Why am I optimistic about India ?

India rocks ! The cynicism and criticism of our system in recent times adds to my belief that we are here to stay (sounds ironical but I shall explain below why do I say so). Systems which don’t bend, break (Egypt, Iraq, and I think eventually, China). And ours is such a wonderful shock-absorbing system.

There are multiple reasons for my optimism. The first one is the strong 4-pillar democratic system that we have built for ourselves, to safe-guard our Fundamental Rights. The Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Media. The latter two are acting as checks and balances in the recent past. Wherever required, people themselves are stepping up and taking the attention of the Media and the Judiciary to issues which people care about intensely, and which have not been taken up by the other two arms effectively. Majority of Indians being semi-literate, mobocracy and anarchy need to be avoided at any cost. Which mob should take justice in their hands and which should not cannot be decided once the moment moves outside of India Gate or Ramlila Maidan. The 4-pillar self-correcting mechanism is a must to put our weights behind. Role of Media as a care-taker of public interest (yes, media is not only a facilitator of true information) has enhanced. We need to ensure that better and higher-quality people enter media, and that they are conscientious as well.

The second reason for my optimism is that you cannot take people for granted in our country. And this has been in place before Twitter was created. Like Vishnu’s Dashavataar, whenever the powerful have let power go to their heads, the people of India have responded well. Be it the Emergency or the Bofors scandal (whatever the final truth might be in that scandal, the leadership had got tainted) – the people have shown that they mean business. And I am not talking about people in Delhi…all over the country. Jay Prakash Narayan, VP Singh and now, possibly Kejriwal/Anna Hazare/Ramdev have proven to be unlikely leaders taking on the system. Even now, as the murky deals in rent-thick sectors like Oil, Power, Real Estate, Telecoms, Mining have started flying, people have stepped in and have opposed it tooth and nail. You cannot take us for granted.

The third reason is the rise of regional parties and coalition politics. While this may have impacted rollout of reformist economic policies to some extent, this has again strengthened the checks and balances in the system. No one region / caste can be partially benefited because of this and through the gives and takes with the Central Govt, there is a mix of National and Regional interests that are getting taken care of. We might grow the economy by 6% instead of 8-9% because of that, but believe me, the quality of such growth will be very high.

All we need now is a bit of a shock to the Govt and Executive once in a while for them not to stray away from the roles they have been chosen for. Once on track (a phase, which I feel they are currently going through), the Govt  has ministers who are of highest quality (am not talking about current UPA Govt but all Govts) and they can take India up on the high-growth path, while building a safety net around the poor and under-privileged.

Currently, it’s a bit unfortunate that we, the people have had to put pressure on the Govt for a Fundamental Right such as Security of us People. This should have been taken care of on its own. Doubling the number of judges, tripling the number of cops, possibly funded from reduction of Executive is the way to go. Better patrolling will nip many problems in the bud and faster justice will ensure deterrence and swift retribution. Am sure, we will reach there…a bit slowly possibly, but surely…

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