“The future you see is the future you get” said Robert G Allen a CanadianAmerican financial writer. What he said applies to all of us; as individuals and also as groups of individuals. India is a great country which has had a great past. No one doubts the veracity of the statement. But over time, its glorious façade has faded away to be replaced by a dreary and poor halo. Sad one must say that even such a great country can go through such great nadirs. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book, “The Discovery of India” maintained that he saw in the Indian people a spirit, some thing that he says he also found in the people of China, Russia and the United States. He said however that being of Indian origin, his judgment was clouded and that it was quite possible that he had so much wanted this spirit to be there in the Indians that he may have misjudged his country.

By this spirit that Nehru proposed, he meant a vital energy that enables a country to face times of adversity with a brave face and be a leader more than a follower in world affairs. He meant that what ever level it was down graded to, a country with this spirit would rise up and reclaim its place in world hierarchy. A spirit which enables its people to take a lead in various fields; in short a ‘winner’. As one sees, over the last few years India has risen from strength to strength. Whether this is mere coincidence and Nehru was wrong, I know not; but my dream of India is one in which the Indian people are infused with this spirit, this vital force that Nehru described in his letters to another former Prime Minster of India, his own daughter.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head held high; where knowledge is free; where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action; Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake” said Rabindranath Tagore, a popular poet, novelist, musician, and playwright who

reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. When such a great personality puts things so concisely and admirably, what can I do, but concur? His timeless words speak of the future that India should want to have-a future that our leaders should try to realize.

“As long as we place millions of Indians at the center of our thought process, as long as we think of their welfare, their future, their opportunities for self-realization we are on the right track” said Mukesh Ambani, a business magnate, philanthropist and the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, the largest private

sector enterprise in India and a Fortune 500 company. Strange words, one can say, coming from a capitalist. But what he said is of course the truth. India’s millions can be both a blessing and a curse. How we handle our population can send India up or down in the coming decades. Now the drawbacks of a large population are well-documented. Putting a burden on every thing: the environment, the economy and almost every thing in-between, a heavy population can be a curse. A heavily populated country is often likened to an elephant. Well, even elephants can run fast! Faster than almost all humans anyway! And so can an economy. One of the most important factors about India is its young population. India will have the largest working force in the world in the coming years as China’s population is comparatively old. We can use this to our advantage come on top if we will. But only if we will. Immediate action and great leaders are a necessity. We have to spring at every opportunity presented to us. Life is not a bed of roses for an individual and it is not for a country too.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today” said Malcolm X born Malcolm Little, an African-

American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist. What he said holds true for all time. India’s education system I must say is dismal at the very least. There are some bright spots, one can say, but compared to many other western countries and factoring in that we have a population of one billion plus, our education system is bad. There are many people who do not get even primary school education. And as if the lack of quantity is not bad enough, the lack of good quality education is even more appalling.

There are instances where people who have passed SSLC in English cannot speak in it coherently and struggle to construct sentences. A dismal situation one must say. Feeble attempts have been made to improve the existing situation, but will this be helpful to India, only time will tell. But time is running out. Recall an old saying ‘time and tide wait for no man’. For some reason, it holds true for a country too.

A big problem that we can see in Indian society is an attitude of ‘who cares?’ An attitude that has resulted in our country languishing at the bottom of surveys of corruption and living standards. An example in the state of Karnataka is that of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike where bribes are seen as a fact of life. The Lokayukta, an organisation that has been trying to get rid of corruption has been unable to do so. The people have resigned themselves to giving bribes to officials and there are almost no people who would do otherwise. What we need is a show of spirit from the people to take their lives into their own hands and do some thing. One thing that India has introduced to the world is the concept of ‘karma’. This some people call ‘joss’ and some destiny. People believe that their future is written ‘in the stars’ and that they simply have to live it out. This has to change. They believe that the situation in which they live in is some thing unchangeable and that they simply have to adjust. People have to take their lives in their own hands and effect a change. And not just a few isolated people. The whole of India has to demand more from the Government. That is what I want to see in India as a whole. An India where political action against injustice is common sua sponte and corruption is passé.

A lively India which looks more towards the welfare of its umpteen people is what is required and what we must have in future. An India where the government works hand in hand with the people to banish that most evil of problems, poverty from this land is the stuff of dreams, seeing our current situation. However I think that it can be done. With will and the means and most importantly, the proper leaders, a country can rise to great heights, or conversely sink to deep depths. It remains for the people to resolve their problems and their leaders for only they can change their country. For Jawaharlal’s ‘tryst with destiny’ to be realized, fundamental changes have to be affected as soon as possible, for the sands of time are running out, and running out quickly. We should act as quickly

as possible, for India to rise as high as possible. No individual can bring about a change. Even the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, great though his work may be, still had the help of a large number of other people interested in the freedom of India. It requires a group of leaders who can get this done. India has a history of not living up to its potential. It needs to somehow repair the shaky foundations it now stands upon and with its leaders evolve into a country to respect and fear.


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