India at the Crossroads

Greater Kashmir

The current political leadership of India has to make some tough choices ahead

masoodalimir@yahoo.co.in 
      India got its independence in 1947 after a long freedom struggle against the British Imperialism. However, the independence was accompanied with the partition of the country into two parts- India and Pakistan. The partition was not only a division of land and polity, It was also the partition of hearts, ideologies, culture, language, customs, tradition, rituals, religions and above all the partition of common brotherhood and communal harmony of the whole sub-continent. The partition led not only to the creation of two independent nations but also gave rise to serious  problems, like communal riots, in which thousands and thousands of people were killed and property of millions of dollars was destroyed.
         It was in this hostile and tense environment that India started its journey as an independent nation. Here India was backward, underdeveloped, poor, illiterate, unemployed, unindustrialised and without any technological, military, social and political base. The three most serious challenges to the newly emerged India were:-
 (a) the nation building – to have unity in a vast diversity
 (b) Establishment of democracy
(c) Welfare economy- the economic system which will be self sufficient and beneficial to all.
         Now ,when India has completed 67 years of its independence, it seems to be a completely different India. Now it is a literate, developing, industrialised, technological, nuclear armed and well advanced India. It has transformed itself from a famine prone agricultural system to a food sufficient and a high quality horticulture system. It has transformed itself from a backward socialist economy to a fully liberalised, privatised and globalised economy. It has turned itself from an illiterate and narrow minded system to an educational hub and a system which now produces the most professionals – IT professionals, Doctors, Engineers, Scientists and the globally acknowledged intellectuals and policy makers.
        The modern India is rising and it is rising in every field. Even the US President Barak Obama during his visit to India in 2010 said that India is not rising but has already risen and has made its place at the International level and its presence is felt anywhere and everywhere be it polity, economy, military, technology etc. It is legislating new laws in UN and is negotiating trade policies in every economic forum be it regional or international. It speaks its mind and concerns in  international governmental and non-governmental conferences of all kinds i.e. human rights, environmental,child welfare and gander justice.
              In International power structure, India is emerging as an alternative centre of power and that is why it is demanding a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, the most powerful organ of the United Nations Organisation.  The journey of 67 years of independent India on the other side has also led to some negative aspects too. Although the constituent assembly was very much democratic in providing equal rights and opportunities for the personality development of the Indian citizens and the political leadership led by M K Gandhi, Abul Kalam and J.L.Nehru were very eager to create the sense of unity within the diverse population of India. But still then India has not been totally successful, neither claiming itself a pure democratic state nor a fully peaceful political system. It is full of various kinds of inter-state and intra-state conflicts making it doubtful for its claim of being a socialist, secular and democratic system.
        The rising communal outlook of modern India is an open challenge to its secular image. Though the constitution provides for a secular polity but the politics of India turned out to be different. The demolition of Babri Masjid, Gujarat carnage, Muzaffar Nagar riots, Ghar Wapsi shake the secular image of the Indian political system. Most of these were openly managed and monitored by the Hindutav forces led by the recognised political parties like BJP, RSS and allied groups like Bajrandal and Vishva Hindu Prashad. And this is in upward trend as more and more people are falling in this trap.
       The modern India is in the midst of serious social crises. The country is becoming a crime hub. Day in and day out the women of India is being disgraced. India has made itself to the list of the most vulnerable countries for women. The poor, illiterate and low caste people are being exploited and crushed. No civilized country behaves with the weaker sections of society in the way as is being behaved in India in the name of caste, colour, creed, sex, status and religion. The country is sliding downwards in its morality and ethics too. The corruption is on the top. It is now state managed as from top to bottom the whole bureaucracy is becoming corrupt. The common man, priest, legislature, judge, policeman, doctor, engineer, teacher and the whole lot is full of corruption. Corruption is there in every aspect of public domain .
          The country is becoming more and more undemocratic and less accommodative in its approach. The society is becoming violent increasingly. The current Indian society seems to be where the Pakistani society was in 1980s. How the west and power politics manufactured the Pakistani society during the hey days of cold war and Afghan crises. Same is the case with the Indian society at present. The ideology, and the outlook of modern Indian society is highly being designed and manufactured by the media and vested interests on the petty issues of neighbourhood politics, terrorism, extremism, religion and gender on the same lines. Because of this outlook a literate and rich Indian citizen is backward, fundamentalist and orthodox in his thinking and action. Criticism of every kind is being strongly crushed and even cheering for foreign cricket team is being viewed as seditious.
               India is exactly at the crossroads where a good, positive, secular and democratic forward looking push will make it a stable, peaceful system, an egalitarian society and an international alternative centre of power with a due role at the global level. But a negative, undemocratic and fundamentalist pull can divide, destroy and erase its whatever position it does have.  Modi, at this critical juncture, has to be more farsighted in his vision and actions.