To win elections the political parties find it easier to raise emotions and promise sops rather than put forth concrete program of development and outline the formidable efforts required. The businessmen want tax relief instead of striving for more efficient turnover. The administrators take the easy way of pleasing everyone instead of taking unpopular, but, right decisions, writes Prof HC Pande
Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. It owes you nothing. It was here first.
The Nobel laureate, economist and sociologist, Gunnar Myrdal, the author of Asian Drama, the scholarly study of the poverty of nations and the inequalities of development, was impressed with the possibilities of development of India after independence, and was of the firm view that India could be a model for the rest of the world if it does not choose the soft options. Myrdal came up with the idea of ‘soft state’,meaning thereby, a government, which has the power, but, not the will to govern. In the context of India the term can be enlarged to mean the government and the society. Beyond a limit, the soft state, that is, a government that overlooks inaction, or ,the society that tolerates injustice, is bound to go down the skid row and eventually end up as a footnote in history.
The advantage of a jump start in 1950, just three years from a dominion to a democratic republic, of the Indian nation, is continuously being lost by the thoughtless actions of the political parties across the country. To rebuild a nation emerging from centuries of neglect and bondage, in a democratic framework, is a daunting task but one has to bite the bullet. The feudalistic mind- set at one end, and, the fatalistic acceptance of the state of affairs as is, at the other end, has to be transformed in totality. And, most of all, catch on to the truth, that, a nation can lift itself only by the efforts of its own nationals. Hard work at every level, across the board, by the leaders, and, the lead, is the inescapable requirement, knowing full well that their compensation may not be commensurate with the job done but would be only what the nation can afford.
This is where the political parties, businessmen, administrators, labour unionists, professionals, educators et al, have let the nation down. Each one wants a bigger piece of the cake without going through the hard grind of baking a bigger one.
To win elections the political parties find it easier to raise emotions and promise sops rather than put forth concrete program of development and outline the formidable efforts required. The businessmen want tax relief instead of striving for more efficient turnover. The administrators take the easy way of pleasing everyone instead of taking unpopular, but, right decisions.
Labor leaders want a hike in wages without increasing the factory output. The professionals look for additional facilities without improvement in the services rendered. The Teachers’Associations demand fewer teaching load, and, additional equipment for research, without putting in the necessary effort to improve either.
Even if one adds the fact, that, the society, as a whole, continues to be soft towards and tolerates long existing social evils,and,illogical practices,with the excuse of tradition or religion, the list is still incomplete.However,this is the current situation in the country;India is a soft state.
To be honest,for a developing nation,all anyone can promise,to the people,is formidable challenges,paucity of resources and hard work.But,all along,the political parties have been hungry for power,and,their oration at the election rallies is not about meeting the challenges,and,hard work required of everyone for national reconstruction,or,their strategies for national development,but,rather about the placebos they are going to hand out once they are elected.To win elections,they keep on beating the ‘dole’ drums promising free water,free electricity,free bus rides,unemployment allowance,and,doles,doles…..ad infinitum.Such political allurements badly sidetrack the youth and dampen the young passion for facing challenges and reaching for the stars.The mind-set generated in this situation is damaging the young generation to the extent that it,now,feels that,the nation owes them all that they need.Young muscular arms ,which can shift mountains,coming in the way of national reconstruction, have to be handed over picks and shovels for the hard task ahead,and,not crutches to lean on.
The political chicanery must stop.Sops should be forsworn,as also,the doles of doom.
(Prof. H C Pande is Vice Chancellor Emeritus , BITS, Mesra)