Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Can India really change for the better ?

Its been few months that I remained away from writing in but, all this time I was wondering a lot. About my country and my countrymen and my life in India as an Indian.  A lot and when I say that, it really means a lot have happened in India in the last 6 months.  And all of it that has snatched the limelight has been on the wrong side. In fact on the worst side.  Right from 2G specturm scam, CWG scam, Coal scam, brutal rapes, child molestation, corruption at the highest level in the government, border tensions with neighboring countries, high food inflation, slow growth, Italian marine case and what not.

One evening while talking with a German friend who last year traveled in India for few months, my high hopes and optimism about India as a country changing for the better in this decade and the next one took a deep plunge.  For once I felt that today's India looks like a totally fucked up country with a government that doesn't care a shit except just plundering the people in the most blatant manner.  Over the last few years I've known at least one thing, that the situation that my country is in today is not because of the people in the government, but its we the people of this country.  Our carefree and careless attitude, way of living, lack of willingness to change, extreme greed, religious extremism, gender & caste inequality, dishonesty, racism and ever eroding patriotism to a large extent have brought us where we are today.

India - the most diverse democracy of the world today in fact lives fragmented to a large extent unless it comes to cricket and bollywood.  Each and every corner of this huge country has extreme diversity in itself. You travel just 400 kms and sometimes even less than that and one can see that the language, clothing, food and to an extent the culture too gets changed.  Now in such a diverse scenario is it possible to find a common or a near similar path of thinking ? Is it possible that a hugely diverse nation can keep this diversity behind and come together for a social revolution ? I was quiet hopeful on this till I had this discussion with my friend and now I have my own reservations.

More than half the population of India is living in villages and has huge difference in cultures and the way they think from the population that is living in the cities.  This difference though diluted, can be even seen between the big metro's like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.  Also one can easily notice the diversity in culture, way of living, social thoughts and perspective between the tier I and tier II cities.  As a collective of states, the North, South, West and East regions also are vastly diverse from each other.  The gender inequality, the perspective towards the girl child, the social responsibility for the economically and socially underprivileged, cultural hypocrisy, individual freedom, political apathy, high levels of individual corruption are some of the biggest hurdles that India as a country faces today and which kind of is becoming highly frustrating.

If one travels the length and breath of the country, one can easily notice that people no matter of which age differ a lot on many major social and cultural issues faced by India.  Men and women both from different regions of India and belonging to different social and economic strata differ on their views.  The conservative thinking can be easily seen and no one hardly bothers to think logically about any of the age old customs still being followed in the name of tradition and culture.  It can either be the careless attitude or the fear of the society or lack of education or all together.

Post independence and particularly after the reforms of 1990 the major economic development that India has seen has been limited to the metro's and few other cities. Cities grew bigger and got more populated.  This economic development instead of reaching the villages remained largely in and around the cities leading to huge urban migration resulting into large slums and clashing of 2 different lifestyles.  We lost our way even in educating the kids especially girls.  Still today only one state is 100 % literate and other parts of the country struggling to educate its citizens and even the new generation.  If even basic education is not imparted when are we as a nation going to think about imparting more specialized education throughout the entire country ?

The economic boom instead of creating wealth for every strata of the society created wealth for the rich.  The rich grew more rich and the poor remained poor.  So poor, that today almost 30% of the population doesn't get even 2 times of proper meal, leave aside a proper shelter to live in.  Shockingly while we have one of the highest percentage of poor people, the world's costliest house recently got erected in Mumbai.

Our dishonest and corrupt ways of dealing with things has even led to formation of corrupt governments that actually pocketed the tax payers money that were supposed to be meant to uplift the socially and economically backward people.  And eventually the present scenario is that, the current government has shattered all records of corruption and bad governance.  It is the most corrupt government till now in the history of Indian democracy.  And of course it was elected by us, we the people of India.  The people in the government and the bureaucracy are all our people.  Not some guys who descended from some alien planet just to ruin our country.  And all of them are from among us.  A nation gets a government that is actually the reflection of its society.  Unless the society gets itself clean and honest, its a waste to expect honest and sincere people representing the nation.

Socially also no matter how hard we have tried to get rid of the centuries old superstitions and wrongly practiced caste differentiation which has strangulated this country, still today it requires a herculean effort to get rid of such practices in any particular region.  And we have a huge country to make it free from such evil practices.  Ever wondered how long it would take if we still continue following blindly like the herd of sheep and never use our brains ?

The way we Indians have so far dealt with our major social, economic and cultural issues in the post independence era it has today led to a situation, where desperate measures are needed to overhaul the way we Indians think, deal and live our life. Today the difference in the way people live in the cities, towns and villages has grown so wide apart that unless the developments of the cities reach the villages fast enough and our villages grow, this vast socio-economic difference shall create a major social chaos and social anarchy.  The way the outburst of social crimes against women and children has happened all over the country just shows how lacking socially we as a nation were and still are and God knows for how many more years.

In this current scenario if by any chance a major social change should happen, I don't think its going to happen in the next few years.  May be in the next few decades and that too only the young generation of this country comes together and sheds the inhibitions of challenging the age old rusted malpractices in the name of religion, caste and culture.  Only if the greed for infinite monetary gains can seize and an inclusive development from the cities to the villages happen, India might change for the better. Or else once again this great country shall be bonded and this time in the social shackles of its own.