Wednesday, August 20, 2008

India 61

If you ask me to write about my vision for India, for an India around ten years from now, the truth is there is plenty to write. That's good from the point of view that I really do get to write something, but what is poignant to note is that even after 61 years I still have many reservations, many points where I think things can be handled differently.

For starters the main problem with India as far as any form of development is concerned is the regressive, protective mindset of the vast populi. As I have written earlier, we are averse to risk, the vast majority prefer to be comfortable within the security of their own homes, or within that of a secured pay. Yes, that is changing slightly, with the rise of an affluent middle class after internet and globalisation came into the picture, but that change is registering only with the people whose technical capabilities and professional mindset have been allowed to evolve, have been tuned to take advantage of the changing world. What about the remaining? Recently, India ranked 126th in human development terms. Seriously, it hurts to be poor in India, worse so because, chances for the poor to rise are still slim. Those who manage to break free from the shackle and join the middle class bandwagon are those lucky few who manage to get themselves educated, educated atleast to the level of having a dream, chasing it with passion and then reveling in its fulfillment.

So only way forward is for the poor to rise, for that a mindset change is required, people have to be empowered to the level of atleast having a dream, and that is possible only by imparting education, a quality education. And by that I don't mean starting more engineering colleges or other professional training institutes, for that would be like constructing the 30th floor in a building where the foundation was designed only for say 20. If we are thinking about a vision, we need to think about the future, and so we need to plan for that generation which would beome the vibrant youth in the future, in essence, our focus now should be on that part of the population that's under the age of 15. So what we need to ask now, is what fraction of that population will have the right skills and literacy to meet the demands of 2020 and beyond? If we fail to do so, any achievement we see today in terms of development would become just a false dawn. Thus, focus must be on the primary education sector.

For that focus to yield results, everyone must be involved in that endeavour. Every professional, every business establishment should see primary education as an investment for the future and thus play an increasing role in developing this vital area, rather than putting all the onus and the blame on the government alone. If the purpose of education is to empower all to dream big, then those who have succeeded in doing so certainly are those best placed in inspiring more.

Theres nothing utopian about this. There's nothing we can't achieve when we work together. What the government and the NGOs find difficult to implement, either due to want of resources, or due to beauracratic hassles, the businesses and MNCs and even individuals can offer in terms of money, time, expertise or any combination of these to bring about a change. Now, some may see bringing businesses into the picture as privatisation but I see this as positive collaboration for a grander socialistic development. This is my first vision for India - to see a greater collaboration between all facets of society for strengthening the primary education sector in order to empower the nation from bottom up.

My next vision holds valid based on the success of implementing the first. I, at this stage, seriously hope that the higher level technical institues in the country like the IITs did a little more than just churn out quality engineers. Its been 50 years, but does India in the post independence era have atleast one Nobel Prize laureate for science? Do the technical institutes in the country bring out quality research developments, some quality initiatives that can positively impact the country in a profound manner. I am not saying there are none, but certainly there are not enough. The way I see it, what lacks here is a dream. The youth (I am saying in general and not about everyone) in these high end professional institutions seems to have settled into a state of impasse, a desire to go through the motions, get a job and be happy with their lives. I don't blame the youth for that. The only way to have a dream, rather to believe in the power of dreams is to come out into the real world with a strong foundation built from the primary education sector.

Now, in the future lies a world where a developed nation is judged based on how fast it can continue economic growth with no damage caused to the environment whatsoever. Thus, it is our choice now, whether to build a developed and powerful economy dependent on today's technology and today's resources, the same tools that have made US powerful, or to go for a clean energy initiative, where the development may initially seem slower, but would certainly be more sustainable. So my third vision would be that of a clean energy initiative, the success of which again depends on the constructive imagination of the whole population, and that again takes us back to square one. We need to start at the grass roots.

India's future lies in the hands of the coming generation. It is thus the duty of the current generation of decision makers to mould the up and coming generation into a vital force, a united strong entity that will carry forward every little accomplishment we have had in the last 61 years on a much larger scale with a more profound effect.


Attila said...

Well written! we need to get off oil, not only for clean energy purposes, but also some foreign policy goals can be achieved.

AFAIK, most of India's oil imports come from Arabia. These people are funding Wahabi brand of Islam in the subcontinent with oil money that is encouraging terrorism in India.

Moreover, oil forms a majority of our imports, restraining this drain of foreign currency can reduce our deficit, and free up government funds for developmental activity.

Very rarely do I see bloggers writing about India, instead they waste time on their personal musings.. gr8 work..

Gagan said...

very nice !!

D@RK PR!NCE said...

You know what i feel about india, My dear India, it can be changed, but it is a mammoth effort and we are the people actually can pull it off. You're " with ambitions of doing my MS abroad next fall." right. with no hard feelings i tell you you are wasting a lot of indian tax paid money.
i'm not doing it right either by sitting for placements, we are taught with indian government money to serve it. You know how much expense indian government will lose when an NIT or IIT student goes into IIM and continues to a management field for need of money rather than pursue engineering as a career.

No Hard Feelings, its a truth

D@RK PR!NCE said...

Pinne talking about research, i tell what is being done on research, why people are interested in professional courses rather than pure science courses. It is because everybody is behind money and money only. research doesn't promise you money. Basically i didnt know anything about my career aspects when i took up engineering. But i cant go back. It is something some people suggested because of general trend of the world.
Only thing you should bear in mind is that the whole world can be wrong while you aren't. you just need to be strong in your decision. Or else the world would still have been flat with ends...

Cyclops said...

@ dark prince

you have a point there. not that i had not given it some thought. Firstly, in the current world, shrinking fast, location no longer matters. In essence all of us have to find means by which we can best serve the country and the world. and once that is recognised, we pursue that from the best possible place in the world. with the means in hand, in this globalised world, actually one person not on indian soil can make a difference which 10 people working here find difficult to make...
If we go by the adage that development begins at home, then yes, we should be aware of the ground realities, but no longer is it required for us to be in the country to serve it to the best of our abilities and thus in no way, as long as we have a desire to do something for the country and the world, will the taxpayers money go to waste.