Twin Curses that are Killing India’s Resurgence
There are two ‘C’s that are killing India’s emergence as a major nation, a nation that can even be a torch bearer for generations to come for the entire world. They are Corruption and Caste-ism. These two are actually the manifestation of the same devious thinking as I hope to explain eventually in this essay. India has the treasure of thousands of years of heritage and wisdom which humanity can indulge in and enjoy in advancing it’s progress but it is not being shown as an effective nation that could have bestowed on the rest of the humanity. In this article I will first discuss a bit about the corruption and how it is like a every day reality that most of the Indian nationals take for granted as a way of life.
Let’s look a bit into the geography and history of India. Firstly it is a vast peninsula, full of all natural resources and best climate that can rarely be found in one place! It is the place where life can thrive, with minimal effort to survive as it is, replenish with food, water and habitable climate. It has three oceans surrounded, it has vast fertile plains, beautiful hills like mighty Himalayas and seasons which can be truly cyclic to sustain crops and provide the periodic climate needed for the fauna and foliage to flourish and blossom! It is a wonderful land where humans from all over earth tried to migrate eons of time. It was ‘the’ destination of many a race over the period of human history and until recent times when science made it possible for humans to thrive in other places too in a reasonable way. I am not saying there aren’t any habitable places other than India, but India has that richness that is more readily available for humans that can be harnessed before science made it possible to harvest food and make place livable in other areas. India’s lands are so fertile, until recent times in history it was ‘the’ source of grains, spices and exotic fruits. It was the garden of Eden what was referred in many a story of western cultures. There may be patches of this type of fertility in other places of earth but not as vast as in India, in once place. I may sound jingoistic but you will see I am not, once you read more of the rest of my rant below. Because I am very critical of certain thinking of way of life in India and it’s ‘philosophy’.
So how and why the country ended up mostly impoverished and less powerful nation compared to other nations? Why on earth do we see people devoid of food, clothes and/or a place to live in large swaths in this country and yet seen by many others in a nonchalant way ?! Here comes the first curse to India. Corruption. For all the blessings India had, most of the Indians are corrupt, in their doings, thinkings and getting things done. Their thinking is acutely myopic and look for short-term gains. Thousands of years of ‘culture’ has nurtured a certain corrupt mind. It is not just the problem since it’s recent independence from British rule or before that from Mughal rule. The British rule is blamed by current politicians to reap the political mileage of that, even now! But even before India had many a prosperous kingdoms all eventually decimated by the corrupt nature of general populace in one way or the other. I say the general populace is corrupt and not certain individuals because most of the people look for short term gains, even when that was not ‘necessary’. From history we know many a story of backstabbing and pettiness which led to the demise of mighty kings and there was a sense of condoning and even encouragement of devious means by large swaths of population keeping mum only to their demise, which they would realize eventually, but it was too late. Take the case of the advancement of religion in India. Firstly we had the enunciation of Vedas extolling the virtues of seasons and the praise of the unknown power which sustains life. To start with, this might have been nothing but an artistic rendition of how the seasons are helping in humans to survive and enjoy their being. Then the select people who renditioned them sensed a power that can be exploited without much of the daily toil to survive and use that to come up with the rituals which can make large swaths of population slaves to their doctrine of life. The author agrees that there should be order of life, and someone needs to oversee that order and stipulate the rules but here what happens is that the guys on who has such power bestowed upon, tend to make the rules to perpetuate their own benefits and that of their kith and kin. The problem was not in them doing that, because most humans inherently look for immediate gains, but it was the rest of the population putting up with it. Not just putting up with that but rather praising the uncanny ‘ability’ or ‘smartness’ that the people who are exploiting are actually the model of their lives!Hence the priests who extolled the ‘unknown’ power, enjoyed the privilege of being ‘upper caste’. So here comes the acceptance of corrupt way of thinking as ‘smart’ way of leading a life. We need not think too far to understand this thinking has done untold harm to generations of Indians. People who understood this fallacious way of life and tried to live virtuous life are a minority and they are seen as ‘unsmart’ or naïve. So they are not much of an example for any of the generations that follow to emulate their lives on. That is how starts this vicious cycle of unredeemable behavior which gets multiplied within the groups of people and it grows like fungus. It is true that some of the real heroes who advanced the noble cause of being uncorrupt and setting an example are extolled but only in letter and as something that all can emulate. But in practice, ‘nah, are you fool to be like a that person who never took bribes?’ would be the expression of majority of people. It is seen as impractical to follow such examples, by and large.
