THE history of ancient India is yet to be adequately researched and documented, but there exists enough evidence to show that for thousands of years India was the world’s centre for philosophy and science, and even craftsmanship and agriculture. The philosophical and scientific systems that led to rapid economic advancements in Europe were first debated and developed by ancient Indian thinkers. The fragments of the ancient manuscripts that have survived till this day give us some indication of how brilliant the original views of the ancient Indian thinkers must have been.
Most modern Indian intellectuals, due to their ideological bias, have consistently failed to shed light on the contribution that ancient Indian thinkers have made in the areas of philosophy, science, religion and culture. By their neglectful or negative attitude towards ancient Indian culture, the modern intellectuals have ensured that vast majority of Indian youth remains ignorant of India’s glorious past.
In the area of trade, ancient India has made a seminal contribution. We supplied most luxuries and needs for the Roman Empire and Europe. In return, India was the final destination for most of the world’s gold. Somewhere around the Middle Ages, we lost track, but now we are independent, and we can’t afford to lay blame on any external power. The younger generation has to do something to bring about a positive change in way the nation views itself.
The country has been enjoying democratic rule for more than six decades. Yet there is complete disconnect between the people and the political class. The older generation must take its share of blame for the mismanagement, corruption, decadence and the culture of injustice that we have in the country. Internationally we are now more famous for our corruption, poverty and lawlessness, than for knowledge, wisdom, science and industry.
The power of interactive communications
The gains that India has made in the field of IT should not be allowed to be lost due to political interference and mismanagement. Information technology can be potent tool for shaping the nation’s future, because Internet is too vast and diversified to be controlled by the intellectuals trained and indoctrinated by the west. The emerging forms of interactive communication offer us a new way of shifting the focus on the great work that India’s ancient thinkers have done.
Interactive communications is not about computers or the physical mass of wires and satellites, it is not an even about the complex maze of networks, databases and servers. Rather, it is about people, it is about real knowledge and free flow of information. The power of interactive communications on the Internet is such that it makes it impossible for the intellectuals or the ruling class to hide the truth. Today digital editions of the original works of India’s ancient thinkers are available at many online outlets. Most of these works are available for free. The Internet is making it possible for modern Indians to have a peek at the nation’s glorious past.
The Internet is also helping to expose the levels to which our intellectual culture and politics has decayed. The so-called intellectuals openly come up with arguments to support corrupt political class and the system of governance that is not delivering anything to the people.
Information technology for development
There are a number of ways by which IT can lead to social gains. A proper implementation of IT leads to more efficient use of resources and there is also transparency in the operations. The cost of information storage, processing and communications is much lower. In most cases, the reduced cost can be passed on to the consumer. This can lead to social gains, as a larger number of people can avail of the product, which is now cheaply and abundantly available.
Information technology has led to the reduction in the price of books to such an extent that many important classics from India’s ancient past are now available for free on the Internet. The youth of the nation have to campaign for having information technology in all areas of life in the country. In government departments Information Technology is a must. Before the UPA came to power and brought the economy and social sector to a standstill, the NDA government led by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee had taken a large number of initiatives for creation of a transparent and efficient system of e-Governance in the country.
A sustained online campaign must be launched for proper e-Governance implementations across all the departments in the country. Lot of corruption happens due to lack of transparency in the tendering and auction processes. With e-Tendering and e-Auctions lot of corruption can be banished from the country. However, e-Governance should be done in a proper manner or it will only result in the computerisation of all those bureaucratic processes that are obsolete and need to be done away with completely.
Today the government has moved into areas where it should have no role. These encroachments of the government can be exposed when there is more transparency through Information Technology. What the rapid advances in Information Technology have show is that values like self-discovery, a higher quality of life, and a renewed sense of community are now in our grasp. What is needed is a renewed thrust for implementing modern solutions from IT. The doors of the information technology sector should be thrown open to the private sector.
The youth have to take up Information Technology not only for improving their job prospects, but also to participate in the dissemination for better ideas for nation building. India will make a transition from a third world economy, to a developed and vibrant knowledge based economy, if the nation’s youth can make that leap into the world of new technologies and the Internet. If we are successful, then we might be able to leave behind a legacy that is much greater than our inheritance.