Both security and development always remained on the forefront of any national agenda and this time also both these issues will remain on top priority before the electorate. But as far as National Renewal (rebuilding) is concerned, I would like to stress upon bringing some basic changes in paradigms of security and development and to this end I wish to give top priority to the new model of development.
Current model of development emphasises only on speed, with the result we have lost the direction and failed to achieve concrete outcome. Lot of research is carried out on the subject of sustainable development, human development, green development, etc. These new definitions of development are more appropriate for the country like India. I insist that every political party should give top priority to these new approaches of development in the ensuing elections. In this regard, I have identified some of the ignored but indispensable issues which will give direction and achieve concrete results of development.
It is not possible to achieve any target of National Renewal without renewal of rural India. Instead of becoming beneficiary of Green Revolution, rural India has become victim of Green Revolution! Due to various programmes of Green Revolution, not only the cost of cultivation has extremely increased but the environment (soil, water and air) is also deeply damaged. On top of all these disastrous impacts, use of chemical products in agriculture has caused dangerous effects on human health! Because of all these so-called modern agriculture related inputs, the problems of farmer suicide, stagnation in agricultural growth, increase in rural unemployment, boost in rural-urban migration, social imbalance, naxalism and many other problems have grown to a hazardous nature. According to me, we can solve all these problems by adopting and implementing the panned programmes of sustainable development.
In order to achieve the targets of sustainable rural development, we have to promote mix farming (cultivation and animal husbandry) and organic farming on extensive basis. In this regard, we have to give proper attention towards cattle protection and cattle development. Availability and utility of cattle is the most important need of mix and organic farming. Milk, curd and ghee can become supportive source of income for farmers and dung and urine (gau-mutra) can be used for making bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticides. Multi-dimensional utility of cattle will definitely decrease the major part of cost of cultivation for the farmer. You will be surprised to know that if cow-dung put in the horn of a cow and buried in the soil for 4-6 months, the little quantity of this dung can fulfil all the fertilizer related needs of one acre land. How fantastic!!! Due to effectiveness of this kind of persevered dung, the scientists have named it ?bio-dynamic fertilizer?.
In addition to this, it is now recognised that cow-urine (Gau-mutra) is very much helpful in the prevention and cure of many diseases. Therefore, the production of medicines based on Gau-mutra has started at various places of the country. Thus, cattle can prove to be the important source of income for the poor peasants. It is clear that the cattle not only provide fruitful livelihood for peasants but also ensure the sustenance of quality of environment. I firmly believe that instead of promoting chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the government should promote organic fertilizers and pesticides and should take concrete steps to increase the production.
Another important area which is ignored is that nearly 80 per cent of the farmers hold less than one hectare land. This is insufficient to fulfil their livelihood. In order to give them stable and constant livelihood, only mix farming and organic farming can prove to be the most effective means.
I am sorry to say that Government has been promoting all those policies and programmes which are destructive to cattle resources. Another example, the policy of meat export is most harmful. More than ten million animals are sent to the slaughter-houses every year for the purpose of earning handful of foreign exchange. It is very strange that to fulfil the needs and desires of food of foreign countries, we are destroying our valuable resources! This is not only detrimental for the over-all development of the country but also is harmful for the environment.
The most dangerous fact is related to cattle smuggling. Export of cattle is illegal in India. In spite of this, millions of cattle are smuggled to neighbouring countries through the border. Every third cow slaughtered in Dhaka (Bangladesh) is Indian. According to one report, everyday about 20-30 thousand cows are smuggled. Annually, 6 million animals are smuggled only to Bangladesh. This report further adds, and this is most dangerous thing, that the money received against this smuggling is used in promoting terrorism. Weapons and explosives are illegally sent to India against smuggling of cattle. And our Government has become mere spectator to all these activities!
Therefore, every political party, in their election manifesto, must pledge themselves to the issue of banning all these defective policies and dangerous activities, which damage our resources.
