The Rise of a Nation…
A country, one of the world’s biggest, with a burgeoning economy that promises peace and prosperity to its billions in the times to come. It’s come a long way to be what it is now. As I write this, I’m a business student, and my visions of optimism for our country’s future are confirmed by what I learn and the books I read in the corridors of my university. The rise of our country is a story, a continuing one that isn’t over yet, but it’s a story nevertheless, and pride would be a mild word for what I feel to have been born here.
Not that it’s a utopia of perfection, at least not yet. There’s a long way to go. Corrupt politicians, lazy bureaucrats and the thousands of poor are not stereotypes. They are very much alive and well. The nexus between thugs, politicos and yes, the corporate world is not overstated anywhere. But these are problems, just one or two of many more. And the thing with problems is that we can overcome them. And we are well on our way.
How did we do it? How did a country so mired in casteism, communalism, religion and corruption get on this path that culminates in it becoming a world power? It is almost impossible to know the answer. Of course, there are many suggestions, of which some I hear in classes. The powerful middle class, domestic consumption, the entrepreneurial spirit, the government, and the liberalisation and so on, all of them are valid, of course. Or more possibly, it’s a cumulative outcome of all of this.
But these are things that almost every developing nation has, at least most of them do. So where does India’s strength lie? What is so different here? I venture a suggestion, which you may agree or disagree with. India’s strength, as it is, lies in its roots, in our time honoured traditions, in the culture where our family comes first and a mother is God incarnate, where our elders are consulted every time a decision is made and where respect, humility and hard work is a way of life. This is the culture me and my friends were brought up in, so I assume most of my age group was too. We weren’t taught honesty and hard work, we saw it in our parents, we were never taught sacrifice or non violence, we learnt that we were free people because so many died for us, we were never told to be kind and compassionate, it’s who we inherently are.
We live in cities, in humungous metropolises, where our country does business, in midsized towns where small businesses and start ups take their first baby steps, but the heart of India still lives in the village, in the greenery of a wheat field. We all came from there, and our strength lies in the fact that we never forget it. Sure, we are western more and more, I don’t deny it. We eat burgers, wear torn jeans and bang our heads to rock music, but we still sit on the terrace with our family and eat sugarcane, don’t we?
When the Babri Masjid verdict was due to be out recently, there was a sense of tension in the air, as the fear of communal riots saw armed forces being dispatched all over the country. The fear was misplaced. Not one notable incident of violence was recorded, not even a broken window. The country listened to the verdict, thought about it and moved on. India had better things to do. I’ll never forget that day, that sense of pride. My country had come of age.
There are a lot many more forces driving our country, but this is what India represents as a nation and as a people, this is what makes us different. Every nation has its strength, this is ours, and being honest and noble in our intentions, we can only continue our incredible story, our march forward. India will endure, not because of the poor boy from the family below the poverty line, who studies engineering on a scholarship, lands a high paying job and with his first salary, goes to watch a movie at a multiplex, but because the same boy will go give his earnings to his mother, and then ask her if he can have some money to go to a movie.
It’s a part of the world where values, morals and family still matter much more than anything else. And until we have that, I don’t think our identity can ever be threatened. Our country rises, because of what it’s built on.