My Vision of India 2020

Contrary to public perception, we have made remarkable progress in 67 years of liberty that we have enjoyed. In 1947, people questioned the very existence of a nation called India. The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill remarked that “India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the Equator.” But today, we flourish. Our national identity grows stronger every day. Take a look at the arc of instability surrounding India. All our neighbours are torn by dissent and discontent but in the midst of them all lies our India, shining like an oasis of calm.

In the past decade itself, India has seen considerable progress. Poverty has been rooted out of considerably large sections of the populace. Our national income has tripled and rural India has started smiling like ever before. We have 6 years left for the year 2020. What should we and what can we hope to achieve in these 6 years?

The curse of poverty which has been breaking the back of the common man of the country for ages must be lifted. It causes a drain on national human resources, obliterating the capacity of a human being, rendering him without use. If the ills of poverty are banished from the face of this country, a ripple effect will be found on mortality rates, life expectancy, general health and sanitation, literacy, employment and malnourishment.

For this, India should walk on her own shadow - we must develop our own growth model. We should make a concentrated effort to bring the benefits of our natural resources to the rural Indians. Every effort should be made to bring proper infrastructure to areas in every far-flung area of this expansive nation. Special efforts should be made to increase connectivity with the North-East of India which has been neglected for a long time now.

I hope for an India with no religious or racial discrimination. I envision a country where corruption has been rooted out, where governance is absolutely transparent. I wish to see a Parliament where our politicians actually debate on worthwhile topics with no theatrics involved.

I envision an India where the adivasi women of Chhattisgarh no longer have to fear the Maoists when they come out to vote. I envisage our country as a place where caste, prejudices and superstitions have been relegated to the waste baskets of history.

I want my countrymen to be genuinely proud of their country and its glorious history. I want them to have the trait of patriotism ingrained into every fiber of their bodies. I want my fellow citizens to realize the sheer diversity of their cultural heritage and take a real interest in it.

Because I believe in an India of pluralism and diversity, not of religious bigotry and caste politics. I believe in an India that is secure in itself and confident of its place in the world, an India that is a proud example of tolerance, freedom and hope for the downtrodden. Let us take inspiration from our ancestors in ancient India who ceaselessly held aloft the torch of freedom, lighting up the darkness that surrounded them.

India has shaped our mind, anchored our identity, influenced our beliefs, and made us who we are. India matters to us, let us make an effort to matter to India. Let us abstain from encouraging communalism and narrow-mindedness, for a nation whose people are narrow in thought or in action can never achieve greatness.

So, I look forward to an India where we help not fight each other, where we assimilate and not destroy. Let us live in harmony and peace not in dissension. For we live in India; the land of belonging. The only alternative to our co-existence lies is in our co-destruction.

So by 2020, I envision an India at the high table of prosperity, a nation which stands as the first among equals in the international community, a country united not by bonds of religion and community but a feeling of Indianness. A country which has successfully, as Mahatma Gandhi hoped, “wiped every tear from every eye”.

(The Speech was drafted for a competition held by the M.R, Pai Memorial Foundation)

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