Toys and Kits
We are a country of contradictions, dilemmas and enormous diversity. We have talent of every kind and description in abundance; people with above-average intelligence capable of working very hard, skills and expertise of wide variety; are inheritors of a proud ancient culture and traditions in just above every area; and possess plentiful natural resources of all kinds. Why then are we where and what we are-a poor, developing' country- instead of being on top of the world, as we used to be prior to our subjugation by the British and the industrial revolution which passed us by?
Obviously, there would be many reasons and causes for our present state of affairs-some very complicated and difficult to fathom or pin down. Everyone may not even agree with all the reasons/causes that may be included in any list. But there are certain obvious reasons and causes which would be difficult for anyone to quarrel with or dispute; they are so very fundamental and basic in nature, let us look at some of them;
As a nation, and as individuals, we lack confidence in ourselves, particularly when we are dealing with white skinned Europeans, Americans, or westerners.
With honourable exceptions, we have become a nation of 'followers' always looking for easy options and easiest ways out to avoid sustained hard work.
The widely prevalent and ever so present "chalta hai" (there is no English equivalent to describe this trait) attitude and approach, to anything and everything and everything most of us Indians do, is at the heart of many ills pervading every area of our lives. We see the evidence in every product we buy, every service we avial of and wherever workmanship of any kind is encountered- in construction, repairs, furniture, any thing- via poor finish, half-done/partly-done jobs, loose, ill-fitting fixtures, leaking taps/joint/pipelines...you name it.
With a number of satellite TV channels beaming into India from all over the world, and coming of Globalisation and liberalisation, our youth, our film folks and a thin creamy layer of our population have been quick to adapt to and identify themselves with the prevalent American/western cultural trends in terms of food, dance, music, and dress fashions-all outward appearances.
In anything and everything instead of putting "country above all else", too many of us Indians have been putting self, family, community/faith/ideology and/or state-in that order-above`country'! Because of this, among others listed above, goods and services from India or the `made in India' label do not presently inspire or command the kind of respect and confidence that would befit a great country and a world power!
As intelligent people, we should have borrowed, absorbed and adapted good ideas, good practices and good habits from anywhere and everywhere, including the west. But what is really sad and disheartening is that instead of self-discipline, work-culture, meticulous hard work, professionalism and pride in whatever one does, we appear to have picked up some of their worst habits and what is worse added them on to our own bad ones!
In less than a year from now we would be entering a new century and a new millennium! A lot of people abroad are predicting that the 21st century would belong to resurgent Asia and to a resurgent India in particular! Our progress in information technology, especially the software part, has already been making waves in India as well as outside, Indians or persons of recent Indian origin are in top-notch positions in many technology sector companies worldwide. The long-sleeping giant has just started to stir, as it were!
Though we have the people, the resources and all the ingredients that are necessary to make it happen, will it happen? When? Area we going to sit around and wait for it to happen? Or are we going ourselves a tight deadline and make it happen before that ?Only we can decide!
Right now, we don't even have some of the very basic and fundamental things in place-all the roads, railway lines and the electric power we need now and will need in future; we have tens of lakhs of tonnes of food in buffer stocks-a good bit of it being eaten away by rates and ants-but many stomachs remaining empty every day; more than a third of our population is still illiterate alongside our strides in agriculture, space atomic and information technology. We have still not been able to master technologies to build and maintain good and clean toilets and bathrooms, our powers in high-tech areas notwithstanding! Out medical colleges do not train doctors who can serve in our primary health clinics in rural areas. Our IITs train graduates who are most suited to jobs and tasks in USA and Europe. Many more such dichotomies can be added to this list.
All the foregoing, while appearing very disturbing and unsetting, also points to one thing; we do have most of the pieces of the puzzle; only we do not know or are not sure as to what final picture only we do not know or are not sure as to what the final picture should look like when all the pieces fall in place. We need to look for, identify or develop individuals who can help us visualize the correct final picture and create conditions for all the pieces to begin falling in the right places. Sooner or later this is bound to happen. Let's work on it and make this happen as soon as possible.
Readers' views/suggestions are welcome.