India’s strength lies in its young and literate population. It is something that makes her the youngest and literate nation in the galaxy of aged nations. 72 percent of Indians are young and literate; with the ability to adapt multi-discipline skills. They are a potential national asset.
The educated young are an exportable wealth. They can fetch resources through remittances to accelerate the pace of growth in India.
Many developed nations have a shortage of skilled working hands due to their aged populous. China today has 480 million old — beyond working age.The Chinese government has to bear expenses on their housing, food and health care. The single child a family rule enforced by China since 1971 has left them without caring progeny. Their young ones are elsewhere with their child.
In contrast, India has only 86 million old –75 million of whom are taken care of by their families.
Of three major Asian nations, Japan became rich before it became old. China had turned old before it became rich. India is young with the potential of becoming rich without getting old. It is perhaps the greatest strength of India. Since overwhelming numbers among them have the easy adaptability for multi-discipline skills, it has the potential to be called a national asset. Strangely not too long ago the same thing was perceived as a major problem for India.
The past six decades have seen an economic turnaround. The wealth may be unevenly divided, but India is not a totally barren land like some African nations. It has a 260 million strong middle class with the purchasing power envied by the world. The population of those living below the poverty level has reduced to 22 per cent only. 96 per cent children attend schools today. It is an indication that the poor parents are not just obsessed with two meals a day but seek the empowerment of their children through education and wish to lead a dignified life in future.
Though agriculture is still largely dependent on vagaries of nature, India is self-sufficient not only in food grains but also in many cash crops to spare large quantum of various agriculture produce for exports. There is a large scope for improving productivity with the consolidation of land and restoration of soil health. Even bad years in recent decades have yielded ninety percent production.
The issue of farmers’ suicides has been exaggerated for political gains as several unscrupulous elements are exploiting the compensation schemes for the affected families. Even natural deaths are passed on as suicides to collect the declared compensation.
Though the industrial base has not as expanded as it ought to have been, India enjoys a comparatively better reputation for the quality of goods it manufactures than those made in China. Americans prefer Indian products over goods made in China made goods. Indian products are in demand the world over.
India has a huge saving reserve at home that remains locked up in banks as the middle classes prefer the security of their savings than profits through speculative investments. Indians possess a huge quantum of gold in both forms, metal and jewellery as family savings. No estimates of Indian gold possessions have been officially and authentically carried out
Education base in India is wide though it lacks in quality of education for vast numbers in municipal and government schools. But a large number of universities churns out every year more graduates, more than half a million, than the rest of the world barring China. School leaving level educated is highest in India than the rest of the world put together. Little attention through administrative intervention can improve the quality of education as educated are available in ample numbers to replace bad teachers.
The weakness of India is in its population and its mentality. No attempts have been mad to inculcate character and pride in being Indian. Some conservative elements had been trying to divide people on prejudices for different denominations though in various fields of activities, young of all denominations have displayed their talents without display of prejudices on the basis of religions. The Muslims have been great singers and thespians who have never shied away from exhibiting their talents in the projection of Indian culture. The styles of raising hands in the prayer of Almighty may differ but in wearing dons of Indian culture, there is no difference either in them or minds of their fans. Standing ovations are accorded to a Muslim singer when he renders Saraswati Vandana or Meera Bhajan. Hindu singers also excel in the presentation of Sufi hymns rendering in praise of Allah. Thus, large numbers keep away from communal strife but a handful of fanatics can spoil the harmony of living.
Indians have been bound with unity of one culture but not with a single political or religious authority for ages. There never was, before India attained Independence in 1947 a single political authority to govern them or religious authority to discipline their life. Even oppressions of outsiders ruling India for seven hundred years made no difference to life and living of ordinary Indians whose demands from life were limited by the social order. The inter-caste conflicts were inherent in the uneven social structure, but it did not lead to violent and aggressive lifestyle as it did in Europe or China. Religion was also a style of relative values to give inbuilt sector-specific pride.
India is no more a conservative. It is not only learning but also craving for rapid modernization. Young of India are rearing to make their fortunes and also mark outside as opportunities appear to be great outside. India is gradually becoming a land of hopes for young. Thirty thousand young men and women came out of the safety of their homes to stand by an old man who had undertaken fast unto death for seeking the eradication of corruption from public life. Yes, the Indian political system that transformed in recent years from a public service orientation to the self-serving mode is a greater weakness of Indians. Traditional politicians display a lack of vision for a bright future. Instead propelling Indians to conquer the world, they desire to keep them hitched to their old pegs like milch animals are. Only by milking them for votes can they catapult themselves in power corridors.
For sixty years, the concept of empowering Indians with character, pride and skills to make them better citizens was not implemented. Instead, they were made dependent on welfare schemes that were nothing but charity for few who could grab. The rest remained in the abyss of poverty, deprivation and socio-economic injustice. The Green and the While Revolutions brought in unintended social and political transformations as better economic conditions made people look forward to other aspects of their life. Their life no more revolves around the struggle for two meals. It led to the realization of the importance of health, education, small family norms and sought cognizance of their place and their rights as humans in the world. They moved out from life under the umbrella of fatalism with the realization that they would have to fight to limp out. That realization also brought to an end the era of the political thought that had thrived on doling out charity.
Narendra Modi — enthused with a passion of pushing India and Indians ahead of all other races offers them a great opportunity. He does not pretend to lead them. He is striving to push them on the path that will lead them to better life only if they are ready for the struggle. His vision differs from the conservative moulds of the leftists and the rightists. He seems more inclined towards results instead of the ideology to achieve results. But the conservative minds both within and outside are a threat to his new concept of governance. His cleanse India is not a campaign merely to clean streets and environment around but also to cleanse the mental makeup and usher morality in actions. He is not asking them to wear swords or hold bows and arrows but handle tools to better their lives.
The big threat to India’s future is in the degradation of politics. The habit of doubting intention and integrity of opponents as well as bureaucrats have become a political fashion. The British mistrusted Indians as potential trouble makers. Hence, they imposed several restrictions on creativity and ability usage by Indians. The stance has to be reversed, and belief in honesty and integrity of every Indian needs to be established. Indians cannot move without a belief that every Indian is honest unless caught in nefarious activity. But tendency now is to run down people who hold office by accusing them of misdeeds even without waiting for confirmation of their misdeeds. It is a new form of the terrorism. It affects administration as even honest official find it difficult to take a decision. Those affected by the decision immediately rush to media with the accusation of wrongdoing. Both sides play the same game and rush with the accusation the of inefficiency if decision is put off. The person who is holding office naturally faces the disadvantage.