“Sight is about what lies right in front of us. Vision is what lies ahead” goes the old adage. India is an old civilization and an extremely complex society. Her glorious past, natural beauty, resources, vast size and above all her unique geographical location has always given her the pride of place in the world. With the ups and downs of history it has retained its vibrancy. Yet, due to callousness and lethargy on our part and due to the negative slant of the media here, we as a nation have not been able to attain the status of a developed nation thus far.
|The People's President|
In this famous speech delivered in IIT Hyderabad on 25 May 2011, Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam outlines his three visions for his motherland India and pleads for Indians to be involved in the nation-building process and to make India a developed nation.
Dr.Kalam’s First Vision: Freedom
In 3000 years of our history, people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands and conquered our minds. Yet, we have not conquered anyone. Because, we respect the freedom of others, and that is the reason for his first vision of Freedom. India got its first vision of this in the Indian Rebellion in the year 1857, when we started the war of Independence. It is this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on.
His Second Vision: Development
We have been a developing nation for fifty years, and so it is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. In terms of GDP, we are among the top five nations of the world. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are being globally recognised today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed nation.His Third Vision: India must stand up to the World
India must stand up to the world. Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand.
Four Milestones in Dr.Kalam’s Career:
Dr.Kalam says that being the project director for India’s first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3, was the first milestone in his career. Second was when Agni met its mission requirements in 1994. Third came the partnership between DRDO and the Dept of Atomic Energy. Removing the pain of little boys and girls in hospital, by replacing heavy metallic callipers weighing over three kg each with 300-gram callipers, was the fourth bliss or milestone of his career.
The Media’s Obsession with Bad News, Failures and Disasters:
Dr.Kalam wonders how the media in India could be so negative. Giving the example of Dr.Sudarshan, who has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit, Dr.Kalam says that there are millions of such achievements in India but our media is only obsessed with only the bad news and failures and disasters.
In Tel Aviv, where gory killings, deaths and bombardments take place every now and then, the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to.
The Nation’s Obsession with Foreign Things:
Dr.Kalam is surprised at the people’s obsession with foreign things. We want foreign TVs, foreign shirts, foreign technology. There is an obsession for everything that is imported. According to Dr.Kalam, self respect comes only with self-reliance.
Conformity in Foreign Countries but Detached in Motherland:
In India, we the people blame the government for being inefficient, the laws for being too old, the municipality for not picking up the garbage etc. But what do we do about it? In Singapore, you don’t throw cigarette butts on the roads. You wouldn’t dare to speed beyond 55mph in Washington and tell the traffic cop about your heavy political connections. You wouldn’t spit paan on the streets of Tokyo. When the same Indian can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries, he cannot do that in his own. You will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India?
The Easy way Out: Blame it on the System:
We sit back wanting the government to do everything for us, while our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place, nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. When it comes to social issues like women, dowry, girl child etc., we make loud drawing room protestations and do the reverse at home.
And for all these negatives on our part, we blame it on the system. The whole system has to change, we seem to justify. For us, the system consists of everyone else except me and YOU. When it comes to making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along and work miracles for us, or we leave the country and run away.
Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system, because our conscience is mortgaged to money.
Dr.Kalam winds up with the words of J.F.Kennedy to his fellow Americans, and relates it to Indians: “Ask what we can do for India and do what has to be done to make India what America and other Western countries are today.”
I was sitting and reflecting, thinking what I want my India to be like. We have been busy being critical of the present times and government that we have actually never stopped and thought what we want our country to be like but we definitely know what we don’t want it to be like.
But now I have a fairly clear vision of what I want my India to be like. While envisaging my India I had to keep in mind that the India of my dreams should be practical and sustainable enough to accommodate all my fellow citizens whether registered with the Government of India or not.
I had to bear in mind that India is also called a subcontinent and not just a country. It has; from the coldest places- Drass in western Ladak to the hottest – Thar desert. India is called a subcontinent not only because of its myriad geographical structures- rivers, mountains, plateaus etc. but also because of diversity in cultures, ethnicity, languages, population and anatomy.
While travelling across India from Kanyakumari to J&K one witnesses such assortment that it sort of represents a subcontinent in itself. On the geographical front where India has the highest peak in the world – Mt. Everest and the highest plateau as well – the Tibetan Plateau also known as the roof of the world.
India also has the deepest point – the Mariana Trench.
This subcontinent has to a place where harmony and peace can prevail with people gradually developing as a part of a self – sustaining and self – sufficient society.
The differences in cultural heritage must be incorporated in its best forms for enhancement of the generations’ intellect and to instill the patriotic spirit not only for the country but for different religions, sects, classes etc. Hierarchy may exist but due to its existence no divide should hinder my India’s’ progress.
I dream of an India where people are eager to except the divergence in ethnicity without resulting in partition of land, civil strife or insurgencies. An ideal India which wouldn’t be prejudiced on the basis of dialect, an India where vernacular languages would definitely exist as a part of heritage and would be passed on generations down the line altogether but wouldn’t be the reason for distress between individuals or community.
The ever so different population of millions would stand as one; against injustice done to one. There would be transparency between the elected representatives and the people they represent- the people from among whom they have come.
The representatives would have to convince the people through action rather than hollow words to be suitable for candidacy for any post as esteemed as a minister of Government of India. This India would work towards bridging the economic disparity and thus bringing close – those friends that have been looked down upon with contempt and thus have drifted apart.
People here would work towards social advancements and bring to fore hidden talents and cultural legacies. The community would benefit from a symbiotic relationship and understanding. It would curb ways that adversely affect the environment and use the natural resources judiciously.
An understanding populace would cultivate healthy practices of hygiene and sanitation improving the standards of living.
There would be availability of resources for the need of all from fooding to health care facilities.
The industrial sector in this India would be consumer and environment friendly and would be instrumental in bringing low cost, effective tools for the comfort of individuals; preventing inflation at any point of time.
India of my vision would occupy the position of the harmonic country in international relations bringing the world together.
My vision is an educated, intellectual, healthy and compassionate India.