A Merciless Analysis and A Dream
By Manju Gupta
Written by a qualified electrical engineer and political researcher, the book under review is an ambitious attempt to explore ways to make India overcome its past weaknesses and emerge as an economically, politically and spiritually enlightened nation in the world.
The book begins somehow on a pessimistic note with Agrawal saying, ?As individuals we have succeeded in other countries but have failed in our own.? He continues in the same vein. His vitriolic attack is directed essentially at the political leaders and bureaucrats who ?have often praised our democracy that has stood by ?them? for 56 years. But it has been praiseworthy only for them as they have been able to ramshackle the nation to their whims and drive the people to stark poverty and deprivation. Poverty, illiteracy and backwardness cannot be the success of our democracy; rather its failure. The legacy of our system bestowed on us by the Constitution continues unscathed even today.
He analyses the factors responsible for ?such a dismal progress of our country and the miserable condition of the people, even when all that was essential for making a nation prosperous was and is still available with us.?
The author divides the book into four parts under headings ?What We Are, Why We Are, What Can Be Done, and How It Can Be Done.
Under What Can Be Done Agrawal touches briefly upon the history of India'ssubjugation by foreign rulers and attributes it to our cowardice, illiteracy and backwardness (?There were hardly any rulers during the medieval period??from about A.D. 1000 till about A.D.1800?who voiced for education or put up any effort in this direction. We do have a mention of great universities of Nalanda in Bihar and Takshshila in Sind but that was about 7th century that basically preached Buddhism. Except for this not much seems to have been done to educate the populace, until at least the British rule?). He conveniently decides to overlook the guru-shishya parampara and the oral tradition which continued alongwith with formal education. He feels that the British system of education ?produced a class that was Indian by blood but English by culture and lifestyle.?
The author then talks of the many a malaise afflicting the country, like improper utilisation of natural resources, a dwindling economy, degeneration of human values, religious intolerance and terrorism.
In Part II under Why We Are, he criticizes the system of governance since the time of Mahatma Gandhi who was ?a visionary when he said that all villages must be self-supporting and self-reliant?, but ?he lacked in his vision the means to support and sustain the rural populace. Agriculture, tiny industries or spinning wheel alone were not adequate to achieve it even in those days because of a large rural population?Another lacuna in Gandhian philosophy was the thrust on self-support rather than on self-development.? The author then gives the chronology of our downfall beginning with the Nehru era and his philosophy of ?half socialism and half capitalism but failure in both.? He then derides the bureaucracy which ?is leading us towards an authoritarian rule. And we are not able to see it.?
He talks of rampant corruption and generation of black money, and concludes that the ?public sector never worked and the private sector was never allowed to work?We are now calling minders (MNCs) from outside.? He gives vital facts and figures showing why India lags behind in rural development.
In Part III, the author suggests adoption of certain remedial measures?stop destruction of primary resources; develop rural areas by setting up ?city centres? for village folks to ?live and work together to become a force one day?; control population; reform the education system by making school education State controlled and higher education privatised; water management through rain-water harvesting; disaster management by setting up cells for management; optimum use of non-conventional sources of energy; pollution control;. afforestation; improved tourism; and adoption of information technology on a large scale. He even suggests reform of police, judiciary, defence services besides development of the north-eastern states and bringing about unification of Kashmir?a problem not solved by Nehru ?who was responsible for taking the issue to the UN?The UN decided for a plebiscite??
As part of the movement called Crusade India which is launched by the author himself, he advocates unification of India and Pakistan ?to emerge as a super power on the world scenario? and solve the Kashmir problem consequently.
In Part IV he advocates a federal system of governance for India where the President and his team of executives could carry out the policies to be overseen by monitoring committees.
The style of writing is fluent and language is lucid but the holistic approach suggested by him may create a Dream India only in our dreams as working and implementing schemes is different to harbouring them.
He feels that the British system of education ?produced a class that was Indian by blood but English by culture and lifestyle.?