The idea of India

The strength of the nation in the 21st century will not be measured by GDP alone

Linked with Aruna Roy – India.

Published on live mint.com, by Aruna Roy, May 11, 2007.

All that is old is not gold. But surely all that glitters is not gold either. The Bharatiya Janata Party will no doubt acknowledge that their vision of “India Shining” blinded them to the realities and struggles for survival of a vast number of Indians. Our policymakers are, once again, distancing themselves from poverty and its causes. In their euphoria about gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates and sensex figures, they deliberately ignore the consequences of endemic hunger and deprivation on the people. What is even more depressing is the fact that those who watch the growth rate are not even true to the paradigm they espouse. They consciously ignore the alarming figures of infant mortality, literacy, unemployment, and the per capita income of the poorest 30%. Growing inequalities co …

… The last hundred years have been undoubtedly the Age of the Atom. Pitched between “science without humanity ” and “religion without compassion”, India has swung from one extreme to the other. The same people often advocate either extreme!! What determines scientific temper is not whether the issue is related to science, but that the approach is rational—whether it is Roop Kanwar’s sati, the atrocities on Dalits and minorities, the burning of brides, the rape of innocent women, or the jingoism of dropping bombs on ‘enemies’.

But, most important of all, the last century has seen the beginnings of the liberation of people from caste, class and gender atrocities. It has been a long haul from the time when all these groups were voiceless and isolated. The mere fact that acts of atrocities are reported is an acknowledgement of inequalities. The first step towards remedial action is the acceptance of the truth. It remains to be seen whether the coming century will build on this foundation. (full text).

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