What’s new about New India?

by | Oct 1, 2019

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On the surface, V.S. Naipaul’s book India: A Wounded Civilization, seems negative. But when I read it again, in the course of my writing India 3.0, I realized the depth of Naipaul’s writing. “Being an ancient civilization, India should have advanced quickly. But instead, it becomes more and more archaic. The reason lies in the subtle effects of constant invasions for the past thousand years.” Naipaul visited India during the Emergency and wrote, “… in its periods of apparent revival, India hadn’t only been making itself archaic again, intellectually smaller, always vulnerable.” 

It took several decades for Indians to come out of this stereotype of a nation of migrants as imagined by Raghupati Sahay ‘Firaq Gorakhpuri’ (1896–1982). The fantasy of the Aryan invasion created by the Germans to cover up their own barbarian nakedness against the Romans and endorsed by our own Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) in his book Discovery of India took the civilizational glory out of our schoolbooks. 

It is pathetic to see that the ideas Indians have of the achievements of their civilization are essentially the ideas given to them by European scholars in the nineteenth century. But not anymore! Three existentially important issues – cultural identity, national security and the economy – are now addressed without any -ism other than nationalism. 

The hoopla created around the National Population Register and the continuation of arrangements like Article 370 could not have been possible in any other country of the world. Even Unique Identity – Aadhaar to all the residents of India was fought tooth and nail at every possible forum. But by the 2019 elections, India shrugged off its self-doubts and through the election mandate, exorcized the ghosts that were haunting the Indian nation, paraphrasing Naipaul’s words, “the complex instinctive life of its people that muffles response and buries even the idea of inquiry.” The political parties who degraded themselves in family enterprises based on obsolete ideologies and bogus sociological identities were defeated in a resounding manner.   

The term New India gained traction. But what is new in this; ask naysayers? Let me articulate three features of new India, namely: (1) a billion-strong young, aspirational middle class, (2) a clear right-of-centre political position on the three core issues of national identity, national security and a liberal market economy, (3) a backlash against the forces that kept India enslaved for a thousand years not by valour but with cunning and deceit, not sparing those who still live captivated by the phantoms of the past. 

No one is now blind to the botched up independence of India and the horrendous human tragedy of the partition that came with it. Democracy is a system of the rule by the majority. You can’t lose an election and keep confronting the elected government at every step. Indians now seek historical dignity, economic security, and national pride. Give it or get lost. 

Our neighbouring country will reach its own fate. It still has a last-minute chance to liberate itself from the terrorists who have taken its people hostage. India, as a neighbour, will be affected whatever way things turn out there. New India’s tryst with destiny depends on how deftly it handles the warring United States, Iran and China and keeps Soviet Russia in the equation. 

New India, from the position of one amongst the three largest global economies must play its role in the reordering of the global order. A little mistake and history will not forgive people occupying its high offices. The Indian civilization has had enough of its wounds. We talk a lot and that is our problem. No one fears an argumentative nation. We don’t need more nobility; we need more reality.

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24 Comments

  1. Excellent Arun Tiwariji…Your last line has summed it up all – “We don’t need more nobility; we need more reality.” There definitely seems no better way than this for New India.

    Leveraging the strengths we have ingrained from the longest running & flourishing civilisation of ours, adopting modern technology, playing by the rules of modern diplomacy, ignoring the naysayers & irritants by default & at times not shying away from overpowering where no alternative while keeping the highest vision on the lines of sarve bhavantu sukhinaha, New India needs to keep marching forward.

    And with the margadarshan of visionaries like yours, I am sure it will!!

  2. India has always been up and about. We need to get out of the crutches of our invaders in terms of culture, habits and language. Be proud of our culture, way of living and spirituality. The so called “Developed countries” after several hundred years in a path of destruction are now following an Indian life style, family values and spirituality. In the name of New India we should not forget our heritage and try to rebuild the nation on values that we had for thousands of years with sustainability at the core. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have come after all the so called development. Indian way of living had SDGs inbuilt. Great that you have brought out this important issue at an opportune time.

