As the nation cheers onto the sporting gala at Delhi, I am thrown back into my days as a sportsman who proudly wore the Tricolour on his chest & fought for its glory & rise to the champion’s stands in major championships on foreign soil. “Sanand-India” used to be on my back & I was known for being an Indian. I also remember myself thinking in Madrid, I wish this was in India & simultaneously the thought reiterated itself, I would do everything I can to make India comparable to these cities.
Today, as a corporate head, who is looking towards contributing to the nation’s growth, not just as a taxpayer, but also as a component in the sectors that he conducts business in, I am looking at a sprawling nation, with an enormous landmass, huge potential, but a lot of talkers & even fewer doers. I have toured the country, close to 3 times, yes, the length & breadth of it. In trains, buses, bullock carts & even on bicycle, to get to the India that I would be contributing to & the nation that lives in my heart. No doubt, India is a country of villages with a far less number of urban centres. Going by the figures, I should say, at present, only about 30 per cent of India’s 1.1bn citizens dwell in urban centres. The remaining 70 per cent reside in rural areas, making Asia’s third-largest economy the biggest nation of villages in the world, exactly as the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, envisioned it would be.
However, this is about to change, as India is on the cusp of an urban transformation, according to Shirish Sankhe and Richard Dobbs, authors of McKinsey Global Institute’s report “India’s Urban awakening”.
“It took nearly 40 years for [India’s] urban population to rise by 230m, but it will take only half this time to add the next 250m. Cities will be core to India’s economic growth,” they argue. “They will generate 70 per cent of net new jobs created by 2030, produce more than 70 per cent of GDP, and stimulate a near fourfold increase in per capita incomes across the nation.”
The rise of a new urban class, which experts believe will represent nearly half of India’s population by 2030, is seen as an opportunity to create and develop state-of-the art cities and drive the country’s growth to double-digit levels, according to city planners, environmentalists and social scientists.
However as a son of my country, knowing my country as much as I do, I have a number of concerns. Is India ready for such a transformation? Are the country’s leaders equipped to direct this phenomenal transition from rural to urban societies? The systems & policies that should have been in place ages ago, are yet nowhere to be seen! And is there a vision available to the citizens of the nation, as to what the country would be & where they should see themselves in the next 20 years, and what would be expected of them? Not just as residents of megapolises but also as hosts to global guests, welcoming them into our abodes & ensuring their comfort & stay. We need to dovetail Indian culture with modern outlook, infrastructure, systems with the rise of India as a global nation, in league with EU, UK, USA, etc.
This writeup of mine is inspired by an argument of mine, with a friend of mine this evening over the fact that the rowdy crowds at the CWG, should be briefed about the decorum of the sport & also on the fact that I apologized to a few friends of mine, who’ve come from other nations as participants, on the discomfort caused to them in the event. My status, “India needs ambassadors who would show the world what we are with our ability to be global citizens, a global nation, comparable to the rest of the world, not ballad singers who would even praise pothole laden streets with great fervor without considering them to be way below the global infrastructural standards.”, falls in the same line, that we need to ensure that we rise up to global standards as a nation, not just with our culture & our philosophy, but with our courtesies, humility, manners as well as our infrastructure & economy.
We need to accept the fact that yeah, our roads are filled with potholes, but so what, we would take steps to ensure that we convert them into smooth tar paths & instead of sitting & talking about everything being okay, to quote Mr. Mathrani over here, won’t be wrong; what he terms as the “Chalta Hai” attitude that has been with us. The country needs to be accountable for all our faults, & we are what forms the country. Starting with us, we need to see what efforts we are making towards the development of India, into the nation that we would want it to be & for all those who still feel that we’re the best at everything that we do, I don’t think I would address the “ Gandhiji ka modern Bandar, jisme pichle teeno Bandar mile hue hai”. Kam se kam aankh khol kar dekho aur shrm karo ki ye sab jab ho raha tha to tum kaha they?? Agar apni galti nahi manna hai to desh ki izzat rakho..mehmaano ko dhange se treat karo.. Country comes first, not what you think.
Help the country rise to glory & India wont need false praises, it never has. We need to build it in a way that the world praises us as a nation. And we’re a team, when you decide to join the cause, afterall, we’re children to the same mother India. As they say in the national team, It is the Tricolour that comes first, the name on the back is where it should be, behind you.
Once again dedicated to the spirit of India with its passionate saffron hues, pure whites & serene greens & to the children, youngsters & my students, for whom we’re all building this nation. I love my INDIA.