Thursday, January 08, 2009

Call of a Nation

Election season will be upon us soon as we will once again be called upon to fulfill our duties as citizens by choosing those who will lead us for the next 5 years. India has achieved so much in the 62 years since we took control of our own destiny and so much still remains to be done. The under-current in all our triumphs and failures is one of silent optimisim. As Sashi Tharoor sums up:
Indians are filled with the sence of the possible. There is a tremendous degreee of optimism about the future, which is all the more intresting coming from a people who in so many other ways are anchored in the past.”
For India, the tale of the last 60 years is above all the triumph of democracy. We have been able to build democratic and stable political institutions over six decades while democracies around us have faltered. There has been a transformation of national level politics where we have gone from a dominant one party government to coalation governments. We have been able to grow at an incredible rate considering the obstacles that confront such a diverse country. India is set to become the largest population in the world and it is predicted that India’s GDP will overtake that of the United States in the 2050s, when India will resume its rightful place in the world, one it has occupied through most of history.

It has not always been smooth sailing, we have faced many challenges which have tested us to the hilt and we have faltered on occations. The NE states have still not been integrated into the mainstream, riots still flare up in the name of religion, education of the masses remains elusive and infrastrucure is patchy at best. These are all issues which will have to be handeled by the coming governments and their capability and dedication will decide the path we take in the coming decades.

It is time we take our destiny by the scruff. Development, both economic and social, education and equality for all must be our new quests. We must also strive to improve relations with our neighbours. At the dawn of our history, Nehru said, “India started on her unending quest and trackless centuries are filled with her strivings and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike, she has not lost track of that quest or forgotten the ideals that gave her her strenght.” Today is the time when India discovers herself again. “India; the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new.”

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