India: Super Power or Super Poor… Does not Matter…..

Now, I just went to IIT Roorkee to participate in their technical fest which they dubbed as the biggest in Asia ( I wonder how can every technical fest of an IIT can be the biggest in Asia) and while coming back from there I saw something interesting, something damn interesting. I had become famous at IIT Roorkee for literally setting the stage on fire but what I saw in the passenger train that I took from Chandigarh to Ropar saddened me. For all the soft powers of development that we have it is the hardware of development we need to work on.

For years we have remained a soft country. A country that has attracted other nations as a friend, has accepted religions like none other has and has defied the scholars who had predicted we will disintegrate in the 1960’s or even in the 1950’s. We have a name that has originated from the name of a river whose major flow is another country and in 2004 we showed the world something astonishing. We had a woman political leader (and she is from Italy and a Christian) winning the elections, letting a Sikh take oath under a Muslim president to administer a country where 81% of the population follows Hinduism. USA the oldest democracy in the world took 220 years to elect a president who is non-white (still a male and Christian) and this happened four years after Mrs Gandhi’s victory over the odds. Yes, we are the only country where the diasporic Jews did not face anti-Semitism. Somehow over the years we have defied the odds, wrestled the problems and somehow been done and dusted with them.

But it saddens me that some problems are being used for propaganda rather than solving them for once and all. I feel helpless when I see the Rajasthan government showing pictures of a lady carrying large water containing vessels in their tourism brochure and in some way using it as next to its USP. It saddens me that when we try and put ourselves a country not of snake charmers I found a lot of them in that small journey in a type of train that sees the highest head count. Suddenly, travelling in a Shatabdi or even sitting in my hostel rooms seems like sitting in ivory towers. Yup, we are super poor, but we tout ourselves as a future super power not probably but undoubtedly because it does not even matter to us now. Most of you who are reading this

By the way we just passed or are about to pass the Food Security Bill (see how ignorant I have become) that promises grains to everyone. Yes, our first prime minister said that administers’ job would not be over until everyone goes to his or her bed with food in their bellies. Nice thought but what about creating not rats but potential assets out of the poor. We have just 4 crores to be given away as angel investment to those who innovate and not to mind that many a times it is the poor who innovate. Let us learn to market their innovation, their hard work, let us learn to create wealth for them and not mere rats out of them. For more information about innovations from the poor do watch Anil Gupta ji’s TED TALK. And yes, why the Rajasthan government purchases some Pedal powered water filters from Mayapedal and gives them away to those women. So much for saving money in the bank accounts.

Once, I was talking to my Mathematics teacher once and he said that the government does help NGOs but the NGOs does nothing but give the poor money and go away leaving them unmotivated and without a model to feed their stomach again. Hell, ya their number would just increase.

We see all this around us all the time. You can find thousands of James Bonds in India just have a look over the roof of the train. Many get electrocuted and die but how does it even matter. We will have a look at them and pray to god for the dead ones and forget the main problem. We are bewitched by seeing them but we fail to ask the question, why they have to be like this.

Yes, we should celebrate the fact that the daily soap opera had the Afghanistani people hooked to their TV sets so much so that Reuters once reported that a thief wrote on the car (whose movable parts he had removed at 8:30 in the night, the time when Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi used to be telecasted), ‘TULSI ZINDABAD’. Yes, it is a reason to celebrate that due to our culture we will always attract people but to include the poor in this culture should be the main agenda because poverty can turn even the best of men into devils. We need long term plans and THEIR PROPER EXECUTION.

I think I have said enough. I am starting to cough again. It has been increasing over the days and for some reason when I cough while talking on the phone people think I am faking. But I guess all of us have had a consensus on how to live without a consensus. I will have to go now. Just thought too much about this super power and super poor thing. In around one and a half years I will have a good job, probably clear some more exams, would have joined an organization that gives me a certificate to be a member. All in all I should be able to feed my stomach and then do hell with others. Who cares… after all super power or super poor…… IT DOES NOT EVEN MATTER……..

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