Saturday, 14 April 2012

India Calling!

“Ayam nijah paro veti gananaa laghu chetasaam
Udaarcharitanaam tu vasudhaiv kutumbakam”

The Indian Shastras do not lead us to a bucolic past. On the contrary, they enshrine dogmas and dictums which are not just relevant, but imperative to be remembered and internalized if we are to make sure that the grim future of the world looming ominously in front of our eyes today is not to become a reality.

The civilizations that have given birth to India we know today were truly universal in character. While our ancient predecessors did pride on their identity, they were also always accommodating to the influences from outside to enlighten and enrich a civilization which, if left to evolve under forced sequestration, might not have attained the glory which we associate with it today. Over centuries of visits, conquests, plunders, evangelical missions- India has bloomed into what we know it as today- a cradle of diversity unparalleled anywhere else on earth.

So, why the plunge into the history of the civilization that India is? To emphasize on the irony that a glorious diversity has metamorphosed into; India, the land which promised to uphold the interests of each, single diverse element of its own, under a liberal and secular umbrella, has failed miserably at doing just that. A land which at one time boasted of scholars and statesmen of the greatest acumen and repute has today fallen prey to regressive, identity based and dynastic politics. A country which has produced leaders as celebrated as Gandhi and Nehru, who held grand visions for not just their own communities but the whole of humanity itself, is now grappling with interest groups whose latent ‘interest’ is never social advocacy but plain economic pursuits. The current political air in India reeks of nothing but a trust deficit in the very political leadership which holds in its hands the reigns to governance, and consequent progress of our nation.

In the wake of the above stated scenario, I was more than overjoyed when I heard from the members of Tharoorians- a group of youngsters inspired to bring about a change through advocacy, creating awareness, sharing fresh opinions and offering constructive criticisms of current and proposed policies in the socio-economic domain of affairs. The eponymous group is being channelized in a direction that heralds change by none other than the very charismatic and progressive political leader, Dr. Shashi Tharoor himself. A mere student, who first started being aware of the abysmal political dynamics in our country at the time when scams and irregularities were the order and disenchantment with the tenets of democracy was peaking, the presence of an erudite Dr. Tharoor on the Indian political landscape had done its bit for me to turn my head and notice a difference in terms of the kind of politics that Dr. Tharoor represents. Brave and sensible, Dr. Tharoor’s voice, as much as it emanates from his own head and heart, it also endeavours to incorporate the opinion of those zealous thousands who try and connect with him and who also look up to him for being one of the pivotal players in rescuing the Indian democracy from indolence and stagnation.

My own first tryst with Dr. Shashi Tharoor was outside the realm of Indian politics. I had happened to pick up a copy of The Great Indian Novel, purely by chance, and I clearly remember being provoked into thinking beyond what my mind was capable of in high school merely through reading this ingenious and deft satirical treatise on India and its struggle for its modern day identity. The interweaving of the fabrics of two great stories that India has both, scripted and witnessed, under the expertise of Dr. Tharoor’s thought, had left me with a profound sense of respect for the author, his style and his very process of thinking. That day and this day- I have still not gotten over my awe and fascination for the marvel that Dr. Tharoor is.

It is a cliché, but a veracious one, that in its youth rests the power which can transform the future of not just India, but the increasingly integrated global ordering that we all are looking forward to. A glowing example of this very potential of youth we find in a remote village located somewhere in the heart of Maharashtra, which till about two decades back, was languishing because of severe penury, drought proneness, abysmally low agricultural productivity and a massive rate of out migration. In short, it looked like an establishment poised for collapse. This village, called Hivre Bazar, is today a home to over 50 millionaires. It is an internationally recognized success story, having won many a medals and awards. And what was it that changed the fortunes of this once devastated village? An independent, educated, motivated and determined young man, who made use of political provisions to transform the village into a prosperous and equitable unit. What the young Sarpanch of Hivre Bazar understood then is what each one of us youngsters should understand now. We all have the power, but power carries with it concomitant responsibilities. There is, above everything else, a responsibility for us to feel responsible towards the country that could be an economic superpower in very near future. There is also a responsibility to understand that our responsibilities do not end within the frontiers of our own nation. Under the gnawing and perceptible threats of modernity and materialism we, being citizens of tomorrow, have a responsibility to fulfill towards our planet as well.

Once again, thanks for inviting me to be a part of Tharoorians. Thanks to Dr. Tharoor for encouraging us to voice our opinions towards constructive and progressive politics and policies in India. Ridding ourselves of petty occupations, and learning to embrace the idea of larger welfare of a country and humanity itself is what I shall be looking forward to writing about in future on this portal. ‘All The Best’ to each Tharoorian on board for this journey.

Saumya Kulshreshta

@saumyakul on Twitter