Sunday, September 5, 2010

Editorial 'SIXTY THREE YEARS' in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 August 2010 issue

of transfer of power, we enjoyed or suffered, need profound introspection. Whether we are truly independent is the real question – if independence means mere political identity, may be we are largely independent. But as it encompasses socio-economic justice too, we need to be alarmed. Kudos to independent India, it is said: India is one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. India has emerged as one of the front-ranking nations in the world in information technology, missile technology, and in many other areas. Despite all the hardships, and braving all the challenges in these sixty-three years, India is standing in the world with her head held high. India’s stature in the world has gone up… The world is now recognizing India: 1) as the world’s largest democracy; 2) as an emerging global economic power; 3) As the confluence of a modern nation and an ancient civilization; 4) As a powerful country, dedicated to the ideal of peace.” But listen to Soutik Biswas, of BBC: “Impressive growth figures are unlikely to stun the poor into mindless optimism about their future. India has long been used to illustrate how extensive poverty coexists with growth. It has a shabby record in pulling people out of poverty - in the last two decades the number of absolutely poor in India has declined by 17 percentage points compared to China [decline by some 45%]. The number of Indian billionaires rose from 9 in 2004 to 40 in 2007, … higher than Japan [24] and France and Italy [14 each]. When one of the world's highest number of billionaires coexist with … the world's "largest number of homeless, ill-fed illiterates", something is gravely wrong.” Also, “India-wide, more than 43% of Indian children under five are malnourished, a third of the world’s total. Over 35% of Indians are illiterate and over 20m children out of school. For all its successes, including six decades of elections and a constitution that introduced the notion of equal rights to an inequitable society, India’s abiding failure is its inability to provide aid and economic opportunity to millions of its impoverished citizens” [Economist]. And that is what causes so much strife and violence in the society though Manmohan’s exhortation that ‘Violence does not benefit anyone’ may sound true and pious. And, unless we address and resolve the root cause, eliminate poverty, ill-health, illiteracy, inequality, and above all corruption, the violence will never even lessen, let alone abate, nor will we be in a position to walk the world with our heads high as free, prosperous and just citizens of the global community §§§

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