My fellow Indians I understand that the past two years have been horrible in terms of scams, scandals and inflation. But it has given us something that we have fought for a long time - 'dignity'. Two years ago, no one could have imagined that cabinet ministers, powerful politicians, bureaucrats and CEOs would be under such public scrutiny. Many of them are awaiting trials in courts. Corruption is no longer the news about India, nor is the world cup victory, open economic policies or terrorism for that matter. It is our overwhelming response against corruption that is making world news.
We attained political liberty in 1947 and economic liberty in 1991. It is now that we have attained dignity. Dignity is a state of mind. Liberty without dignity is humiliating. Dignity without liberty is hopeless. But liberty with dignity is hugely empowering. This is what explains our unstoppable fight against corruption and bribery in India. It is the increasingly self-assured and impatient new middle class, which has finally attained self respect and dignity and is finally being taken seriously by the media. Our politics are compelled to change. From here, our nation can either reach a state of utter chaos or lead to something exceptionally good. The ball, this time, is really in our court!
I agree that economic development requires a million mutinies in every household. And I must admit that economic development is yet to reach a major chunk of our population. It is unfortunate in that there are still vast areas of horrible poverty and deprivation in our motherland. But there is also a critical mass of people who can see that their life is better than their parents. Their future is not pre-determined, and can be changed by their own decisions. Ordinary conversations over tea and pakode are about markets, engineering, politics and innovation. Children are dreaming of doing MBAs and becoming CEOs. And middle class parents are supporting them.
Under these circumstances, it is high time that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) gets implemented. We urgently need agricultural reforms, administrative reforms and real estate sector reforms. If governments fail to meet these needs and expectations of the masses, they are bound to crumble under their own inabilities. What politicians of all parties need to understand is that we, the people of India have attained our hard fought dignity. And that we will no longer allow ourselves to be humiliated by public officials or politicians. License Raj has indeed perished. With a rising private sector, accountability and performance are the in-thing. Since our voices are not heard in Parliament, and most television media is biased, we express ourselves in the ways we can, through rage on blogs, public gatherings and social networking sites. Many of us have started participating in the nation building process through different NGOs. The wheel are turning. The bandwagon is moving.
On this note, I would urge for mass public support to Anna Hazare's fast on 16th August. I don't know that it is for good or bad. I don't know how useful the Lokpal bill will be. I find the endless debate is utterly confusing and misleading. To be very frank, I am not interested in the Lokpal bill anymore. But trust me. I am looking at a much bigger and brighter picture. Let's paint it this one time. Let's celebrate this independence day with a newly attained dignity. Let the rising sun of 16th August witness a new and empowered India!
Photo credit: csmonitor.com