, small efforts are made to improve the human capital. Recently there was a cut in the budget share for health and education. Can the dream of a fully skilled labor be fulfilled with budget cuts?
Admittedly, an able educated workforce is what we people dream of for our country. As a matter of fact, we even have a well educated workforce. But what’s the use of it if we cannot give them enough employment opportunities. Furthermore, lack of enabling environment for new start-up’s hither to has been a major impediment for the burgeoning educated youth, who move to other countries for better jobs and opportunities, and never return, a process dubbed Brain Drain.
Furthermore, the dream of seeing a developed country cannot be fulfilled if important bills continue to stay unpassed in one of the houses without coming to a consent to pass the bill. One of the most important bill the Goods and Services Tax is still pending in the Rajya Sabha. Adding to that, our country has been has always been kept under a “watchlist” by the US 301 report for the liberal Intellectual Property Rights regime. Slow work continues to thrive in this, making our country etiolated to attract foreign investments.
We dream of a country where democracy has its meaning intact. One of the virtues of a good democracy is conducting of a free and fair elections. Now the condition in this regard is an unprecedented one. Booth capturing, liquor for votes, voting not with our intellect by driven by community voting practices, criminals going for elections and winning – this isn’t something what Gandhi would surely have dreamt of for the country. Laws are present, but loopholes, delays in judicial hearings against convicted offences, too much of money being spent(more than what Election commission allows) needs to be changed first.
In a similar way of events, security of our country has been experiencing a major setback, specially after events like the Mumbai Terror attacks and the recent Pathankot attack. Studies have further proven that there may be instances of “financial terror” too, and that may be executed by a group of online hackers eyeing the Indian market. Did Subhas Chandra Bose ever dream of a country which would have to experience a set back in these type of attacks, while he was busy forming the INA?
The “We” factor.
Likewise, we dream of a country which is inclusive of all the religious traditions, language, cast, creed and cultures. But still we give adequate air to controversies surrounding differences of opinions, religions differences and ethnic diversity. We even think that all the people live in harmony, accept the diversities and the environment be gnarly and gratifying. But we do little efforts to feed the poor who asks for food.There are still instances where a Hindu hesitates in eating in the home of a Muslim because he fears his religion doesn’t allow this and he may be punished to hell- dubbed cultural nationalism. Is this how harmonization can be brought about?
Furthermore, we dream of seeing a clean India. But never do we put our efforts to throw garbage in the dustbin, or differentiate between what is biodegradable and non-biodegradable. We wish India was pollution free but we neglect small things like switching off lights and fans and when no in use or turning off the engine when on the red light. We make little efforts to car pool or use metro at least on alternate days, and then we blame the government for making the city polluted.
Similarly,we all dream of a country which is corruption free,where the officials are not corrupt and the work that needs to be done by them doesn’t increase the extent of collusive corruption. What is collusive corruption? We give bribes to get the work done. So basically, we as a counterpart are equally responsible for the growth of the corrupt money – the parallel economy in this country. We dream of a country which is corruption free, but we don’t do our bit. No doubt the government needs to clear the air too, but the responsibility as a citizen is equally important.
“Wo khaate hai, kyunki hum khillate hai!”
-(They take bribe because we give them!)
In addition to that, we dream of a country where men and women are treated equally before law. According to a recent McKinskey Report, the GDP of the country could see a boost by 60%, if the women involvement in the workforce increased manifold. But we still are struggling through the patriarchal mindset of the country. The child sex ratio has been registering a declining trend since Independence. A female is killed in the womb before being born. This isn’t how we can dream of being the largest economy in the world, right?
Is there a way forward?
Albeit so many of problems in the country, there have been major changes in both the Government factor and the WE factor to bring about changes – to fulfill the India of everyone’s dream. Government started the MUDRA yojana to give finance to the poor, and started Stand Up Start Up to provide opportunities for the educated youth to innovate, provided an enabling environment so as to increase job opportunities in the country- become job benefactors. Similarly, Skill India aims at imparting skill to the youth, along with placement opportunities. Criminalization of politics, code of conducts for various departments are for ethical and moral principled works in the democracy. India has also made remarkable achievement, increasing the budget for defense sector and focusing more on indigenous technology development under Make In India.
But the one thing that needs to change is the mindset. We people in the country, though tied in the knot of respect for each others religion, still we have communalism around, riots happening every day and people dying. We dream of a clean country, but we litter around blaming the government for it. We want corruption to end, still we depend on the Rs. 100 note and not wear helmet while travelling. We worship Durga, but still we kill a girl before she is born. Can we be the change which we want to see? Can we fulfill the dream of the idea of India, which is clean, corruption free, harmonized and inclusive, waking up and working our bit for it?