18 March, 2010

India Empowered

When Indians take decisions using their head, not heart.

What distinguishes the human race from the rest of earthly species is the size of its brain. This cerebral gift of evolution, sadly, is not always the most used of human assets. The land of rishis, unfortunately, is yet to become the land of reason.
India of my dreams will be born when reason reigns supreme. It is only when biases and prejudices give way to facts and evidence that India will be truly empowered. Irrationality manifests itself in everyday life in myriad ways from communalism and casteism to linguistic and regional chauvinism. In India empowered minorities will fight with the majority in contribution to the nation, and not suffer from brute majoritarianism. When rationality, not religion, occupies the pluralistic public domain peace will unleash the creative prowess of the talented Indians.

No amount of resources can empower a people that choose to fritter away resources – time, talent, money, other natural resources – unproductively, thoughtlessly. Conversely when people begin to think for themselves they can reprioritize scarce resources for optimal productivity. An empowered India, therefore, is also a more reasoning, more just India where rule of law born of reason prevails.

Empowered Indians will regard the law made by man, the constitution and other enactments as not only sacred but of vast practical utility. And when that happens law abiding becomes a pleasure of self regulation, not pain foisted by aliens. People will begin to love the institutions mankind has so assiduously built through painful evolution: municipalities, legislatures, courts and commissions. They will build and maintain schools, hospitals, colleges, roads, gardens and other public places with a degree of pride and possessiveness.

Truly empowered people respect the processes of growth and success, spirit of adventure and competition. They find pleasure in travails and trysts not in short circuiting through bribes and favours. They respect other’s right to succeed and consider usurping this as modern day sins.

India empowered will measure patriotism in terms of the investment it makes in the welfare of its citizens, not by hatred they express for its neighbours. Empowered patriots will make small sacrifices in everyday life, in laboratories, factories, on roadside and also on the border. They will truly value all property and love all peoples of the nation. They will take pride in India’s diversity rather, not in foisting artificial unity in the name of cultural nationalism.

The intelligent politician of an empowered India will find clean, principled politics more useful and far more rewarding. And when his intelligence fails, the voters’ reason will consign him to dustbin of the impoverished. The empowered voter will not be influenced by emotional jingoism, galvanized by hatred for the “other”, nor be lured by unrealistic, false material promises.

Media of an empowered India will not wait in urban comfort for juicy stories to walk in but will travel into remote corners and probe deeper for the reasons behind the malaise; where journalists will analyze, not just report. When news will be distinguished from views, when writers not advertisers will generate newspaper revenues, India will tread the road to true empowerment.

Industrialists, traders and professionals will, then, find it more profitable to pay their taxes, share the fruits of their growth more transparently with all stake holders. Respect for labour will be born from the joy and pride managers will derive from participating in labour. An attitude of true equality and respect for human dignity will replace superficial, feudal patronizing. And also when the 2% organized labour will truly share the pains of the unorganized multitude and question the hegemony of their self-appointed leaders.

When reason, not prejudice or blind faith leads to action Indians will begin evolving codes of conduct far beyond the letter of the law in everyday life: around the village well and market place, housing societies, college and office canteens, university campuses, football stadiums, underground metro or passenger trains.

Thinking Indians will richly value the gifts of science and technology and thank for being born in this century. They will regard the contribution of scientists, explorers and discoverers more than that of sundry godmen. Indeed, when they will call the bluff of dream merchants and soothsayers of little tangible value.

Plain common sense will lead them to park their vehicles orderly, blow their horn and play their music softly, spit and shout with restraint, belt their cows and goats, dispose off their waste shamefully and argue less and think more. From such a people will flow synergies that will empower an impoverished India truly and well.

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