LPG. Don’t mistake it for Liquefied Petroleum Gas! I meant Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization. The three wonderful terms that opened up the world to free trade and markets. Countries prospered and swam in new found riches. Currencies sky rocketed. India too opened up its doors to LPG in the year 1991, under the able guidance of Sri Manmohan Singh (the then Finance Minister) and Late Sri PV Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister of India. Since then, India (at least some aspects of it) hasn’t turned back to look upon on its gloomy past. Not to mention, several roadblocks and obstacles during its 23 year journey.
However, during this period, the stupendous development and progressive increase in per capita income put aside, the Indian has forgotten to appreciate his own country. All of us are taught about Indian history, geography, economics, polity etc. on a basic level during our school years, but how many of us remember it? I can confidently say that we did not possess the mental maturity to grasp such concepts and appreciate their real life scale and applicability. By the time, we are in our late teens and early twenties, the advent of the internet and exposure to western cultures completely erases the passion that one possesses for his home country. I am not in support of staunch patriotism under which one says that his country is best. That is definitely wrong! All that I am trying to say is to understand our country properly before we move on to other world states.
Why is it that we get influenced by only the western countries while they are equally developed nations in the east like China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia and Australia? Do you have an answer? I think it is because of several reasons. Maybe the presence of your kith and kin or your temporary stay in a western country or maybe it is just that the Indian media gives more weight to the developed world! Another reason that I can conjure is the heavy migration to the western world for the purpose of higher education. Most of the Ivy League institutes are located in Europe and the Americas. What about universities like the National University of Singapore (NUS), KAIST in Korea, University of Hong Kong. Their doors are equally open to Indians.
Does the dollar exchange rate play a key role? A stronger dollar against the rupee gives a bigger bank balance in India. I know people who get paid in USD working in Southeast Asia. So that might not be the reason!
Oh! I have lost track of the original discussion, although some of the paragraphs above lead to the final argument. So, one thing, what we as Indians fail to understand is the prowess and caliber of our country. We believe that our country is only wrought with illicit politicians and corruption. We believe that our technology is inferior to other developed nations. We believe that our constitutional machinery is outdated. We believe that our geography is not good enough when compared to other nations.
We share happenings around the world on YouTube. We talk to unknown faces on Facebook and WhatsApp. We like photos clicked by somebody half way around the world on Instagram. What I had begun to observe is that most of them are either Non-Indian or Western. Sometimes, I myself forget that I live in India, which is a part of the sub-continent, which in turn is a part of South Central Asia which finally falls under the continent Asia. So where is the content about this region? This discussion excludes scholars, scientists, artists, authors, teachers, the common man and everyone else who have dedicated their entire lives to the study of this region.
Hence, it is time that we know a little about our nation.
SHAR (Sriharikota High Altitude Range) located near Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, is the launch pad of Indian space missions. Its technology and expertise parallels that of NASA and is no less. The MCC (Mission Control Centre) at SHAR is just like out of a Hollywood movie, if you like it to be heard that way. And which nation, but India can launch a mars mission at the cost of Rs. 500 crores. That is less than the budget of major English movies! All these words come from a man who visited SHAR and has stood on the launch pad of several GSLVs and PSLVs at a height of 75 feet overlooking the Bay of Bengal.
India is the leader and monopolist in Thorium research and development. No other country has yet picked it up at our scale. Thorium is an alternative to Uranium in nuclear energy plants that generate alternative sources of energy. Unlike the unstable nature of Uranium, Thorium is relatively safe and can be happily used for civil purposes.
Saichen Glacier is the highest battleground in the world. Every day, our Indian soldiers, go through harsh and life threatening conditions to protect our borders, so that all of us can sleep peacefully at home. When a joint exercise of the US and Indian army was conducted, the US Army saluted the Indian soldier for his patience, mettle and perseverance to operate under such harsh conditions. No serviceman in the world is subject to such conditions on a daily basis. All this, while we discuss F-22s, China’s Nuclear heads, Russia’s KGB etc.
Did you ever notice that each one of us can speak at least two languages? India is a multi-linguistic country by its very nature. All of us can speak at least two languages like Hindi and English and in some cases three languages easily! Very few countries have that ability! And for a fact, most of us speak better English than several other nations. Only, if we could get rid of those fake accents to woo that girl or to show-off in a coffee shop! If you ever get a chance to read through the modern history of India, you will be flabbergasted at the language used by our intellectuals and freedom fighters!
During the recession in 2008, 16 public sector banks (Mind you, not private!) in India made it to the Fortune 500 list! They stood strong and profitable through that tough period. We don’t grant loans to everyone and anyone! That made me realize why our bankers are so tough on us while recovering money!
India’s history is nearly 5000 years old. Patliputra (Present day Patna), the capital of the Mauryan Empire was known for its beauty, culture and administrative abilities. The Mauryans ruled almost all of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and some parts of the Greek occupied East Asia. The Greek ambassador in the Mauryan court, Megasthenes described India in all its valor and splendor. His work Indika, is a comprehensive layout of the life in India during those times. Did you know that Patna is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world?
All the above are just appetizers! There’s so much that you and I don’t know about our country called India. Visit Kashmir before you talk about the beauty of Switzerland. Explore our National parks before you start jumping amazed at the sight of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Relish some of the tastiest street foods from Kolkata, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bangalore and other places before you start praising international cuisines.
Recently, many youngsters have forgotten our wonderful heritage and culture and feed on artificial culture and fads. It is time that we as their brothers and sisters, wake up and educate them about this wonderful country! I would love to recollect the Preamble to the Constitution of India here. I never understood it and found it extremely hard to remember as a kid. But now, I feel proud to render it whenever possible:
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, DO HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”
The constitution came into force on January 26, 1950 which is now celebrated as the Republic Day. Our constitution was not ratified by majority. We gave it to ourselves. It may sound complex as a whole, but if you break it down, it seems much simpler! A Sovereign country achieving self-reliance, Socialist seeking welfare of the people, Secular giving respect to all religions, Democratic in the nature of people appointing the representatives, Republic in which power resides in us.
Justice at three levels: Socially, Economically and Politically
Liberty or Freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship (Secular)
Equal status and opportunity irrespective of caste, creed, sex or religion
Fraternity or promotion of brotherhood to attain DIGNITY of an individual and promote UNITY and INTEGRITY of the nation!
Wow! The best thing that I have ever read in my life!