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Is India wasting its energies in totally unproductive and self-destructive pursuits?
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Lt Gen Kamal Davar (Retd) | Date:19 Mar , 2016 0 Comments
Lt Gen Kamal Davar (Retd)
a distinguished soldier and veteran of the 1965 and 1971 wars, was the founder director general of the Defence Intelligence Agency, raised after the Kargil conflict. After retirement, he writes and lectures on security, terrorism and allied issues in the national media and many forums.

At the cusp of becoming a reckonable global player, India, relatively a young nation but importantly, the inheritor of an ancient and a great civilization, displays an uncanny propensity for repeatedly axing its own feet, and often for reasons which belie any logic. The events in the past month engulfing and inflaming some of our youth at a reputed academic institution of this nation and now some other universities across the country as well, the lawlessness and the machinations of some in power is indeed a cause of great worry as to the path which we all are traversing. 

For a soldier, who has worn the nation’s uniform with great pride for 41 years, the direction in which the nation is heading causes immense pain and sorrow.  It is more so owing to the fact that when all the nation’s energies should have been directed towards waiting-in-the wings economic resurgence, creating the wherewithal for dealing with a could-be-turbulent future, wiping the tears of our gravely impoverished people and solving the countless problems which afflict our nation, we are not only wasting our energies in totally unproductive and self-destructive pursuits, but leaving no stone unturned to become the laughing stock for the world.

It is indeed worrisome a development that the chasm, even on matters gravely affecting the nation, between the party in power and those in the Opposition has become virtually unbridgeable. India’s Parliament is now but a mute and suffering spectator instead of being an institution symbolizing a vibrant democracy as it has done in the past many decades since India’s independence. High intellect, grace and dignity embellished with an unflinching faith in Indian nationhood and its parliamentary traditions firmly embedded in the conduct of our towering founding fathers appears, regrettably, now appears consigned to the pages of history.

All hues of our political leadership not only realize, but often exclaim about reaping the “demographic dividend” lying untapped in this nation. This vast nation with a huge 125 crore population with over half of these less than 25 years in age and 65 percent under 35 years.

Thus for the nation, both at the centre and all state governments, the primary focus should be on developing and harnessing the talent, skills and the natural energies of this bottomless reservoir for the national good. But, instead, what we are doing – trying to divide ourselves on the outdated concepts of religion, region, language or caste based reservations – is appalling. We have enough bad examples around the globe (some parts of the Islamic world) and close in our region (Pakistan) to avoid similar medieval destructive pitfalls. We are all sure to hear some chuckling across the border on what we are doing to ourselves, dividing the nation into enclaves of jealousies and animosities, and which are bound to have a terrible impact for a country that sits in region that is known for its democratic failures than successes.

The last fortnight, one of the most vibrant states of the nation, Haryana, was on fire, rocked itself into a self-destructive mode on caste driven considerations. Haryana has now put itself back by at least 5 years, if not more. Political parties in their enthusiasm must not pledge to their vote banks promises they cannot deliver or which are unreasonable and illegitimate in a diverse multi caste society.   It is high time that national interests are kept well above petty politicking. Those guilty of Haryana must be severely punished.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much heralded “Make in India” and “Digital India” programs can only succeed if the internal situation, throughout the length and breadth of this huge nation, is peaceful and conducive to business, industry and economic growth. Haryana type situations will only grossly discourage global industrial giants to skip India from their investment radar. Such highly avoidable situations impact our internal security and India can ill afford creation of additional internal security problems.

No anti-national activities can ever or should ever be tolerated and must be dealt severely as per the law of the land. But, importantly, the Centre and state governments will also have to rein in those cadres, from whichever political hue, who display bigotry and indulge in violence. Intolerance towards democratic dissent and stifling expression is not the Indian way of life. Progress is never possible if underscored by violence. Importantly, Left parties and other opposition parties also need to educate their young followers on the limits of ‘azadi’ (freedom) in speech and expression.

An attitude of mature statesmanship and equitable sensitivity towards all sections of our youth and people from all walks of life, by the government and the opposition leadership alike, will assist in defusing the current undesirable situation as prevailing today in some parts of the nation. Elections will come and go, political parties will win or lose but the nation is eternal.

It is my fervent prayer to all in our beloved motherland that let us not miss the India moment. We need to always cherish Rabindranath Tagore’s immortal words inscribed in his monumental work ‘Gitanjali ‘where he exhorts all of us- “ Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; where the world has not been broken up into domestic narrow walls; where the mind is led into ever widening thought and action. Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.”


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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

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