  3. I think the idea of Dr. Kalam .. of dreaming an India which empowered and developed by a 2020 timeline … As imagined two decades ahead is what is needed. We need visionary leaders who can plan way ahead in time

  4. Indeed, the main ingredients are in place for India to emerge into a great economy – a brave visionary leader and a large educated and a motivated young population. Looking forward to better times ahead for India!

  5. Our present New India concept is really superb and amazing. What we have suffered till few years back by some so called leaders made us more weak and unstable in front of whole world. Now when we ate having to have a great thought like New India ,we are not properly understanding the thought behind. It is a real awesome thought and implementation by our present mentor and leaders. Nicely explained by you Sir!

  6. The term ‘New India’ should be about safeguarding the millennial heritage of ‘Unity in Diversity’. In new India, fundamentalist forces should be prevented from brain washing people into delivering hate speeches, tweaking history, attacking weaker sections and lynching.

    If there is so much to lament about, then it’s about how our country is governed even after independence. Statesmen will sure have different priorities as far as nation building is concerned but with a common itinerary.

    History of any country helps a person to take a lot of lessons. If at all we see unhealed wounds of hate in Indian civilisation that still hurts, shall we heal them with unity and forgiveness so that even scars disappear!

  7. Prime Minister Narendra Modi won because he rallied Hindu forces across the country and abroad. Frustrated and angry with inefficiency of politics based on minority vote banks, young voters — a key segment of ‘aspiring India’ — wants to see end of inept governance and some prosperity.

    The trend of strong leaders is back. See the enormous powers that have been cornered by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Hungary’s Victor Orban and the way President Trump talks about America First.

    The new thing about New India is that it is indeed New. All old three fundamental ideas practiced after independence: socialism (economic policy); non-alignment (foreign policy); and secularism (social policy) have been finally discarded.

  8. If one has to look objectively into the title of this blog, the first thing that comes to my mind is that people of this country have finally decided to come out of their hibernation of “accepting things the way they are” to questioning the need for things to be in a status quo manner. However the one difference that the general public are aware is not to exercise the choice of freedom to question as a mere rhetoric but with knowledge acquired with substantiated facts and with national interest in their mind.

    There is always an hype associated with media to sensationalise events but however this medium is now doing more research and facts oriented representations to make the general public aware of possibly the things that have been kept under the shelf for decades. The narrative of democracy and secularism have been long abused in my opinion for appeasement rather than for looking at growth or development of the country. New India is now ready to play an active role in global politics and look at positioning themselves appropriately.

  9. Root cause of any problem is physical fitness and career. All other problems are layers on top of that. Every one is aware of how to achieve physical fitness. But preserving career has taken a new dimension in new India, in recent times, at various levels with in organisation. World is moving in terms of technology from MS office to cloud computing. People who updates themselves being a continuous learner, move to places where opportunities are plenty then only they enjoys the career otherwise they needs to depend on luck every time. Most of the couple having only one child in new India, this is also not good for upcoming generation. Finally peace is there in the current India, when compared to previous decade.

  10. New India is a reality being created bit by bit by its people who believe in themselves now than ever before. A very relevant arricle Sir

  11. How the theoretically caste-free Hindutva doctrine fares when confronted with the reality of a caste-ridden Hinduism may well determine the shape of new India.

  12. I would like to add that new India should rise above religion, casteism and self to reach epitome of the league of developed nations. We should fight enemies inside and defeat them and stand as united India rather than divided India, which is the prime reason for being ruled by several invaders in past.

  13. We are proud of ancient India due to shower of divine knowledge and blessings, endless connectivity of living beings, purity and honesty of hearts etc. Are we following these values in making the ‘New India’?

  14. We are fortunate to belong a nation which possessed very rich and diverse culture. I am proud of it. But brainwashing the youth through negative portrayal of history is the thing of past. If we are teaching our youth as Invaders as Ideal, (whose intention was only to loot India economically, culture and socially) then it’s kind of making them mentally slave. We have very rich culture to teach them. India was always known as Viswaguru.