The second major curse to India is it’s Caste system. Why this system has been invented, there are many a thesis on this. I don’t want to go into that now. Someone decided that the traits of a trade or occupation or excellence is basically inherited by birth and that has become the law (rather the unwritten law now) of the land! Even after the secular declaration of the country after independence, this caste system is so deep in every nook and corner of the country. The caste system is so nefarious in that, not only it is among Hindus but it even percolated into other religions like Islam and Christianity in this country, the religions which did not define any such caste system (they have their own idiosyncrasies)! It may be true that there may be some thing common in the culture of a caste which the members think not common with other castes! But it is not true. One can find greedy and altruist persons from the same caste. One can find impatient and really cool persons in the same caste. Opinions differ among members of a caste, just the same way opinions differ among any set of people. But this is something of an addiction among many people who think ‘fondly’ of their caste. This is even there in people who are ‘educated’ or shall we say people who went to schools for formal education. There are various means to justify this thinking in saying ‘oh the culture should match’ or that the ‘blood lines’ of the clan should stay pure! Can anyone of these ancestors say the blood lines stayed pure over the centuries of human migration from various nooks and corners of earth? Modern study of DNA shows the genographic flow of humans and it clearly shows, all humans originated from Africa (This is the famous Genographic Project undertaken by Dr Spencer Wells in co-ordination with National Geographic). The study is very scientific. The author actually got his DNA tested, while residing in USA, it showed how a thousand generations before his ancestors migrated from Africa, via Arabian peninsula, through the Hindukush region (present day Afghanistan), western India and eventually to southern part of India. I sent the sample while I was in California, but it showed the trace of my ancestors from Africa to India! The study shows all the humans did originate from Africa. They did not originate from different places on earth, at once! The study actually obliterates the distinction of even the races like Black, Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian, Eskimo, Native American or Aborigines! So what is the justification of feeling ‘caste’ by many people? It is utter non-sense and a figment of imagination in which even many educated people internally obsess over. Until this changes, it is very difficult for the country to prosper in any rational way. Once we have people with this caste-feeling in all wrungs of the society, it actually leads to the kind of nepotism which makes the selection of true leaders who can take care of people. It leads to the segregation of people and democracy is ineffectual when these segments of caste are molded into vote banks. It is all evident and much is said about this in news papers and during political discourse, but the very people who denounce this system goes and votes to same person as his/her clan/caste. What a shame? Until this crucible of caste system is dispersed, India will not have true progress, period.
It may be that, this is part of the evolution of human nature to learn from past mistakes. But are the Indians really learning from past history? There is a collective amnesia about the fallacies of the past. There is always a way of condoning the bad things done by past generations and there is no critical examination of what went wrong. There is a hypocrisy in many things that Indians do and this is churning out people who are not worth the dirt as leaders and as people wielding the ‘power’. And it is not good. The country is simmering with discontent and progress is sloppy and sporadic, despite it having a very bright and capable youth, which is the only hope of India. It doesn’t have to be this difficult and doesn’t need to have this much struggle with all the resources, both natural and human, available for the country. Present generation is fast evolving to erase these two maladies but being dissuaded and deluded with many a rogue politicians by casting the population into regions, religions, castes and creed. The more the present generation realize this and disband these evils, the faster the country called India will prosper!