India should matter in today’s world, right?
How far? India has reversed the democratic path?
Some thoughts for the younger generation!
The world today is not an orderly world. We have just to see how the departing US President, Donald Trump had spoilt the very good and great name of the USA in such disgrace and made himself a laughing stock in the way he treated his August office. What a blot for the democratic legacy we have all learnt to uphold as a beacon of high political ideals the world over. And that gave the world political system a sense of stability and a long-term hope and inspiration.
America became a sort of culmination of a great political ideal that can be traced back to very long legacy since the very concept of democracy originated in the 2,500 BC in Athens. Why even in the late 18th century when the French Revolution came about in 1789, we saw the great American leaders who learnt the democratic core values, liberty, equality and fraternity were all incorporated into the American Constitution and that is held as a great measurement of the democratic ideals the world over.
And we Indians come in this quest for democratic political ideals by looking at America and that is where we are today with cultivating the American dream by a nearly unprecedented number of nearly 40 lakh well-educated Indian population settled down as proud citizens. India after its liberation from the hold of the British Empire still looks to the British legacy as its own, we value our old links but progressively we are looking at the Atlantic sea as our new frontier.
Of course lately India’s relation with America got many new bonding and also many distortions. Today, after the emergence of the BJP, Indian government sight new alliances and under Trump we thought we had got a new alley that we think would further enhance our standing in the world. Unfortunately, the latest happenings at the White House storming by Trump’s committed followers have suddenly woke us up, in fact we Indians known for easy briefs and lately by much fake news and much else from the Social Media sources. The very leader of America was banned by the Twitter handle! What an irony and shame!
We seem to be speechless suddenly and except for a lone voice, in fact a sort of murmur, there are, many otherwise world known, no well-orchestrated comments from the Indians sources. We have become suddenly a dumb nation, it seems. Why the otherwise many brilliant Indian intellectuals settled in the USA also become such dumb, on-speaking silent dumb creatures! I wonder!
Indian standing in the world forums even at the best of times is not very high thanks to our long-time history and also by various reasons. India needs to build up a credible alternative narrative and that can be done only by retracing our history from the Independence time onwards. Since the time of the Independence in 1947 India pursued a new style of foreign policy, variously known as Non-Alignment Policy. It is my firm belief that even now India has to seek a sort of independent foreign policy and also a sort of new balancing act with great emphasis on our core democratic ideals.
Democracy is a very delicate political ideal and since the tie of the leaders, from Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. There was a noticeable continuity and the pursuit of an independent. Foreign policy. After Nehru we have been dictated by various forces and one after another events and circumstances took us away from this delicately woven foreign policy we are now where we are thanks to various players.
Under the recent players, specially, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh regimes we lost direction and we almost sank to a near paralysis, not just in domestic policy but also in our foreign policies. This writer was lucky tohave grown up under the shadows of Panditji who for a long time served as the Acharya (Chancellor) of Visva-Bharati University. At Santiniketan and every year whenever he comes and speaks at the Convocation he used to draw our attention to the Tagore legacy of world view and thus we learnt much about India’s quest for a universal fellowship and thus the Indian foreign policy nuances evolved even for Panditji under the shadow of Tagore.
This emphasis on the history and evolution of India’s foreign policy needs to be drawn again from authentic sources. Today, Santiniketan is drawn into a messy controversy, we don’t exactly know who is the author of this controversy and unfortunately Santiniketan’s foundation as the source of much of contemporary controversies must be repaired in right earnest by the competent hands.
India today is a decertified land as far as a new education and new studies in contemporary world affairs. Much of the liberal values are getting suffocated and politics itself has become illiberal. The sort of society we see in Delhi, in the power centre seems to be centre of self-seeking individuals’ sort of oligarchs, this time they seek only survival goals and no more public spirited politicians. There is a steady deterioration of values.
Universities are in decline. Why even independent research and study centres, there are too many to mention here, one such is the Indian Council of World Affairs, established with much expectation is not heard at all these days, and so are others. India is a great democracy and by now we should have head many similar international level research centres.
Even when we studied at Santiniketan there was the world famous Cheena Bhavan with great leaders visiting, one such was the great Chiu-En-Lai with whom the author had the great honour of shaking hands! Martin Luther King came to Santiniketan in my time. We seem to have become a poor nation suddenly. We have to take up many of the UN institutions ideas and goals.
India should become an internationally inspiring centre of world pursuits and diverse studies. Indian
Universities must draw more foreign students. So universities must introduce many diverse studies. In short, India should now emerge as the new centre for studying diverse cultures, languages and philosophies.