    The idea of New India came to take our people forward- economically, culturally and socially. Because after so many years of independence still there are people who are striving for a meal. We as a citizen should be ashamed of it. So it’s the responsibility of everyone to do their bit and help India to reach where it deserves. Because… “तिनके तिनके से घडा भरता है”

  15. We all are living with hope for a better future. I wish to point some facts about our India which confronts now. It is true and fact so we must acknowledge this. Worlds largest chunk of poor peoples lives in India. Our children are malnourished and our elders are destitute citizens. Our farmers are committing suicide day by day with out having any hope to live. These are the faces of our ordinary life of India. On the other side there is glittering citizens. They will discuss about the global position of India in varied sectors. They will reach their destination within hours. How does this contrary happenings take place? No one can answer this question because we are doubtful citizens. Governments are coming one after another and doing their job very best. After independence we moved a lot despite the above contradictions. We have national pride, social security and vibrant economy but lacks self trust. We are exceptionally well in customs and traditions. I mean the legacy of Gandhi. Despite all, we are struggling to unite as a single nation marching towards happy life. Who can make change to develop our nation by narrowing the gap. It is only possible by young Indians. We are young India so as the expectation of our future India.

  16. After long time we find present governance is working on majority of fronts …. a healthy sign for any nation. Sir, you rightly said security, economy and our cultural identity should be our top priorities.
    Nationality is not mere expressions … it is action oriented approach to strengthen the country. For this if we have to do historical corrections and take tough decisions, must be taken by government and supported by citizens with firm belief.

  17. The vision of a New India is an ideal and dream that should be widely shared and discussed. As a nation, how can we harness our strengths for common good of all Indians and for humanity as a whole? The global sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the UN provide a good framework for channeling our thoughts and energy in a constructive manner.

    As you have rightly mentioned, our nobility alone is not enough for safeguarding our present and future. India must be strong in terms of dealing with its internal as well as external security challenges.

    ‘India as a Jagat Guru’ is a great, uplifting vision for India. Let us popularize it among all Indians!

  18. वाह साहब आप कितने कम शब्दों में बातको मुकम्मल  करते हो. India is a very Complex Country and sometimes we wonder who runs it !! We had a very interesting “post independence development” and we have come a long way in spite of the bureaucracy and corruption etc. We are fortunate to find a leader who means well from his heart for India and whilst no one is perfect and any one will make mistakes, just the “will to do well” and with right kind of advise I am sure India will be a different Country in a few years from now. A big mindset change is also required by people too in changing norms of cleanliness, willingness to wait in the queue (not literally)  and resist the temptation of bribing people to just make ones life easy at the cost of others !! If this happens India will be a leading Great Country ( I don’t like the word Super Power) I am reminded of few lines of Poet Iqbal  कुछ बात  है की हस्ती  मिटती नहीं हमारी। …. सारे जहाँ से अच्छा हिन्दोस्ता हमारा ” No matter what we have the Protection of our Great Rishis who will protect Bharat and make it Jagat Guru again

  19. A very relevant article. The new India is like a giant awakening out of a drug induced prolonged slumber. And that is exactly summarized in the line “a backlash against the forces that kept India enslaved for a thousand years not by valour but with cunning and deceit, not sparing those who still live captivated by the phantoms of the past. “. It is this sentiment which led to 2014 and further strengthened in 2019.

    After the events of 1947, India was presented with a very cleverly devised script, which served the interests of people, who were in effect the new invaders and much more dangerous than the past invaders. For all their unforgivable misdeeds, at least the invaders of the past were honest with their identity and their agenda. The new invaders were so tactfully masked that people easily accepted them to be more venerable than even their own elders. A whole lot of strategic territory was lost or handed on a platter to countries hostile to India. The Brave soldiers of India were given an oh-so-holy mantra of “Hindi-Chini bhai bhai”, which translated into nothing but bullets in the heart for troops, who were supposed to fight a gunfight with not even a knife, but a white flag.

