New year dreams that don’t let India sleep!

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By: Dr. Satyawan Saurabh

“At midnight, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”. This “Tryst with Destiny” speech of Jawaharlal Nehru was symbolic of the dream that our freedom fighters had fulfilled. It also gave us the vision of the next dream to be followed by the people of India.

Gandhi’s vision of India was to promote domestic industrialization for the self-reliant development of our country. He was of the view that rural India is the backbone of India’s development. If India has to develop, then the rural sector should also have equal development. He also wanted India to be free from all social evils like poverty, unemployment, discrimination based on caste, color creed, religion, and most importantly to end untouchability against the lower castes (Dalits) whom he called ‘Harijans’. it is said.

These philosophies reflect the social status of the then society of India. Even after 75 years of independence we still find these social issues persisting in India. The Preamble of our Constitution specifies India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, and republic country. Let us see how we have fulfilled our dream as a citizen of India to make this definition come true. We have been able to make this dream come true after 100 years of freedom struggle. Even during the Cold War era when the two superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union, were forming alliances to counter each other, we opted for non-alignment, not to join any alliance to preserve our sovereignty. Although colonialism has been banned by the United Nations, something similar to neo-colonialism is taking root in the international world.

Neocolonialism is defined as the indirect control over the policies of states by other states. Recently we have seen pressure from India and other underdeveloped countries such as the US to introduce genetically modified (GM) seeds at the United Nations and to liberalize the market for agricultural imports from developed countries. GM seeds privatize agriculture and thus pose a great threat to the quality of the soil as well as to the social status of the farmers of India. India has been continuously targeted at the international forum by the US over research in the development of seeds adapted to Indian soils.

Another example of a threat to India’s sovereignty is global terrorism. India has been witness to the 26/11 and Pathankot attacks by militants. India also faces insurgency activities from Naxalites and insurgents in the Northeast, from the Assam separatist movement to demand Bodoland. These activities lead to the loss of innocent lives and damage to government properties, which hinders the development of the country. To keep this dream alive, we have to show unity against these activities. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) decision against Facebook for monopolizing the Internet was exemplified by strong unanimous disapproval by the people of India.

Our first Prime Minister was of the view of the important role of the government in the planning and development of the country. Liberalization of industries took place only after 1991, license raj ended. Recently we saw an inflow of money through Foreign Direct Investment in India. If we see closely, we have not opened 100% FDI in the maximum sectors of India. Privatization of the market undoubtedly provides the best competition in society with quality products. But if we adopt it, then the market will supply only those products which are in demand and from which they can make a profit while neglecting other essential supplies.

Also, a socialist society aims at achieving equal results for every citizen, providing equal opportunities in jobs, providing minimum wages, and providing necessities like food, education, health, etc. Presently India is the country with the largest number of underprivileged people suffering from poverty, ill health, unemployment, ill-treatment due to discrimination, lack of awareness due to poor education, etc. To curb these social issues, we as citizens of India should be active in sincerely implementing the policies made by the government while actively forming organizations.

India finds its unity in diversity. After the communal riots that took place after independence, India has understood that by taking sides with any religion, India has to suffer in the long run. But even today we find religious hatred in society. Over the years we have seen communal riots in the form of the 1984 Sikh riots, the 2002 Godhra carnage, the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, the demolition of Babri Masjid, and many more. Religious politics has taken root in Indian politics. The recent ban on eating beef and movements like ‘GharWapsi’, ‘Love Jihad’ etc. are against the core values of secularism.

Awareness should be spread not to blindly believe what is said in the name of religion, but to follow conscience. We are far from reaching this dream but we must not give up. Society should oppose the irrational deductions imposed by these religious institutions.

In this regard, we can see that democracy has taken root in Indian society. Active formation of unions increased participation in election processes, and peaceful resolution of contentious scenarios are actively observed even in remote parts of the country.

Democracy is a power that has come after a long historical struggle. We should not let the ignorance of society take away the best gift we have got in the form of freedom. As citizens of the Republic of India, we believe in the supremacy of our Constitution. Our Constitution faced a challenge during the Emergency of 1976. It has been extensively amended by the authority for the benefit of their future. But soon the government saw strong opposition from the citizens of the country and realized the power vested in the constitution.

After so many years, we have amended the constitution 105 times. Many of the powers vested in the authorities have been re-examined and many new provisions of governance have been added, for example, Panchayati Raj, etc. The balanced power vested in the judiciary, executive, legislature, and independent bodies have helped citizens to contribute effectively to governance. This spirit of justice given by the constitution should never be forgotten. One must have confidence in processing this machinery effectively.

We have seen our dream shattered on many occasions but still, we emerge strong and confident from every adversity. One should understand the importance of Swaraj and start aggressively to pursue these dreams so that we can provide a better future to our coming generations as well. I would like to end with one of the best quotes by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam who said that, “Dreams are not what you see in sleep, but those which do not let you sleep”.

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