Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Editorial - "66 years of Independence: Pluses and minuses" - in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 August 2013 issue, Vol. 9, Part 2, No. 15


Even if we accept the popular conception that 15 August 1947 is the real independence day, and not a black day to mark and mourn the largest ever communal massacres in history due to the horrible mess of partition made by the British imperialists and their native lackeys, the sixty-six years of freedom ‘enjoyed’ by us does not present that happy scenario for the people of this country. Not that we haven’t made any progress nor that we have met with failures only and no significant achievements. No, we don’t take that stark negative view but yet are constrained to comment that whatever considerable growth we achieved since independence has not been commensurate with the needs and expectations of the people, nor is that much remarkable in comparative assessments in Asia or the world over, though much euphoria is now being made that we have become an Asian superpower next to our bigger neighbor China. Though we could reduce the share of the poor, as per official figures, from a high of 50% in 1951 to a low of 22% in 2012, the absolute number of the poor has steadily increased and as per World Bank reports, India is the abode for about one-third of the world poor. Likewise in literacy and health spheres, our growths are much below the world averages and India has the world’s largest illiterate population as also the highest rates of child and rural malnutrition, not to speak of the rampant diseases and child mortality figures staring us in all their fury. Even today we don’t spend even up to 2% of the GDP on public health and rank at level 136 in the world human development index [2013], steadily declining from 119 in 2010 and 134 in 2011 – now standing much below Singapore [at 19], Sri Lanka [92] and China [101]. Obviously, all this due to the rising inequalities and inequities in the developmental processes and the nasty corruption indulged in and cruel exploitation/oppression perpetrated by the ruling classes, political parties, businessmen, bureaucrats, so-called public servants, et al, with dirty corruption, grisly greed and other divisive tendencies spreading in all sections of the society too. And we feel that nothing but a revolutionary upsurge of the people for radical systemic changes to establish a socialist welfare state can achieve just, equitable and sustainable growth to bring real relief to the downtrodden millions. §§§