Best of India Empowered

(via Indian Express) has a series on views of leading personalities on what India Empowered means to them. I was very disappointed that politicians made statements that were the most motherhood and apple pie and no substance. Of course Manmohan Singh and Abdul Kalam continued their NATO (No Action Talk only) statements. Also disturbed that Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraje Scindia were part of the series who have nothing to show except their inheritance, this was not expected from Indian Express to put them on the same platform as Nandan Nilekani, Subroto Bagchi, Azim Premji and Rahul Kumar Bajaj who really definied states that required every citizen to participate.

My feelings on politicians is further expressed by Dr Puri. The current series in Indian Express seems to be an exercise in megalomania. Pardon me for setting up a discordant note but the same people who claim the “potential” belong to the same group that existed 50 years back.

It was a dream that went sour and sacrificed at the altar of socialism; the policies directed in the name of helping the poor. A huge monolithic structure was set up, a leviathian and aging dinosaur which refused to budge from it’s stated position. Any attempt to nudge it was met with steadfast resistance.

This isn’t to deny the true place of this country in the world. Indians have made their mark- mostly out of India far from the encumbered system that rewards mediocrity. In all, we have forgotten our Hindu roots and savadharma. A nation that forgets it’s history and refuses to honour it’s true heros is doomed anyway.It is the legacy of the British Raj and Macaulay’s system of Education-Indians in India have refused to think for themselves. The vast majority of the illiterate people are only fodders for the vote bank politics rather than being productive assets to the nation. A “young and dynamic” population- with a huge young age is a clear reflection of the Population policy failure. The same “young population” 25 years down the line would be a burden; given the paltry Social security existent( with no signs of implementation in the near future ) it would be a HUGE liability. After all, for how long can we crow about the same?

I could go on and on and rebut the claims made by the “famous” people here. That isn’t the objective here and would be out of scope. The true energy can only be unleashed if we iron out the major flaws in the current existing system. Indians in India can prosper only if we move out of the narrow confines of small pressure groups and devise a system that rewards performances and achievements rather than those people at the helm of the affairs who claim proximity to powers that be.

In this scenario, the strangulating role of the fourth estate has to be done away with. The unholy nexus between power and supression of truth is holding the seige to this nation.

Indian Express has done well and good to highlight the various issues that can be ameliorated. Though clearly, it has become a vehicle for those who are responsible for the present mess in the system. Their own “vision” is opaqued to the present scenario and clearly at variance with the reality. Indian Express ought to elicit comments from those people who are directly affected by the present system.

If the object of the posts is to elicit honest debate, then so be it. If the purpose is to highlight what our “leaders”(illinformed,misguided and fossilised) have to say, then we are in for trouble! The newspaper isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Yet, being featured here on Indian Express gives it undeserved legitmacy!

Lets check some of the good ones.

When we begin to value those who do physical work by Subroto Bagchi

In Subroto’s empowered India, people will be valued not just for mental work but for physical work they do. People who perform physical work, will be paid respectable wages that make basic comforts in life as accessible to them as they are to you and I. One day, I got down at the Orly airport in France and was picked up by a cab driver. The man was as well dressed as any one else. We got chatting on the way as he was driving me to a hotel near Versailles where I had a conference to attend. Next to my hotel, stood an even more beautiful hotel and pointing it out to me, the man said, that is where his wedding took place. I was simply amazed.

All of us pushing the envelope in our spheres of influence by Rahul Kumar Bajaj

For Rahul Kumar Bajaj, a society moves forward when the capable and the deserving are supported in their desire to move ahead. A society that does not support its weak is inhumane and uncivilised, but the achieving societies that deliver a better life to their people are those that cheer their winners. As Blake said, ‘‘Great things are done when men and mountains meet, this is not done by jostling in the street’’.

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi once said, in a very different context, that what is good is difficult and difficulty is what one tends to avoid. We have to try to live by the higher than all laws, our internal moral law.

Most of us are paying 20 per cent or more of our incomes to the government and get little more than the electric lamp on our streets in return. Let us give one per cent of our incomes to those in need or trying to achieve something.

I have Tagore’s ‘‘Where the mind is without fear’’ in my office. I have yet to discover a better vision for our country. Each day I read it to get the strength to cope with the absurdities of today and to work for a better tomorrow.

Reducing knowledge gap between the ruler and the ruled by Nandan M Nilekani

To truly empower India, we need to reduce the knowledge asymmetry between the ruler and the ruled. Once the opaque veils on our state are raised, the citizen will be truly in charge. The sunshine that we bring to bear on the inner working of government will ensure that both the incompetent and the corrupt will have far less chance of getting away with it.

To do this, we have to bring together the two great proven successes of Independent India, our democratic tradition and our mastery over Information Technology. The process begins by using technology to automate and streamline the processes of the way we take decisions, use funds and deliver services to the people. This automation is usually seen as way to streamline processes, improve public delivery, reduce corruption etc.

Reforming our schools to chart social progress by Azim Premji

Azim quotes Swami Vivekananda: ‘‘Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth. Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making, assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library.’’

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