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Proud to be Indian. Are we really patriotic?

Posted in Social with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2013 by swatiaiyer

Proud to beIndian. This was the sentiment echoed in the comments that followed this clip on FB.  We are proud of our educational system. No reason why we should not be.  But just think, how many times do we keep saying this, nay shouting it from the roof tops? We are a patriotic lot. Are we? Are we really all that patriotic in the truest sense of the word? How much do we do for our country?

We never stop harping on all the glories of our past, we don’t stop talking of our golden heritage, all the Aryabhats and Ramanujams we produced. We had the world’s first aircrafts ……  But what are we doing NOW? Almost everything the world knows now, we claim we knew centuries ago. So where is all that knowledge today? Why are we not world leaders? Why are we content with being followers?

We are proud of the number of IITians and IIM graduates we churn out and the number of them who make it big in the outside world – read the U S of A. Do we ever stop to ask ourselves “why are so many of them – generations of these graduates – opting to go off to distant shores? What is it that drives them to go away from the country that gave them this education in the first place? Greed? Lack of opportunities”?

Easy to point a finger at them and say they are greedy and want to run after money, they don’t have any gratitude for the motherland which made them what they are. But what about our other four fingers which are pointing back at us? As tax payers we fuel in money into the governmental kitty to fund these institutions. As parents we sweat day and night to support our off spring while they work hard and to ensure that they make the grade to get into these world class institutions. We goad them on to go off to foreign shores – for two reasons:

  • The desire to see them realize their fullest potential in their careers
  • Personal gratification and the opportunity to boast about our kids to society

Let us leave out the second reason and its ramifications for another post, another day. Let us just concentrate on the first reason. Why should they have to seek better opportunities abroad? Why don’t they have the best opportunities here in our country? Is there a lack of money? I doubt it. If we think of the amount of money that gets diverted into the personal kitties and overseas bank accounts of politicians and other financial scams, if we think of the fact that we have enough money to launch spacecrafts, do we not have sufficient money to do something here at ground level to ensure that our youngsters stay in our country and contribute to our growth? Yes, the ones who are abroad eventually might invest some money in our country, but what about the rest? What we are reaping is just a fraction of what we sow. Does this make sense?

So why is this the way it is? Lack of political will? Corruption in high places? Lack of far-sighted policies? Policies that throttle the opportunities of capable men and women from getting well-deserved posts in governmental jobs – policies such as reservation of posts based on considerations such as caste and gender? Family contacts, political contacts, bureaucracy, caste considerations, gender considerations being the primary considerations in allotment of jobs?

And then we shout out from the roof tops that we are proud to be Indian. That is not true patriotism. “Do not ask what your country does for you, ask what you can do for your country”. True, provided there were not so many goons out there parading as politicians who controlled my ability to do a lot more for my country than I presently can.

As of now I can say, yes, I am proud to belong to a country and a race which has so much of brain power. I am proud to belong to a race that has individuals like a Narayan Murthy, a Kiran Mazumdar Shah, an Azim Premji among many others. I am proud to belong to a race that produces individuals from the most ordinary backgrounds who beat all odds to rise above their circumstances and limitations to make it big. But NO, I am not proud to belong to a country that ranks high in a list of the most corrupt countries of the world, sends up satellites but does not have decent sanitation in many places, does not have sufficient health care for its poor, does not provide sufficient job opportunities to cater to that section of its population who are highly skilled and highly educated and whose literacy rates are still phenomenally low. ‘

Yes, we have a lot going for us, but it is of no use if we don’t learn to harness all the skills that our country produces more productively and if we don’t do more for our people and provide a better quality of life for everyone. It does not suffice to just say we are proud to be Indian. We have to prove it through our deeds.

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