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Yes we Can... But can We?
By Ayush Prasad

September 20, 2011

My Dear Indians,

I do not know, how many of you are used to being referred to as Indians, but if I began by addressing you by your caste, religion, language, class, race etc etc, it would fill several books and I am sure to lose out on a group. That group would mind it, burn my effigy, waste precious petrol and even cause pollution. Indianess is not only a diverse term, there is also confusion, as there are many who have a separatist ideology, several others who believe more in sub-nationalism of their state than in the idea of India itself. Anyways, let me get on with my message.

A few years back, India was said to be shining. Amitabh Bachchan stood on the half constructed Bandra-Worli Sea Link and proclaimed to the world that India is going to fly. There was positivity all around and one felt that tomorrow is going to be a better day. Today we are over-whelmed and saddened by what we see around us.

42% of Indians are below the poverty line and if there is a natural calamity, over 60% would be poor, unable to afford a square meal a day. The main stray of the Indian Economy is agriculture, its growth has stagnated to 3%. Farmer Suicides have become common. Fertile lands are being forcefully acquired, quelling protests with the use of bullets. Land is being taken away for new apartments, while food prices rise and people are unable to afford a square meal a day.

The Indian Industrial growth has plummeted to 3.1% and the price of petrol has also been increased by Rs 3.14. Petrol is obtained at the lowest temperate in petroleum refining and the yield is also several times of diesel and natural gas. Economics states that if the supply is more, the price should be low, but petrol is price twice of that of diesel. Petroleum products drive the economy and is a major drain on our foreign exchange. Successive governments have failed to come up with a vision to reduce our dependency on these products. Neither have we invested on green energy like ethanol nor have we asked automobile manufacturers to increase the fuel efficiency.

Natural resources are being exploited by vested interests. This inherited wealth of our nation is being exported, often without concern for the environment. Only 3% of Indians pay taxes. Indian colleges produce over 500,000 engineers every year, but our infrastructure is very poor. Several new companies have come up, but we have not yet scaled the heights like Facebook, Google or Apple.

Corruption is everywhere from the gram panchayats to the highest offices of the land. The Prime Minister, says that he would control corruption, but he could not check on the corruption of his cabinet colleague, someone who he met everyday and continued in office, till the pleasure of the Prime Minister. Though the country grew by just 7% in the last 2 years, the assets of the Union Cabinet increased by 50-700%.  Pride of India, The Air India is one the worst managed airlines in the world. Each and every sector has corruption and underperformance.

There are seperatists in several parts of India. 20% of Indian territory is challenged by a terrorist/insurgent movement. Terrorists can plant bombs at their will in our most secure cities. There is fear to travel in buses, visit malls, eat in cafes, watch a cricket match or visit places of worship. Innocent people spend years in jail for crimes they never committed. Most bomb-blasts do not get detected and the stringent laws are means of harassing the innocent people. India was attacked on 26/11 & in Kargil. No effort was made to bring people who attacked India to justice. The attack was on India, why should the attacker be tried in a Pakistani or American Court? We celebrated by pronouncing the death sentence on a man who had come to die. Had he died that day, we would have never known who attacked India. The real attackers live to attack us yet again.

Everything from the water supply pipes to the self confidance of our nation is broken. We look for a hero, we do not find that hero in our leaders and unfortunately due to the corruption cases from Adarsh to Sukhna, we do not even see it in our armed forces. Reading that our entire border is without Radar Cover and that China warns us and destroys our army tents, does not refect well. The rockets built by best scientists go up in flames.

India was a country, which said, "Yes We can", just a few years ago. Now we are a counrty, who asks, "Can we?"

Indian is a land of individual brilliance, but collectively, we have not tied ourselves as one nation, one people. Why do we tolerate those who attack us? Why do we tolerate poor performance? Why is there a lack of leadership in our country today?

