<i>Ye Mera India</i>
Despite over six decades of independence, our achievements are pale in comparison to the vision that our founding fathers had for this nation. I may be sounding a bit harsh, but it’s true that if our political leaders would have been better visionaries and firm in action, the situation would have been surely different.
Though leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Dr Rajendra Prasad, who took over the reins after Independence, gave the country a vision and propelled it towards the path of development and self reliance, the degradation in politics emanating from a self serving mindset of the future leaders retarded the development of the nation.
The most important aspect of any government is to protect the citizens from external threats. And the situation is that India has been the most vulnerable place for terrorist attacks in the world. Starting from 1993 Mumbai blasts to the recent 26/11, India has continuously been bearing fatal terror acts. This shows how little our governments have done to safeguard us.
One would have to agree with the fact that we should be a potent military force, as we have the third largest uniformed ensemble and we are the biggest importer of defence equipment. However, this is not so, a truly Shakespearean tragedy in every sense!
Thanks to hitches in procuring defence equipment that we still lag far behind many other miniscule powers in terms of size. At present, we are the world’s biggest importer of defence equipments ranging from technical equipments to weaponry systems, but the equipment bought by our governments have some drawbacks in one way or the other.
Thousands of crores are being spent on such contracts, but due to the greed or whatever other reasons like tedious procedures, we don’t possess competent weapons. Being a taxpayer, I would like to know why our money is being spent on flawed items. I don’t want to go on giving examples, but the recent CAG report on Gorshkov and Hawks are a perfect example of this. The country has hostile neighbours, and we have already fought three wars, two with Pakistan(or rather three) and one with China, but still our governments have not paid much attention in the speedy upgradation of the forces.
At a time when our political leaders are boasting about the growth of the economy, it seems that they fail to sense that 28 percent of the total population still falls below the poverty line.
Our governments have included development programmes, yet there has been an utter failure on the part of all the governments to actually implement these programmes. For example, in 2007-08, the West Bengal government under the NREGA scheme, was able to give work for 25 days, while the following year saw the scheme being run for only 26 days.
You all may agree that education is the first step for development of any sort. But our education system remains the same as it was in the British era. The school dropout rate has always been very high. Rural areas are the worst affected, with no good government schools, and most of the teachers are not interested in providing quality education. The government spends huge sums to provide education, but lags behind when it comes to keeping a check on the progress.
Our own brothers and sisters have taken up arms and are fighting against the government. I am talking about the Naxal movement, which has created havoc in many states. Though many term them as terrorists, nobody seems to get to the root cause of the problem, i.e. why and how have they taken up arms. They feel neglected and some people take advantage of this situation and provoke their anger against their own nation. All the governments that have been in power have done only one thing i.e., deployment of force to combat them. I fail to understand why we are attacking our own people; we need to hold dialogue and give them the resources which they have been deprived of. Nobody takes up arms for enjoyment – our leaders need to understand this and then figure out a solution.
An eye for an eye makes the world go blind – Mahatma Gandhi
During my college days, I used to see how students from the Northeast felt alienated and used to hang around in their own small groups. The offensive word ‘chinki’ was quite often heard in the campus, as well as on the roads. A high percentage of our population might not know about states like Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Manipur etc - thanks to our Central Governments that have failed in bringing the North-Eastern states closer to the other parts of India. Sadly, till date, there is this feeling of alienation amongst them, which has its roots in hostile activities of those, who feel that that they are of different origin. They are looked at as foreigners in their own homeland! What a tragedy for a nation that its own people have been distanced from the country.
It seems some of our political leaders have lost the pristine vision and are more engaged in securing their seats. At a time when the country is reeling under immense pressure of gaining food security, defence issues, communal hatred and many other problems, the ‘netas’ are busy making statues, indulging in bloody political fights (as in West Bengal) that leads to death of many innocent people. Every now and then, political parties hold the state to ransom; chakka jams, riots, bandh, all these affect common people and hit the economy. Thousands of crores are getting wasted during such unruly instances. And all this is for only one reason, securing or gaining the all coveted ‘chair’ of power.
I’m surely not getting over-cynical here; it’s just that it is heart-wrenching to see such potential going waste in front of one’s eyes. We have a great heritage, an amazing pool of manpower, excellent minds and strong willed people. All that needs to be done is to get rid of the cobwebs of drudgery and start building a new India, a more prosperous India. It’s a promise that all of us, especially the youth, have to embrace and execute.