When India is celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the democracy has also achieved 75 years. By the time passed India has evolved and strengthen its democratic practices deep rooted into peoples’ participation at grass root level with elections as their rights. People use their votes to select the government which makes them developed, prosperous, secure as a state and good governance to reach the común. Democracy, development and societal infusion had been synonymous for governance in the past, but the idea of the ethos of this nation, i.e.; adhyatm has found its way in present governments’ founding father Deendayal’s idea of Integral Humanism which is the core of governance.
India has significant contribution towards democracy back to Ram Rajya. The very idea of the Indian state as per Chanakya is based on the Yogakshema – security and welfare of the people. The state as part of good governance, played an effective role over the individual’s social, political, economic, cultural, moral and even spiritual life which led to the development of the concept of life as an integrated whole, not an amalgam of self-contained fragments.
In Ram Rajya, the state is a democracy-righteous rule, should strive to secure for its people ample well-being and security from internal and external threats for its people.
To strive the people’s participation into the Lok Sangrah.
karmaṇaiva hi sansiddhimāsthitājanakādayaḥ |
loka-saṅgrahamevāpisampaśhyankartumarhasi || (BG 3.20)
Bhagavad Gita that illustrates the importance of Lok Sangrah or welfare of all and selfless service with a compassionate heart. This is especially relevant today as we strive to alleviate poverty in India and take the nation onto the path of greater prosperity.
Recently concluded, five states had been gone through rigorous electoral mechanism and elected the government which meets with the aspiration of the public at large into those states. The ruling government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party was able to retain four of the states, especially Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur where they are in the power. Also, by-elections for minority dominated seats in Uttar Pradesh gave thumping victory to the idea of democracy, development. Mandate achieved is also the reflection of their governance model and work done by respective governments.
While India went through a very tough time during pandemic and lost many. It’s not just societal loss, but also at economic front the world was not doing great. Even though the social inclusion and equality programs supported by Government, like direct benefit transfer or food supply, to relief the stress of common people was much appreciated by the public at large. Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state, had done COVID management extremely well in comparison with other Indian states, as study shows. Steps taken by the state government to mitigate the impact of economic crisis during the reverse migration of over 40 lakh migrant workers.
Ensuing the livelihood to all migrant laborers through free food distribution, ensuring free transportation facilities to all travelers, providing adequate health care facilities, made one of the best management practices to cope with COVID pandemic by state government.
During this period, Uttar Pradesh is not only developing as one of the fastest growing economies in India, but also as a cultural capital of India. Recently held Invest UP summit organized by state department had attracted Rs. 80000 crore, which create 5 lakh direct and 20 lakh indirect employments in the state. Efforts by the state to bring ODOP (one district one product) program had attracted young entrepreneurs to start their own ventures, which will also create an ecosystem for entrepreneurship in the state.
As the Prime Minister quenched the thirst of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor and a long-standing demand of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya by the Vaishnav Sampraday and Sangh Parivar as well, it has developed the state as the cultural capital for the Hindus of all across the globe. In a recent trend the number of visitors across spiritual pilgrimages has increased by 2.5 times in the state. The Idea to develop the state as a ‘capital of spirituality’ with economic steps like ODOP will boost the local economy. On the other hand, it will also fill the gap between the urban and rural opportunities.
If North East is the gateway to ASEAN, then Uttar Pradesh can also be the cultural capital of ASEAN. The shared values and culture between ASEAN and the Indian state, Uttar Pradesh is so deep that the roots of its cultural linkage go in Treta Yug. Bong Ho-Kim, the president of the clan society, Republic of Korea, had said, ‘Ayodhya is the birthplace of our great Queen Huh, has acquired the status of a place for pilgrimage to over six million descendants.’
‘Ramayana’ as it is performed in ASEAN nations is not only a reflection of the strong cultural and civilisational links we have with them, but is also a bond which is our common heritage and binds us to one other. Also, traces of Buddhism have its footprints in Uttar Pradesh, especially, Shravasti, Kushinagar and Sarnath which have attracted millions of Buddhist pilgrims from across the world. Uttar Pradesh as center to this great civilizational linkage, it is also putting effort to grow as cultural capital of the ASEAN.
Efforts have been made by the present dispensation to promote cultural linkage and ties along with developmental projects in Uttar Pradesh and grabbed the attention of the world and many developmental agencies as well. The potential of demographic dividend can transform the state into the fastest and largest economy in India. As Pt. Deendayal said, ‘Development of any state or nation must be balanced and reach to the last person.’
(The writer is Director of ‘Lokneeti India’, a Lucknow based think tank)