Well, we are a country of a billion people, with over a trillion problems. But these are our problems. Our problems would have to be solved by us and only us. We can point fingers at each other, fight, waste time, aggrevate the problem and divide ourselves into variuos camps. Or we can face the problems and do something to solve it. We should discuss to understand the problems well and find soultions.

When we stand divided, it is easy for the challenges to defeat us. But if we stand together, even the mighty have bowed in front of us. When 350 million Indians demanded in one voice for Independance, the sun began to set on the mighty British Empire. It is in the collective hard work of the Indian farmers, that we could get rid of hunger in the 1970s and the collective efforts and enterprise in the 1990s & 2000s that India is look up by the entire world.

Our energies and efforts should be towards building a new India. An India where poor quality gives way to good quality. An India which has the best of everything in the world, and constantly pushes the boundary in every sphere. An India where each individual can dream and has sufficent opportunities to achieve that dream. An India where inequality of all kinds are removed and every individual's voice is heard and respected.

 Let us all stop complaining and start finding solutions to every challenge. It is going to be a challenging journey and we are capable. It is only us, who can build India of our dreams.

But Can we? ... Yes We can!


Ayush Prasad - Archives:

Comments on this article
Siddhartha. , HowrahMonday, October 24, 2011
Most of the communities in the entire Indian sub-continent(such as Bengali) are succumbed in ‘Culture of Poverty'(Oscar Lewis), irrespective of cl-ass or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is genuinely regret ed or ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, bad work place, weak mother language, continuous consumption of common social space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold(supported by some lame excuses). Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour(values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting children those are born out of ignorance, extreme poverty. It seems that all of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of ‘poverty’) in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in ‘Production of (social) Space’ (Henri Lefebvre), initiate a movement by heart, an intense attachment with the society at large is very much required - one different pathway has to create, decent & rich Politics will definitely come up. – Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101.
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Doreen Machado, Mangalore/ SharjahTuesday, September 27, 2011
A well written article which requires every Indian to wake up and do their share of contribution to nation building. Yes, I completely agree, that united we stand, divided we fall. Perhaps campaigns to call on all people to unite can help us achieve success and resolve our issues.
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Shekar Moily Padebettu, Padebettu/UdipiMonday, September 26, 2011
Wah Mr.Ayush Prasad nicely portrayed about what India supposed to be today.good/mind blowing article.I do agree with what you have penned in the article.Definitely we can provided we unite.United we stand,divided we fall.Nothing is impossible.Impossible can be converted in to possible.Great going Mr.Prasad.keep writinh.May god bless u.
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Judith L, MumbaiThursday, September 22, 2011
Nice Article Ayush, but I doubt whether we can challenge poverty and other socio-economic problems. Although there is development, All Indians are not benefitted. 5% are ultra rich because of corruption. 10% friends and wellwishers of 5% ultrarich hence in the upper income bracket with all sundry allowance 20% to 35%struggling to maintain the standard of living hence always running round the clock and never know when they will come at BPL level balance 50% of Indians are BPL and are starving, which is more than even African countries as per NCAER Report. No wonder our youth never return from abroad countries.
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Juliana, UdupiWednesday, September 21, 2011
True picture of India. One thing missing is the calibre to use the opportunities. Days are not the same as earlier. People with education can recognise corruption and what is right and wrong. We now have global challenges. Earlier we were recognised as India but now we have to act like world power since india has got the man power which large number of developed countries lack. We Indians fit in any pocket due to our sincerity. Thanks for the article which is full of knowledge. But you need to grow up still more to show a more positive out look of our dear nation.
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Royston, Mangalore/BostonTuesday, September 20, 2011
Mr Don is right. what we need is FRESH AIR. Because of all the pollution and fading green cover the country will loose its culture, heritage, norms and happiness. Our only way out is to be more GREEN. Plant more trees of the right kind in the right places. Jai Hind
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ashenoy, mangloorTuesday, September 20, 2011
Amidst diversity and inequality if I may say so, its the inhabitants of this great country, called India, Bharat, Hindustan, make this nation of ours a great one leaving aside the corrupt politicians.

