By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
What is exactly a nation, a fenced piece of land, a group of people tied by religion, language, ideology or some other idea, exactly what do we expect when we envision a country. Everyone has their own idea of a nation they want to live in; many people in this land would want it to become a Hindu Rashtra or Hindu State while many others want that India remain a secular country without any official religion. Some may want that India have strong socialist policies where there is safety net for poorest of the poor, while some others want India to embrace Capitalism in letter and spirit.
In this diverse sea of thoughts, I would like to add my two cents on the topic. You may agree or disagree with me but I think nation is something where people envision a certain quality of life. For example, when we think about the west, we think about very high standard of living, there are paved roads, clear air and water, good quality education, sense of security that ranges from physical security to security of practicing one’s own religion and freedom of expression. There is less corruption in public sphere and strong laws and regulations to protect individual rights and liberties. You can go to pub, park or bowling alley and there are plenty of career options for your kids to choose from rather than just engineering or medicine.
Long story short, even the most conservatives of Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians in this country feel a sense pride when their children move to countries like US and UK because they feel that somehow their children will have a brighter future in western countries. They won’t have to struggle for smallest of things such as driving license or a home loan. Forget the best and the brightest from institutes like IIT, IISc and AIIMS, even the average Indians would prefer to move to a western country if presented the opportunity, the reason you may ask, well there aren’t simply that many opportunities for everyone. It’s not that these people are not patriotic but our system does appreciate their talent and hard work.
I want an India where there is more fairness in wealth distribution and a vastly better quality of life, where a daily wage labor can also get his kids quality education at little to no cost and a middle class person like me can start a business without wasting useful time and money in government offices and paying bribes. I want an India where rules don’t apply selectively and people don’t have to look over their shoulders for expressing themselves. I want crime and corruption to be dealt with strongly while dissenters, journalists, writers and whistleblowers are granted protection by law. I want more libraries and want that women feel safe and secure in any part of the country. I want law & order, courts and judicial affairs to be less of a complicated affair and more of a public friendly nature. I believe there should be a separation of the church and we have cleaner air and water as well as strong environmental protection laws. The state and every citizen have freedom under the law for practicing his/her religion and freedom of expression. I want India to be a safe haven for journalists and writers whose voices are smothered in their countries. I want India to be foremost in spiritual and scientific endeavors. I want an India where country’s defenses are strengthened by enabling our soldiers with home made tech rather than depending on weapons bought from foreign countries which cost an arm and a leg. I want an India with top notch universal healthcare and food security for unprivileged masses.
There is a lot to say but in a nutshell. We have to start taking things seriously and focus on improving the lives of our citizens.