    Further, a sold media ensured the return of these forces, each time they were voted out of power. The advent of Internet changed the paradigm. No longer was popular opinion influenced by a chosen few. A rapidly growing social media gave rise to a system where people were connected by the second. It has provided a platform, where any individual with a key pad and a connection can voice his/her opinion to technically the entire world. Where people can look up facts from various points of view and not just rely on the newspaper coming at their door step each morning. The real alarm bells have started ringing. People have begun to read between the lines and are now getting a glimpse of the true face that was hiding behind a veil all this while.

    Finally, the last lines set the right trajectory for the next stage: “We talk a lot and that is our problem. No one fears an argumentative nation. We don’t need more nobility; we need more reality.”. Its time to get real. Its time to act. Its time to write a glorious History for the Future India.

  20. Sir, I personally feel that now we are grooming with the idea of India what exactly it is. World has started recognising the people of India and its power of affecting any decision worldwide. Now, the Indians ate in a position to change the president election of USA and that is why we have seen Trump holding hand with our PM Modi!

    Still the deep rooted nepotism and political families are there to be uprooted from the deep down.
    It will take some time but will happen for sure as we are now running on the right path under honest leadership of some good politicians at top in government. Let’s hope for the best, like the removal of Article 370. We have bright future.

  21. Sir, I can see that slavery of 1000 years have really killed our national spirit. The independence came in a very bad manner, so many lives our lost, people got displaced, dishonored, but it was all put under the carpet and people made to believe that it was through non-violence and love for our ‘leaders’ that we got our independence.

    Now China in the immediate neighborhood and Japan, Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Hungry and others elsewhere are showing what it means to be an independent country and raising the standards of lives of their people even better than people in the Western countries, who were ruling over them. In two elections, 2014 and 2019, India has declared that old game is over. A billion people have woken up and will get what they want. I like the picture. It says all!

  22. We recently received eminent international trade attorney Dr Bart Fisher from USA at NRDC and he was saying the same thing. Indian talk a lot. Few would like to do business with an argumentative nation. We created a lot of noise about our Intellectual property, what we have done with that. Your call for living in reality and not in some imagined nobility can be ignored only to hand over country’s future to the global market forces. China is everywhere in Indian market because great Indian companies opted for their profits over investing in innovation.The old India-US relationship in science and technology must have maintained. Our loud noise about intellectual property put West away from doing R&D in India. I sometime wonder, what would have happened to Satya Nadella and Sunder Pichai, had they not gone to the USA?

  23. A New India sounds interesting. New India should start believing our strengths, abilities, competitiveness, family system, culture, heritage, human values and so many. We always see towards west to certify every thing that is good or bad. We don’t believe what ever is said by our own researchers or scientists. We started believing sustainable practices, that were there as part of our life styles and practiced by our forefathers, only after West started supporting them.

    The New India should support its Army when they are sacrificing their lives for the sake of protecting us, fighting against terrorists. After all they were given task of maintaining the law and order and can’t be silent spectators when stones were thrown on them and terrorists attacking them openly.

    The whole nation, government and media paid attention to the slow down in automobile sector. With the increase in vehicles roads are becoming congested, pollution reaches unmanageable limits and a huge burden on our foreign currency. Instead we should support the rural economy and support for its survival. The New India should think about its major population and not minor segment of rich class.

    If we have to emerge as A New India the rulers should set benchmarks and support for achieving these bench marks so that we should become self sufficient. Do we need to import stapler pins, pens, etc. Can’t we supply quality drinking water to all the villages so that they will stop relying on bottled water spending their scare resources. With a clear direction and vision, we should achieve these basic necessities.

  24. Many generations of Indians have been brainwashed that India got its freedom because of certain leaders and party. Britishers were going away any way, as USA is going away from Afghanistan, and India would be free in a matter of time. People of India never wanted partition of the country as liberation of Bangladesh has later proved. The fear of majority rule created Pakistan and then the politics was evolved around how to keep the majority divided. That game was over in 2014. Still people lived with their illusions, which was broken in 2019. Now people of India, the majority people, will live like a free people. Of course, there be changes, some good, some bad. But whatever will be come out, will be better than what it has been.

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