Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reality Check: India

India is a land of complexities – with more people joining the working age population every month. But this was to be expected - at least to some extent – back in 1947, when India was born – many critics highlighted the issues of population and the widespread poverty. Neither of those revolutionary nationalist policies addressed these issues in the short run, but they permanently altered the landscape of imagined possibilities in which the shape of the future was forged – long run vision was considered supreme. The pioneering effort of then policy makers to convert a theoretical weakness into a structured strength is commendable – advent of clear focus for educational excellence in the form of IITs, non-polarized approach in regard to foreign policy, infrastructure development for basic necessities. 

There are always two sides to a story – India, emerging from bitter experiences of the past followed a socialist model to ensure national interests, up until 1990s when Indian economy hit rock-bottom with reserves enough to cater for 17 days and not beyond. The growth rate up until then was marginal and reflected the lack of short run objectives of then policy makers – few ill informed scholars termed it as Hindu rate of growth. Indian Economy opened up in early 1990s – credit for which is with no sensible reason given to then finance minister alone and the real visionary, then prime minister was suitable forgotten. 

India grew through the last decade of 20th century at an improved pace – policies can be largely termed as confused capitalistic approaches, resulting from emergence of coalition politics. India lost her visionary leaders – few ill informed and loyal servants of high command (not necessarily democratically elected, but assumed to represent Indian interests so far) scaled up through the ranks to drive policy for the country. 

Similarly, social movements which played a leading role earlier to preserve the sanctity of any policy measure have lost their integrity through selfish leaders along with redefined politicking proficiencies of few dynamic national leaders. Early 1990s saw India consciously move from taking a socialistic approach to a pseudo dialectical materialist approach with gradually social movements losing their integrity because of few leaders with political ambitions – race, caste, gender, environment,  women rights have come to be few of the abused topics for personal gains.

Come 2000, India lost most of her intellectual sons/daughters because of brain drain – aided by intellectually retarded leaders who felt selfishness is a prerequisite for any policy decision. Unlike the revolutionaries before them, these leaders lived in a world of ignorance and arrogance. – And citizens were left to hope that things will change. Media with their commercial interests and sold souls supported leaders who did not think twice to hit under the belt – unfortunate Times     

The working class – general citizenry were motivated by promises made and broken - and this is what has mostly dominated the remainder of this century up until now. The policy paralysis and lack of any action aiding development, social movements fanning public anger along with advent of social tools for better communication exposed the usual ways of conducting political business – multiple scams were discovered, few “I am sorry, I have sold my soul” media houses and their up-until-then respected editors/journalists were exposed – few attempting a doctored peer review procedure to get over it. This sowed the seed, in comparison to the past – now Indians want answers. The working class as Karl Marx puts it has started the inter-class struggle. This will lead to a new class order. A more pro-active vision, drawing on a wider range of dreams, will begin to emerge, most distinctly, facebook generation's continuing struggle for democratic self-governance and new forms of organization will lead to ethical capitalism.
 If this nationwide revolutionary wave is to reshape how policy making process is structured in India over the course of decades, it will need to shift much more decisively into nurturing, developing, and working out the implications of a whole new set of dreams and aspirations that simply cannot fit within the confines of the pre-informed world and eliminate such channels which propagate and support any possibility otherwise.