New Delhi: Economic growth or military strength alone won't make India strong, a truly sustainable society, at the heart of which is the family, is very much necessary, argues former President APJ Abdul Kalam in his new book.
Kalam and celebrated Jain thinker late Acharya Mahapragya in the book "The Family and the Nation" say that only a strong and happy family can lead to a strong and noble nation.
In writing the book, the ideas of the two authors were shaped by their interaction during the past few decades with millions of countrymen hailing from different walks of life.
"Each interaction enhanced our experience and added to our understanding of the development of a noble family, a noble society and a noble nation," they write.
While embarking on this journey of writing a book, we realised the magnitude of connectivities involved and the extent of our society's evolution during the last few centuries," they say.
"It is true that all of us realise that today's world is a connected one. Technology and travel have nearly made the world a global village. The world has to become a federation of nations. A nation is a federation of states, social groups, families and individuals. So what is needed is a situation of live and let live.
"One's needs, aspirations, accomplishments are all important. But there has to be a concept of a noble nation, where the welfare of the whole nation as a whole is ingrained in the thinking and actions of its people. This is the need of the hour. How do we achieve this idea of a noble nation," the authors ask.
According to them, their visualisation of a noble nation is two-fold.
"One is internal, concerned with the individual and encompassing the family, community and society. Another concerns enterprise and covers the issues of livelihood, business, distribution of wealth and respect for individual property and rights," they say.
The authors do not offer any new theory or postulate any new concept but draw from the heritage of our civilization.
"The bottom line is that a citizen with a value system respects the family, respects society, and thereby respects the nation. Furthermore, the person is conscious that he or she is a part of the world family.
"The operational line is the prosperity of people with adequate earning capacity. We call such a nation a developed nation. Economic prosperity and an embedded value system would promote a peaceful and prosperous society and thereby the evolution of a happy nation," they write.
The book, published by HarperCollins India, stresses on the values that make for a truly sustainable society, at the heart of which is the family. For it is not economic growth or military strength alone that will make India strong.
Sustainable success comes from values, and these can sustain a society and a nation even in times of hardship. The book expresses an ideal by which Indian society may prosper and speaks of how spirituality can help create a noble nation and a better world.
It provides a valuable counterpoint to the modern-day emphasis on consumerism and the philosophy of more is better, highlighting the sanctity of the natural world and its great power to evoke human creativity and love.
The two writers bring their vast experience to bear on this important subject. As the authors put it, it's only a strong and happy family that will lead to a noble nation, one that can be a true fulfilment of 5,000 years of India's civilization.