Today completes 60 years of India’s independence from the colonial rule of the British. As the usual celebrations take place all over the country, for the first time I notice a marked departure from the ritual reference to the sacrifice made by the freedom fighters at the time of Independence.
Whether it is the Prime Minister’s address to the nation from the Red Fort or the absence of decades-old patriotic films shown on the TV on this day or the newspaper supplements that are loaded with post-Independence achievements or the body language of the general people on the street, the message is loud and clear: India has learned to stand on its feet.
This gradual yet dramatic change in Indians’ attitude reflects a newly found confidence in their ability to compete and perform in the global arena.
For too long we were bogged down by the lack in self-confidence. We looked at others to understand and acknowledge our strengths, not having the belief that what we’re able to do can indeed be the best in the world.
It would be tempting to allude to a clutch of reasons for our collective rejuvenation. But I believe it all boils down to just one factor, which is economic self-sufficiency. As they say, if you have food in the belly and money in the pocket, you dare to dream and achieve.
For India this is just the beginning. The politicians, the left-minded economists, and those who have vested interests in so saying never cease to remind us that more than half the country’s population live in abject poverty.
But then we’ve seen that 60 years of Independence have not really changed their lives, not even in vast areas of Bengal where the communists are ruling for 3 decades. They can shout anything from the rooftops but the facts speak for themselves.
It’s now the turn of capital to change India’s destiny, which even the leftists are following in Bengal, never mind their alternating postures at times.
Make no mistake however that those with capital will not deploy their money for the betterment of poor peoples’ lives if they do not see even bigger money at the end of the tunnel. It is the government’s duty to ensure that this tunnel is short and conducive enough for the capitalists to risk their money.
But what can a government do if it itself doesn’t have money to smoothen the passage for those who want to sink their capital? It’s here that the biggest transformation is happening over the past several years.
By unshackling private initiatives and streamlining its revenue earnings, the government is having good sum in its coffers to build up infrastructure like never before. The result is there for all to see.
In today’s address to the nation the PM has spoken of investing a whopping Rs.25,000 crore in the agriculture sector. This is a mind-boggling amount, something the country could never dream even a few years back.
Eminent sociologist Prof Dipankar Gupta points out at a NDTV panel-talk, the Prime Minister has been long on promises but short on showing how the noble intentions can be delivered on the ground. He may be right but I’m not as skeptical as him.
Because after all without anyone’s prompting and stringent scrutiny the same Prime Minister is trying his best to set up the course for spread and improvement in education (see my post, On the holy trail of knowledge).
What to me this means is that if anything our present PM is not short of sincerity.
Coming to what I said when I began, India on the 61st year of Independence has indeed found its own feet – the feet of steel and not clay as has been for all these years.
I wish my fellow countrymen all the very best in the time ahead.