Ladies & Gentlemen
Moving ON towards Prosperity
is the subject of my talk
- Cut your coat, according to the cloth that you have
- Save for a rainy day
- Honesty is the best policy
These are some of the wisest sayings of our times, And, the most unimpressive ones, for the youth of today.
Do you think our youth are fools? No, they are not. They have reasons to reject clichés and proverbs of the older generation. Many of these were an oxymoron of some kind or the other, giving contradictory advice when seen in combination.
For the youth of today,
Saving is not an option, spending is
In the stresses of modern life, every day is a rainy day. Therefore, living this moment is more relevant than accumulating wealth and then giving it away, to the next generation, or be acquired by banks or government.
And this frame of their mind is not nature given. They have been lured by parents, friends, and society in general to spend beyond means. Unless branded goods are possessed by them, they become unacceptable in the friend’s circle. If men do not give expensive presents to their girlfriends, relationships do not build up.
For them, Honesty is a question mark. They have seen enough of degradation in this respect in the country.
There are many other Clichés of one generation, which fail to impress the next.
Multiple Belief Systems
Let us look at another side of modern life
- Do Hindu children go to temples? Do they read religious literature?
- Do Muslim children think about family planning?
- Are the Sikhs OK, with marrying in other castes?
Those of you, who have seen the recently released film OMG can add many other such questions to this list.
The point that I am making here, is about the belief system. What is right and what is not so right. Who decides the answer to this question for a given situation or an issue. In olden times, it was the parents, teachers, social taboos and religious considerations. Today it is the self. A child, youth or an adult decides for himself what is right and what is wrong.
It is for this reason alone, that we need to prepare children suitably, by improving our education. And here I am not talking about the professional education. I am simply stating that everyone must understand his role as an individual, as a member of the family in which he lives, and as a citizen of this great country.
As citizens, the problem returns to us in the form of value system and the unification of faiths and beliefs. Diversity in terms of religion, region, culture, traditions, language and all other modern dimensions such as material status, being rich or poor, power circles to which an individual attaches himself, reservations etc are leading us to a state of fragmentation and disintegration. This is really the opposite of what the country was trying to achieve thru independence.
Remember, we are the Union of States, in which the states are free to make their own laws and operate. But according to our constitution, we must remain united under the banner of the Central government, who would provide the necessary protection against external forces. The general idea that the Constitution conveys, is that we should be thinking of ourselves as one united country.
Divide and Rule, an abuse that we generally use to defame the British, is not really their giving to this country. It was inherent in our own thoughts and beliefs caused by the spread of population over different regimes, different flavors of religion and the sprawling diversity of multiple dimensions. If a group of 20 individuals is formed today, there is ample chance that it would be split into many sub-groups by the end of the day governed by language, region or religion etc.
So, as a country, we are suffering from the ills of multiple belief systems that strongly disunite us. And we pay for this foolishness in different forms while dealing with international communities.
Another serious issue deserves our attention. Most of you understand imperialism as a technique for acquiring the wealth of other nations, by colonizing and occupying other’s territory. Financial imperialism is a super clever technique to achieve the same results without having to take the trouble of physical occupation.
By maneuvering the political leadership of a country, to raise the level of external conflicts with neighboring countries, the advanced countries sell high-cost weapon systems. By a similar brainwash, they coax the politicians to highlight a perception that there are immense internal shortages so that large-scale imports could be resorted to; transportation systems, nuclear machinery and materials for energy, and many other such things. The politicians bite the bullet willingly because it generates money for them.
By cultural invasion through media and films, advanced countries popularize and glamorize their products, in the name of BRANDs. Our youth, with their impressionable minds, are taken in, thinking that their status is diminished unless they flash branded products in their social circles. A perception also exists that branded goods are of high quality, even if they are produced in China.
The aim of both these strategies, the sale of high technology oriented high-cost specialized products and that of branded consumer products, is just to grab the money from developing countries. The term emerging economies is used to glamorize the developing countries when they start indulging in increased imports. They even hire labor at low cost in the developing countries, to manufacture products or services and sell them back to the same country. They lure the brains and import them to work at cheap costs in their own countries, but at middle levels. And they achieve the same results, of producing goods at low cost and making enormous profits.
To cap it all, they indulge in unfair practices in international trade in order to suffocate the export of goods, agricultural produce or services from the developing countries. In the end, the developing countries by the foolishness of their leaders and innocence of citizens, end up being victims of financial slavery.