Until and unless we recognise and deal with the challenges and opportunities we cannot be Indians for India.

Richness and poverty is not a value setter, but the greatest value setter is ourselves, Indians for India.

Yes, we can make or break India but I am leaning towrds to make India despite its shortcomings.

Never compare India to other nations but to India and Indians and their true patriotism. Where do we stand? Can we face up the challenges or simply runaway?
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Don, MangaloreTuesday, September 20, 2011
Good article, well written and explained.

There is one point that needs further clarity is “Pollution”. In the cities the air is so polluted which bring to my mind a slogan written for India’s 50th independence day that read, “ Fill your lungs with pride, not carbon monoxide”.

Factories are bellowing impurities in the air, automobiles add to the problem. Industries drain all their hazardous waste into rivers or the sea. Tributaries of rivers have water in them only in the monsoon, the rest of the year they are used as drainage of industrial waste. If India needs to clean up this mess and seek a permanent solution the estimated cost to the Indian government is 3.5 trillion US dollars.

Our infrastructure in the urban areas is crumbling as most of it was built before independence. Without proper planning it will lead to gridlocks and by the way things are going we will have 1.1 kilometer of cars for every kilometer of road in the next 50 years.

Yes, we can change this and all of the above if we all work together as a team and our politicians work towards this humongous task. But instead we have this “Chalta-Hai” attitude and politicians only enrich themselves, and in the next elections if a new political party were voted to power they would also do the same thing.

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A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.Tuesday, September 20, 2011
This is a good article openly displaying the serious setbacks and
challenging social and economic
problems of India. As we boast very proudly about the great improvement in the GDP and the long list of wealthy people, and some of them among the richest of the world we are tactfully ignoring the other side of poverty and hopelessness. Some are confused about, how to blow their money to enjoy life greatly. On the other hand, the vast majority are worried about a full belly of meals for the family. Indeed, India is a real contradiction and a land of extreme economic polarization. While driving, simply look to the top, we can see the prosperity, but when we look down and to the sideways, we can see the poverty. If the wealthy can show compassion to one person
someway associated with them, greater economic and social miracles can happen in India.
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Amin Bhoja, kkuh / riyadhTuesday, September 20, 2011
It is a true picture of india, corruption and the poverty is the enemy of our society.The terror and the naxals are the other problem what we face.We are going to be a developed country.Yes, don't know when?. PM promise us corrupt free india,but some of his cabinet collegue are in jail for corruption.We always paint a rosy picture which is not real.Promise and promise never help the poor.Only we cross our finger to see what is next?
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Austin Lobo, Long Beach, CA.Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I agree with your article to some extent, but i differ with you on some points, like a misconception even today, after 64 years of independece, that mr. M.K. Gandhi or Indians put the British out, unfortunately the truth is Britishers couldn't manage a huge country like India and after their failure in world war 2, they moved out, but not before creating a monster like porkistan to deal with......and secondly the just concluded anna hazare campaign against corruption, the effects of sincerity, honesty, and hard work will only be conceived in the next decade or so, when young kids grow, if they are taught this today...........
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geoffrey, hathillTuesday, September 20, 2011
The writer has painted a true picture of India today which unfortunately is not something to be proud of . The statement ‘the collective efforts and enterprise in the 1990s & 2000s that India is look up by the entire world’ bit confusing/contradictory though.
Whilst 40% of our population is BPL, we also have some super rich citizens combined wealth of whom surpasses GDPs of some nations. This is excluding the funds hoarded in foreign banks.
Need of the hour to set things right in our country 1) Have selfless leadership with a strong political will to shift the BPL southwards. 2) Make necessary amendments and have a judiciary/legal system free of loopholes. 3). Inculcate the value of honesty and hard work in young minds. 4) Encourage media to be unbiased.
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