The Baby Steps of New India
“Rome was not built in a day.”
Any great thing needs some time to be built, and especially certain things that need to have their visibility and value felt in human lives.
If the life of our planet Earth till date is considered on a scale of 24 hours, then we humans are here for only 1 second.
If we see the history of some of the most famous and well-known great civilizations and nations, we can find their reign on a time scale as below.
Clearly, civilization led to the modern day India is the oldest of all civilizations and modern nations. Hence, I would prefer to coin a new saying, “India is not built in a day.”
Of course, the modern-day nations’ cultures and religions have metamorphosed over centuries based on their history, but the continuity of the soul of the culture defines a nation and connects it with its past civilization. Over the centuries of invasions and rules by external forces, the Indian subcontinent has been shaped into modern-day political boundaries, but the modern-day political land still holds and connects with its original civilizations of Mehrgarh and the Indus Valley. Due to centuries of slavery and dominance by other cultures, most notably the last British rule, modern India is most likely on a path of misplaced identity. However, with all our own struggles post-independence, we as a nation have risen from the ashes and are on our way to shining on the global map. With so many divisions in language, regions, ethnicity, religion, sub-sections within religion, and tribalism, integrating the entire nation under one federal system and running it for 76 years was never easy. Complexity multiplied by the political divide, corruption, brain drain to the west, it was not easy for the leadership to manage the nation with everything becoming a priority after independence.
A quick comparison of India’s population when the British left India in August 1947 till date is given below.
The British looted around USD 45 trillion, as per some estimates, when they left India. The thumbs of Indian weavers were cut. They de-industrialized India, divided the country into parts, and left us with so many unsettled political narratives.
We began with great hope to stand on our own, despite the pain of partition, communal instability, poverty, low literacy, malnutrition, and other health issues, and the complexities of many princely states yet to be assimilated into independent India.
Post-independence, India fought five major wars: the 1947-48 first war with newly separated Pakistan; the 1962 war with China; the 1965 second war with Pakistan; the 1971 third war with Pakistan when Bangladesh was liberated; and the Kargil war in 1999. Furthermore, there are numerous proxy wars on some of the borders with Pakistan and China.
We had the Green Revolution (agriculture), the White Revolution, or Operation Flood (for milk production), and the Blue Revolution (fishery and aquaculture).
India’s healthcare has evolved from irradicating smallpox and polio to the recent massive vaccination success story for COVID-19 vaccination by indigenously developing its own vaccine in a short span while most of the major developed nations remained dependent on the world’s top pharmaceutical companies for vaccines.
India has become a medical tourism centre for many Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The world’s pharmacy center, well known for two decades for its IT expertise and independence in space research, has gone from a country hosting satellites of the most powerful nations like the USA on our indigenously made satellite launch pads.
From having the world’s largest railway network to having the fastest growing economy; from being the world’s largest democracy to having the world’s largest postal service; the world’s tallest statue; the world’s largest school; the world’s largest producer of spices; the world’s oldest continuously inhibited city, Varanasi, the birthplace of yoga and ayurveda, from which the entire world benefits;
We are not perfect. We have many areas to improve, but I am convinced and I can bet that no country in this world with all the complexities and differences as we have in India could have survived and progressed the way we have from the day we rose from the ashes after our independence, facing all these centuries of external attacks and foreign rulings.
I find myself arguing with some of my relatives and closest friends over India and its political journey. We are carried over by the optics of politics and the virtual social media, which we are mostly biassed to believe with our perceptions. I have lost some friendships in this argument but made many new ones. But that’s a small part of the price we pay for a better nation. At the end of the day, we all intend to see India as a better place to live and a better nation to take pride in.
These 76 years are nowhere on the scale of the history of a nation as mentioned in the beginning, but if we compare many other modern nations, we have started walking by taking baby steps and will soon start running on the right trajectory. We are a nation that has survived more than 10,000 years of history, and we will continue to be here and come back with our glory from the past.
जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी।।
My mother & motherland is greater than heaven!
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