Let us now speak a bit about the citizen’s role.
- Ask not what the country gives you; ask what you can give to your country.
- Democracy is a government of the people, by the people… and it should not become a government for the rich and powerful people.
First of all, it must be stated that a democratic country is not a welfare state. So the politicians should not use the welfare schemes as carrots. They should empower the citizens by education and employment. And the citizens should not offer themselves to be used under this ploy.
Democracy is the combined emotion of freedom, equality, and rule of law. We must live and breathe these three sentiments passionately. We must resist all forces, which jeopardize these sensations, with all our might. We must force the leaders to provide us with an environment that nourishes these values. A single point agenda, the Lokpal bill, of Arvind Kejriwal or election reforms by Anna Hazare, will be too slow a process to bring in a real democracy. Some of us may not even live to see the results.
I was so pleased to see, so many of you have done so much, and I certainly wish that you would all do even better in the future. Yet, it must be added that most of these efforts are relevant only because our leaders and the government have not done their bit. While it is the duty of citizens to put in their individual bits, but it is equally important that someone else, the leader or the government, consolidate these efforts. I believe that the mission of iCONGO and the untiring and innovative efforts of its Karamveer community must be extended to a broader spectrum of the Indian society.
It is for these reasons, ie the limited vision of Kejriwal and Anna Hazare, and the restricted scope of work by iCONGO, that I recommend that we find a leader, a worthy leader, who can emerge on the horizon of the country as someone, who will lead us all to prosperity; inclusive prosperity that applies to all the 1.21billion citizens.
In today’s times, the political parties have lost their shine and sheen due to corruption and letting down the citizen in general. Therefore, they are incapable of obtaining a clear mandate from the people. A coalition is the only alternative that they can fall back upon.
What coalition is in real, each citizen of this country must understand. It is an alliance of political parties of different visions coming together to capture power or to sustain it. In coalition, it does not matter what the political agenda or manifesto of an individual party is. It will be diluted in one way or another to accommodate viewpoints of partner parties, for which the partners would take something in return. Only the taxpayers would pay for this booty.
The dogma of numbers is the prime reason, why money exchanges hands or criminalisation of politics takes place. The question then is, does it really matter if good candidates were elected? Will it make a change if bad ones were avoided or recalled? Will elections reforms help when the context is that of a coalition?
I leave it for you to make a judgment. For me, nothing will change unless we have a great leader and a greater ideology.
I am not a politician, and I do not stand here to speak for a particular party, but I can present a solution based on ideology.
The solution to the prevalent chaos in the political situation of the country lies perhaps in streamlining the ideology used for governing the country. Only a leader, or a party that can reinstate the three tenets of democracy, ie freedom, equality and the rule of law, may be able to snatch the stage away from the current UPA in power, and NDA in the opposition. Otherwise, the status quo of confusion and lack of governance would continue beyond the 2014 elections. Only a different grouping of the existing politicians, drunk with power and arrogance, may be formed. And various NGOs would continue to struggle and operate.
Freedom implies freedom to live anywhere in the country and do whatever one is capable of doing. For example, a farmer should focus on agriculture. An entrepreneur should be able to set up business or industry in any city that he feels comfortable to work in. No coercion by the government or by ideologies like communism, or by enforcement agencies should exist since this discourages individuals. Such an environment will foster productivity and lead us to the concept of Swaraj, and foil the designs of financial imperialism.
Equality has been hijacked by the vote seeking parties and given the nomenclature of reservations. Equality must become visible in the social, financial and religious circles. To achieve inclusiveness in these areas, we must avoid being diverted by the diversity in our country.
Rule of law, which means that no one is to be punished without adequate crime and no one must escape if he commits a crime, has been flouted shamelessly. Its violation has encouraged corruption of unfathomable magnitude.
The third front, which we could name as ‘Insaniyat’, implies that the citizens are human beings and they should be treated like humans. By removing the fear of CBI, Income Tax or other forms of coercion, Insaniyat can intrinsically foster the tenets of democracy. It will lead the country towards prosperity. Prosperity is progress that is not judged by GDP but by Happiness Index.
If citizens could resist the temptations of branded products, and the politicians the lure of commissions in high-cost purchases, we could create wealth for consumption within our own country, and reduce the gaping wide between the rich and the poor of today.
So guys, wake up … grab your voting cards … google for the right candidate … and give the country a chance to Move on towards prosperity.