If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.
– Max Mueller
India that is Bharat, is an ancient country, our motherland and a sacred land. It is the country where people made Enquiry of truth the foremost goal of their life. Not only culturally, Bharat was rich ín architecture, science and also economically prosperous. According to the Balance of Economic Power, India had the largest and most advanced economy for most of the interval between the 1st century and 18th century, the most of any region for a large part of the last two millennia. Britishers called it as Jewel of their crown and it was also called as “Golden sparrow” by others. In the realm of education, Bharat attracted students from nearby countries in world renowned Universities like Nalanda, Takshshila, Vikramshila and Valabhi.
However time took a turn and the country which was at pinnacle of civilization, was reduced to the role of a bound nation. The country which taught others how to free their mind, its own land was bound in shackles of foreign rule. Its ancient universities, architecture and economy were grazed to dust by foreign invaders. It was expected that once India removes shackles of foreign rule, it would recover as Germany could do, after being reduced to stone age in 2nd World War.
India’s progress and recovery since Independence in 1947, has been good but below expectations. We towed for long with the idea of socialism but ultimately discarded it in 1990s and opened our markets and economy to the world. Our polity too had been confused and no party was given absolute mandate to rule the country since the gates of economy were first opened for the world. However since past few years things are appearing to change and India for the first time, gave an absolute majority to any government for agenda of development. Swami Vivekananda had prophesized that India shall take its place in the world and will be vishwaguru again. Has the time for India’s steep ascent arrived ? Surely signs are positive and point in this direction.
As far as economy is concerned, India has recently replaced France as sixth largest economy and is predicted to replace Britain to become fifth largest economy by next year. It is simplifying tax structure by implementing GST and removing red tapism which had become synonymous with India since long. These and many such reforms have caught the attention of the world and India’s ranking in the World Bank’s – Ease of Doing Business Index 2018, has made a giant leap of 30 positions – from 130th in 2016 to the 100th spot in 2017.
India’s resolve to reduce fiscal deficit of its economy also points in the direction of long term stability of its economy. All this has not remained unnoticed from the sights of International investors and make in India initiative to boost manufacturing in India has become a great hit. And very recently Samsung opened the World’s largest mobile manufacturing factory in India. Indian economy had become service sector based industry and renewed focus on manufacturing sector is indeed very refreshing and is a strong positive sign towards improving health of its economy.
Coronavirus and India’s response
Coronavirus has come up as a challenge to the entire world, India being the second most populous country with a high population density is at a high risk from this global pandemic. India imposed lockdown while the spread of disease was still in incipient stage and managed to slow down the spread of the virus. While experts were predicting infections in hundred millions by mid august, India currently(16. August 2020 ) is at 2.6 million cases of which almost 2 millions have recovered.
Slow down of the rate of infection has also given time to ramping up medical infrastructure and also larger window for vaccine production. While the world awaits a vaccine with bated breath, two of Indian companies (Bharat Biotech with ICMR and Zydas Cadilla healthcare) have developed vaccines which are in final stages of human clinical trial. It seems the worse is over!
Also digital India mission has turned out to be a lifesaver and is helping the nation move even in these difficult times. Education whether its primary or university, justice delivery system, Work have become online to a great extent.
India’s rising Soft power
Along with its economy, India’s soft power is also on the rise. Few years ago at the request of India and supported by 177 member nations, United Nations declared Jun 21st as the “International Day of Yoga”. Today Yoga and meditation, India’s gifts to the world are respected world over as tools not only to stay fit and happy but as tools to seek deeper meaning of life. Government push and celebration of International Yoga days through consulates around the world is also working wonders. It is very difficult for any philosophy, religion or culture to survive without state patronage. Yoga has existed so far almost like an orphan. Now, official recognition by the UN would further spread the benefit of yoga to the entire world – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Indian diaspora which is spread out throughout the world is also playing an important role in preserving and enhancing the soft power of India. Knowledge of India’s culture, tolerance , Information Technology and varied cuisines is spreading thanks to its growing diaspora across the world.
Leadership at International Platforms
Along with rising soft power, It can also be noticed that India is increasingly displaying exemplary leadership at International platforms and events. India’s role was much appreciated when it conducted a rescue operation in Yemen, not just for Indian citizens but also for stranded citizens of other countries. Also, In the Paris deal to prevent global warming, India again displayed responsibility which is suited to the role of an emerging world power. In order to promote solar energy usage throughout the world, India founded the high profile, International solar alliance which includes 121 countries and is based in Gurugram India.
Recently India celebrated electrification of every village of the country, a step long overdue since Independence. It is constructing roads, highways, laying railway lines at remotest corners of country and even connecting coasts by Sagarmala project. Keeping in mind the important role of tourism in earning forex, India is also investing on developing its tourism sector and promoting tourism under various schemes like Hriday and Swadesh darshan etc. India is also working towards creating 100 smart cities which can become models for other cities of India.
“I would give all the wealth of the world, and all the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision”
– Henry David Thoreau
India’s vision to use renewable energy, promote and preserve Indian culture, promotion of Ayurveda, Tree plantation, Clean India mission , creation of skill development ministry especially to focus on skill development, promotion of e-governance, startup India mission for promotion of entrepreneurship etc. hint that India is taking right steps towards a great vision. As Swami Vivekananda said around a century ago, “Hidden under the ashes, the fire of our national life is smouldering“, the bird’s eye view of India’s progress presented above point that India is proceeding in the right direction. It is without doubt that there are multiple challenges too that India is facing in the form of internal and external threats, corruption, nepotism, fights over reservation, separatist tendencies and unsustainable rise in population etc. to name a few. However “national will” can undoubtedly convert such challenges to milestones.
“On our work depends the coming of the India of the future. She is there ready waiting. She is only sleeping“
– Swami Vivekananda
In the end I quote the words from Vedas, which wish peace and happiness for everyone in the world. A civilization which desires prosperity of everyone, its victory will mean the victory of everything that is holy in the world.