Macaulay destroyed the Indian ethos!
Now, the New Barbarians seek the destruction of the very basis of the Indian ethos!
The rise of the new middle class! The rise of the new underclass!
See the capital city of New Delhi!
The New Delhi Assembly election campaign saw the very contradictions in which we, Indians thrive so beguilingly unconcerned, illegitimate and so totally immoral! New Delhi electorate gives a new Indian phenomenon of neta-babu-cop dominance! What New Delhi exemplifies, the rest of India would flaunt tomorrow! The 5 lakh central government servants, one senior journalist has estimated, carry each day home some minimum Rs. 5,000 as hafta! Not to speak of the deals etc. made by the middle and the so called upper-middle classes of New Delhi, the privileged Lutyens zone occupants!
The Rs. 5,000 hafta is made through the very composition of the Delhi underclass. One more estimates is: vendors and cycle rickshaws far outnumbers babus and netas. Delhi has 5 lakh cycle rikshaws. Only 75,000 of them have municipal licenses. The rest are illegal and they pay bribes. This comes to Rs.6 crores a year. Delhi has 6 lakh street hawkers. Only 5% have licenses. The rest pay bribes. This daily criminalization of life in urban Delhi is a brutal reality of India.
In this blatant reality of injustice, brutality and immorality also accommodates the Rs.10 lakh-costing suti and pant Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore when he went to see US President Barack Obama, side by side the otherwise patently pretending other netas, Rahul Gandhi and the muffler-man Kejriwal who talks of revolution at the bottom pit. With so much of widespread corruption, black money and compromise with the way the average Indian life is run now, let us not debase ourselves further by talking with no intention to do anything seriously.
The very way we live, with such big bungalows we are occupying in Lutyen’s Delhi, with so much unaccounted funds that we spend for our ‘doing politics’, how can we really believe ourselves when we talk of big issues? This is the trouble with our politics. We don’t believe in what we say and do! This hypocrisy is what the voting public has come to understand and that is one big reason why the Congress was voted out. Now, with other players like Mr. Modi and others, we have only to wait to see what difference these newcomers would bring about? Will the crony capitalism disappear?
Unlikely! We have swept aside under our carpet so much baggage. Modi calls for a clean India. Let the PM try to clean and clear the pending legations for reforming the electoral funding, transparent politics, and governance and adopt a more democratic functioning. Otherwise, this rush to brush aside every indiscretion might lead to what the French now call a ‘totalitarian democracy’. History could be a warning to our PM, beware! No revolution, let alone the French type hyperbole are likely in India where we had learnt to live so long under successive invaders.
Our Indian way of life is shaped, yes, by our great saints and rishis, if you like but we lost our way around the 10th century once invaders started to come repeatedly. Alexander the Great was the first invader, then the Mughals and then the British. In spite of all that we had some modern-day wise men, start from Rajaram Mohan Roy, Tagore, Gandhi and finally Pandit Nehru. They brought modernity and wetsernisation values that penetrated Indian minds. But then, this long period of foreign invasions and domination had conditioned the Indian mind to obey, plead, submit and surrender etc. The qualities that gave the Indian mindset a certain flavour, not all very complimentary.
Now, what is Indianness?
Unfortunately, our present set of leaders, both from the Congress and the BJP don’t seem to have a clue to India’s present and also its future. Indian civilization values need to be reconstructed afresh, it seems. Hinduism and Buddhism the great religions had spread all over the Asian and South East Asian continent. Then comes the other contributions! Lately, there have been some debates and discussions about the contribution of Indian ancient, from Aryabhatta and others, to mathematics, to science, medicine and philosophy. But then history is one and it is history and its paths that are well-established. So, we have to acknowledge the Greeks, the Romans and Italian Renaissance and the European Enlightenment.
The ideas and concepts like liberty, democracy, republic, equality and fraternity have to be acknowledged for our further progress, right. However much you want to twist history, you can twist only that much, not more! The world has studied history only in one way that is according to some empirical, Western critical tradition only. Let us at least from now onwards learn to become a modern, civilized nation whom the world will know and have trust in us, as mature people, a mature democracy.
Likewise, we can’t also twist the democratic norms. Democratic India has practiced and won universal fame. So, we have to respect democratic norms too. The BJP party for one has to practice some transparency. The BJP has given to the Election Commission an expenditure of Rs.714,28,57,813 as its election expenditure but like the Congress and BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI(M) the BJP too refuses to comply with the directions to appoint an Information Commissioner to attend to RTI enquires. BJP must take the lead and become more transparent as to the sources of election funds.
This can come more and more if we have an education system that is vibrant, forward-looking and by all standards comparable with the international developments. Can we underestimate sciences, modern historical methods and also can we restructure our education on certain prejudices, arising out of narrow religious bigotry? The Hindutva education is sheer folly.
Studying languages have to be voluntary, free choice. Now, we see the realities.
There are many numbers of private illegal schools, here, in the South in TN and Karnataka. Why even in Delhi we see the private nurseries functioning without any explicit regulations. If at all, the new government can banish the menace of money in commercializing education so grossly. Much more, our universities that are now great scandals. No infrastructure, no faculty, great many vacancies and yet we promise new universities.
Where do we go from here?
What mental make-up you have brought about in the last many months you are in power. You don’t become a minister out of no qualifications, right? Every new minister needs great many expertise, experts around you to give you’re the needed inputs. Who are the experts advising the HRD minister? They are all and sundry and surely, they won’t take you anywhere. Where are the public intellectuals? You need Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Amartya Sen and also Jagdish Bhagwathi and any number from the US best universities and UK’s too. The world is one, globalising one, you can’t produce an education that has no meaning for the outside world, right?
The New Delhi political culture is not a healthy one, as it is. It is dominated by very many narrow, vested interests, too many bureaucrats, lawyers jostling for standing space! The Indian bureaucracy, as it had evolved has destroyed the Indian peoples’ character. The Prime Minister under our Constitution is a very well-undefined institution, as observed by the 5-member bench of the Supreme Court. So, what the PM needs now is no more the showmanship but substance and inner questioning. Take the people along. People who can contribute to the idea of India!
India is a great country and civilisation. We have got the wonderful historical opportunity to play a role in the comity of nations.
India, since Independence, had earned its credentials by way of deep thought and wise statesmanship. Gandhi and Nehru and their colleagues came out of the great long struggle for freedoms. So, let us respect their wisdom. Let us build a fresh from the foundations. Indian education, in our view, must give the Indian mind a new and bold self-confidence. We have to shed the subservience, servility, cowardice and compromising mind with truth. Democracy, freedoms, human rights, rules of law and of course a free-market economy and social justice are the very creeds of the Indian people. Let us build a vibrant India as an ‘education for the world’, the very words uttered by Pericles to the Athenians some 2,500 years ago!