The Inheritance of Independence

by | Aug 15, 2019

I have fond memories of celebrating Independence Day in school. We would apply white polish on our canvas shoes in preparation and rehearse with gusto, the chorus of patriotic songs. I have heard in rapt attention, many Prime Ministers’ addresses to the nation – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966), Smt. Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) on radio and watched them every year after TV arrived in the late 1960s. Without any ideological prism, I enjoyed every Independence Day and heard the Prime Minister of the day speaking from the rampart of the iconic Red Fort, including the solo ones of Prime Minister Charan Singh (1902-1987), Vishwanath Pratap Singh (1931 -2008), H. D. Deve Gowda (b. 1933) and Inder Kumar Gujral (1919-2012).

The Nation is above political parties and leaders, whom I understand as products of their times and not as producers of their times. I saw Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri when he came to Meerut to unveil the statue of Gandhiji at Town Hall in 1964, from a distance. Through my association with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (1931-2015), I could see from close quarters, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (1944-1991), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (b. 1932) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (b. 1950). I was awed every time in the presence of the respective Prime Ministers of India. 

The nation-building of India is still a work in progress even 72 years after its independence. We are still talking about homes with toilets, electricity, cooking gas and safe drinking water supply for every family. Of course, growth has taken place – the economy has grown, development indices like infant mortality, maternal mortality, and longevity are better than ever, but there is also decay – crimes and corruption are unabated, socio-economic inequality is dividing people, farmers are distressed and big businesses are eating away small enterprises like pythons in full collusion with the state. Our state-owned banks, postal services, government-run schools and hospitals are in their last existential phase.

What kind of a nation is India going to become? I wrote a book, India 3.0: The Rise of a Billion People, which was published earlier this year. Although it did not become a bestseller like any other good book, it was read by thoughtful people and was well appreciated. The job of a writer is to read the signs of time and share them with others through his work. The five books that I co-authored with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam spanning 1999 to 2015 did precisely that. We took the pulse of the people and recorded it for posterity. I wrote a 600-page tome on Dr Kalam to preserve his work after he departed and dared to write India 3.0 solo, just to preserve his dream of India for the future generations. 

Today, I want to transcend what Dr Kalam saw India become as a nation and try to see what it is actually becoming right in front of my eyes, to share the signs of my times with younger people. India is coming out of its self-imposed isolation and joining the global political order aligning with regional forces, namely China, Russia, Iran and Turkey. Whatever this development results into will be important for India. India is accepting the globalized economic order; our economy will work in the ecosystem created by Microsoft, Google, Facebook and their like. Our leaders will take their notes and brief from the Artificial Intelligence (AI) deduced trade strategies and war games articulated by global corporations. 

People who are educated, healthy and open-minded will flourish, whereas people who are blindfolded to whichever ideology they chose to be blinded with, will perish. India’s destiny is to be a market of more than a billion people and a provider of intelligent, skilled and hardworking people to the global economy. Globalization of the Indian economy took place in the last twenty years, is happening now, and will only happen in the next twenty years with greater speed, depth and breath. Steve Jobs (1955-2011) famously said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Each one of us has to lead our lives, our families and our communities by making our best efforts, and India will become a better country, let there be no doubt about it.

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9 Comments

  1. Very crisp and thought provoking blog.
    We – our elected governments- for the last 10-15 years are paying attention to every thing else other than the economy. Where will the jobs come for the multitude of the youth.
    Keep it up Prof. Tiwari

  2. Your thoughts on the past, present and future India reveals how passionate you are about an ideal nation. In you, I see the strength of writing taking many forms gifting the readers with all that they need to level up to live up to the inherited independence. Your awe in the presence of Prime Ministers is understandable as is your faith in your personal vision of India even as you sail against the bad currents of our times. Though nation building doesn’t rest solely on the hands of a few leaders, we must know that a rich political environment that evolves is very much essential to influence people to walk the path of morality, justice and faith, the touchstones of any developed nation. This article reminds me of two great leaders, Thiru K. Kamaraj fondly remembered as The Father of Education and Mr. Nelson Mandela, The Father of Hope. With education and hope, WE DARE TO DREAM. Dr. Kalam’s indispensable contribution in terms of a vision and solutions to the existing problems that plague our society is further reinstated in all of your works, which is very commendable. “Once we choose hope, anything is possible”. So could be our India of dreams.

  3. I read your book India 3.0: The Rise of a Billion People. It beautifully explained the journey ahead for our country.
    Sir I believe that if each one of us contribute towards making this world a beautiful place to live , we will progress spiritually and economically .We need to solve the problems with resolve and not to create them.
    Your article is very insightful and thought provoking. I wish for Vasudheva Kutumbakam in real sense.

  4. Very insightful. It is so uncertain where we (India) will be placed in world order. We have all the capacity to become great economy and great power but for that we (people) will have to pay price. Would we?

    Uniform distribution is not sign of capitalism and it is important to create equality in modern India. Riches of most of the countries were build on extortion of other countries, slavery etc.

    I wish that we will be more uniform and will only few will not control India’s future.

    I not understand why it is said that youth makes future and yet I want to believe that today’s youth is smart enough to try to evenly distribute wealth which is in making…

  5. You build a great nation only when you produce great people. But what we invest in our education, health and nourishment is so minimal that we are producing underdeveloped human beings. Every thing good is private today. Where are good government run schools, hospitals, food-security? Comparison with rise of China and its people is inevitable. We really can’t afford one more generation go by living in a rudimentary way.

  6. What if Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Home Minister Sardar Patel and Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee and Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani worked together as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah today? There would be no 370 and 35A, Agra Summit would have settled Indo-Pak disputes, and there would be no accidental prime minister.

  7. So true… each word.
    Independence is not what you get. It’s what you make of it. Let’s keep working for a brighter future.

  8. Very apt time to understand this phenomenon… beautifully explained Sir.
    Let everybody understand that this is an irresistible process …. belief in our potential and pace of our working is key to the bright future.

  9. Great Sir

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