The other important area which, if ignored, will prove to be dangerous, is the direction where our present young generation is heading. We all know that more than two-third of our population is under the age of 30 years. We not only have to make them empowered to achieve the higher standard of growth but we have to teach, train and prepare them to maintain humanistic and sustainable direction of development, in addition to their moral character building. In this context, the most significant thing is to provide appropriate and favourable atmosphere. To facilitate this atmosphere, all the four pillars of our democratic system (legislative, executive, judiciary and media) have to play a vital role as they greatly contribute in the process of formation of favourable atmosphere. Obviously, nation has to redefine and resettle its various policies for achieving this goal.
National atmosphere is over-shadowed by violence and obscenity which disastrously impact mind and behaviour of our youngsters. What we should stress upon is to create an atmosphere which encourages character-building, discipline, self-reliance and duty-oriented approach in youngsters. It is essential to give attention towards some of the neglected issues without any further delay.
One more issue which is gaining a dangerous trend is called Internet pornography. Anonymity, accessibility and affordability of Internet have made pornographic sites easily available for everyone. Ill-effects of such pornographic sites need not be described as a whole novel can be written on this. But in short, Internet pornography has proved perilous for social harmony, human relations, family relations, stability of marriage, law and order, protecting kids and children from sexual exploitation, human health and many other fundamental components of the human civilisation. There is an urgent need to pay attention towards the ill-effects of Internet pornography through which millions of young women have been pushed to the trade and smuggling for prostitution. We must protect our youth from this Bhasmasur and totally ban these pornographic sites. We should also strengthen our law implementing agencies that can punish the internet pornography viewers. It will prove to be a milestone to ensure empowerment and character-building in youth.
Is it possible that we talk about youth and not touch upon the issue of entire educational system? There is an urgent need to bring approach and behavioural changes in educational system. Present system of education is only carrier-oriented and has failed to ensure total personality development. Here also, the stress is only on speed and not the direction and the outcome. It is absolutely necessary that the whole education system should be transformed from carrier-oriented to character-oriented. Education is a means of character-building and knowledge enhancement and the process of this development makes children/youth capable to accomplish his livelihood. But today's scenario is completely contrary. This is the basic reason of socio-economic, urban-rural and rich-poor disparities.
The nation has to concentrate on character-building in the youths through the education system and has to remove all the deformities like sex education and others. Our socio-cultural structure doesn'taccept sex education and the experiences of other countries have also recognised that sex education is dangerous for the children. Therefore, proper attention should be paid towards the formation and implementation of character-oriented education and elimination of sex education and other deformities.
The task of renewal has no meaning without the wide cooperation of masses. In this regard we have to make people aware and active so that they can directly participate in the process of over-all development. I would like to discuss a policy of government which discourage people for taking any initiative.
The government had imposed 30 per cent tax on anonymous donation received by charitable institutions. This provision is proving fatal for many orphanages, old-age homes, institutions which are devoted to upliftment of handicapped people, Gau-shala, Panjrapole etc. It is of utmost necessity that government should, at least, give exemption to those institutions which are devoted to welfare and empowerment of destitute, oppressed, tortured and handicapped people.
It is a historical fact that the society or nation, which is internally competent and empowered, can remain externally secured and prosperous. On the basis of this reality, I have recognised internal empowerment of the nation for the national renewal and on the ground of this belief that I have given top most priority to above mentioned issues. I am sure that we can give proper direction to the country'sgrowth towards sustainable-human development through implementing above initiatives.
Readers may find this as an analysis of the agenda of national rebuilding. But so far as my belief is concerned, I would like to say that this is only an expression of my feelings and I express this with a heavy heart, that the tolerance capacity of our masses has reached to its peak and now is the time to take some concrete actions to empower them. If we fail to notice this today then I am afraid, tomorrow will neither recognise nor honour us and hence I say ?If not now then when??
(The writer is a leading Jain saint and can be contacted at [email protected])