by TS Srinivasa Murthy
Janani janma bhoomischa swargadapi gareeyasi
– The mother and the motherland are greater than even the heaven
(Lord Sri Rama to Lakshmana and Vibheeshana after conquering Lanka)
India celebrates 60 years of independence on 15 August 2007, but the punya bhumi called Bhaaratha (land of the virtues) is far more ancient. After all, what is a Country, without its people and its Civilization and its heritage? This article salutes the nation builders.
It is the political, social, economic, cultural and spiritual strength that has made India a vibrant country. Imagine being told in the 60s or 70s that India will attain super-powerdom by 2050. I would have laughed my head off. But what the heck, it is going to be a reality very soon, may be in our own life time. During Indo-China war, there were air-raid sirens, rationing and so on. Poverty was literally dripping off the streets. Most of the common household objects now were considered luxury and beyond reach. Consider this: Today, airports have become like railway stations, Every other family in big cities has a relative or a friend in the western/ eastern world. What’s more, many of them want to return to India for good.
Political: India’s liberation signalled the end of colonialism all over the world. During the last six decades, China and Pakistan waged war on India, India liberated East Pakistan. India has had a leading role in NAM, SAARC, G-15, G-77. India is inching closer to ASEAN, G-8, and the permanent seat in the UN Security Council. The last would be sooner than later. I would love to see India wielding its vetoing finger. Gandhi, Nehru, Vallabh Bhai Patel, Shastry, Indira Gandhi et al have generously contributed to the big political canvas that India is.
Social: Many Indians credit the caste system with contributing to maintaining social order in the second most populous country in the world. On the other hand, the caste system has also been viewed as the sole bug-bear of the social order, preventing social equality in terms of birth and growth. Despite India’s rapid strides in the World Order, little or no development has happened to break the caste factor in Indian legacy. The issues of poverty, gender and equality are still haunting the nation. While Gandhi led the path for social upliftment, Ambedkar, Vinoba Bhave, Jaya Prakash Narayan etc., followed either similar or their own paths.
Scientific: India has the cutting technology in respect of Space, Nuclear Energy, Defence Research, Fundamental Mathematics, I.T., Pharmaceutical research etc., Visionaries and Missionaries like Homi Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, Prof. U.R.Rao, Dr.Raja Ramanna, Dr. M.S.Swaminathan, Abdul Kalam have taken the country on a ballistic trajectory.
Sports and games: Names like Ved Prakash, Jaspal Rana, Prakash Padukone, Michael Ferreira, Dhanraj Pillai, Baichung Bhutia, P.T.Usha Aswini Nachappa, Milkha Singh, Rajyavardhan Singh, Vishwanthan Anand, Kunjurani et al have done the country proud.
Cultural: India has taken a beating post independence, thanks to the onslaught of western culture. India now is a ‘pot-pourri’, culturally, but still, there are vibrant pockets all over India retaining the old flavour. Stalwarts like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Sultan Khan, Zakeer Hussain, Kelucharan Mohapatra , Mallika Sarabhai in the fields of fine arts & music have enriched the tradition and have enthralled the spectators/ audience the world over.
Spiritual: There is a resurgence, going by the huge interest shown in learning/ understanding Yoga, meditation, Vedas – thanks to the doyens such as Krishnamacharya, B.K.S Iyengar, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Sri Ravi Shankar, Jaggi Vasudev, Yogi Ramdev to name a few, who have built the super structure based on the foundation of Swami Vivekananda, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Swami Rama and other great saints. ‘Enduro mahaanubhavulu’ !.
Economic: In 1960 India had a higher per capita GDP than China; today it is less than half of China’s. In 1960 it had the same per capita GDP as South Korea; today South Korea’s is 13 times larger. The United Nations Human Development Index gauges countries by income, health, literacy and other such measures. India ranks a dismal 124 out of 177, behind Syria, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. Things look pretty bad, don’t they? But look at the turn around. Agricultural self sufficiency was achieved only by the end of 70’s thanks to green revolution. The farmers of Punjab, Haryana took the initiative to spike the productivity. Today, India is the biggest producer of rice, cotton and sugarcane. It leads in milk production.
Today, other sectors like manufacturing, services have together overtaken Agriculture’s contribution to GDP. It is a booming scenario for infrastructural development, manufacturing and the services sectors, such as roads, power, irrigation, housing, health, education, IT, BT, telecommunications, automobiles, shipping, aviation, aerospace etc., They are creating wealth, contributing to the nation’s development and creating employment for the masses. In each of these fields, there are not one but many leaders who can take on the world on their own. Kudos to the captains of all these various Industries. They are too numerous to be named here. To all of them I offer my ‘ hazaar salaams’. India is today the Fourth biggest economy in the world. Indian Diaspora is 20 million strong, spreading India’s wings.
To the previous generation, the future did not seem so bright.
Will India’s giant elephant take on China’s giant dragon?
A report states that while China’s rise is already here and palpable—it has grown at almost 10 percent since 1980—India’s is still more a tale of the future, but a future that is coming into sharp focus. It is projected that over the next 50 years, Indian economy will be the fastest-growing of the world’s major economies (largely because its work force will not age as fast as the others). The report calculates that in 10 years India’s economy will be larger than Italy’s and in 15 years it would have overtaken Britain’s. By 2040 it will boast as the world’s third largest economy. By 2050 it will be five times the size of Japan’s and its per capita income would have risen to 35 times its current level. Predictions like these are a treacherous business, though it’s worth noting that India’s current growth rate is actually higher than the study assumed.
It is now certain that India, China and EU are the future superpowers. A disadvantage for India in the modern era, as compared to its competitor China, has been its location in a relatively unstable region with little or none of abundant resources. China’s is surrounded by strong neighbours such as Hong Kong (now a part of China) Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. In contrast, India is surrounded by weaker nations like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Srilanka, Pakistan, which have there own political/ethnic instability, save for Bhutan.
What makes India a Super Power?
India has politically a stable system of democracy and judiciary. Geographically- it has vast and diverse areas. Culturally – it is a pluralistic, tolerant, society. Its Military might is among the largest defence forces in the world and economically it is thriving on a very broad based economic development with an enviable rate of growth and possesses a fairly large chunk of natural resources. Also it has established sound financial and banking institutions. Demographically it has a rich talent pool with a relatively young population and spiritually- it is regaining its strength.
If 19th Century belonged to the Britain, 20th Century to the Americans, then 21st Century certainly belongs to India.
RwB celebrates India at 60:
- Tricolour Marble Cake and Eggless Tea Cake: Recipe by Bridget White Kumar
- Sare Jahan se Accha, Hindustan Hamara by BR Usha
- Rangoli-16 by Srilakshmi Suresh
- Independence Day by Cuckoo
- ‘India at 60′ collage