Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is Leadership Unifying or Dividing the Nation?

We have treaded through a long sixty three years, though too short a duration in the life of a country, after the Independence, with attempts by the various ruling governments to maintain the secular structure, as dreamt of by the founding fathers of our constitution who were selfless to the core with the unity and integrity of the nation uppermost in their hearts. If we all ask ourselves the question as to whether we have lived unto their dreams or shattered them, the answer would be right in front and a very disappointing one indeed.

Factually speaking the prosperity and unity of India was foremost in the hearts and minds of those who went through the freedom struggle themselves, and who are mostly dead and gone with may be a very few of them still helplessly counting their days and ruing those responsible for landing the country in the pathetic state, which it is in today.

It is indeed a pity that as we we have gone past the Platinum Jubilee of our Independence, we as a Nation are actually going through a process of splinterisation in every field of activity, as has been the case of our political parties. This perhaps must have given our Election Commission under the indomitable Seshan, Gills and the opportunity to enter their name amongst Guinness record holders for producing the biggest ever ballot paper and the ballot box. The first ever hung parliament and the coalition Governments has also been a gift to the people due to the splinter group politics now prevalent in the country.

Whatsoever argument may the present UPA Government try to give to the country, that they and the conglomerate of unlike minded political parties came together to form a government at the centre with the unprincipled but desperate support and mercy of the splintering congress party to keep the non secular forces ie the BJP out of power was the will of the people, would be an understatement of this century. To be precise the government has been thrust upon the people by the people themselves for not having made up their mind as to what they wanted. No doubt the government which has been facing scams after scams is still going on, yet when any of the splinter groups pulls the carpet from under the feet of Man Mohan Singh and his conglomerate is million dollar question. However, some others are also lined up, to join the band wagon of corruption to save Manmohan and Sonia.

The Nation knows now that our unscruplous politicians have the opportunistic tendencies of remembering the word secularism only when it suits them ie when they start on their electioneering campaigns, with the only fear of the BJP, having branded them as anti secular or rather communal, irrespective of whatever their good points or bright spots are. However, it is yet another pity that they have hardly ever let Hindus and Muslims or for that matter any other religious community come together through their minds and hearts to maintain a cordiality amongst them to ensure the desired communal harmony, on which was based the foundation of the secular India. Kashmiris sent out millions of Pandits from their home land, unscruplously in front of our helpless central government, with no solution in sight for their return.

Whenever members of these communities try to come together due to their vicinities and affinities, some foolish leaders tend to provoke their feelings to spark off hatred and communal disturbances for gaining political mileage through diversionary policies. The best example of co-existence amongst people of all faiths and religions is prevalent amongst the Armed Forces of the country. Why the rest of the people do not take a cue from them, in the best interest of the Nation.

It is a yet another pathetic fact that we as a Nation still not have a common language for communication amongst each other. I may not be wrong in presuming that perhaps the only song that each Indian through its length and breadth irrespective of his or her mother tongue would be able to sing together is the National anthem. But is that sufficient for each and every Indian to understand the spoken and written feelings of hundreds and thousands of his countrymen, who speak at least fourteen official and many more other locals and tribal languages, towards unifying their minds and hearts. It is sad that the leader of UPA cannot yet express herself comfortably in Hindi for the benefit of his countrymen of the Northern belt. The sooner she is able to do it would be better.

Unfortunately, the two and the three languages' formulae propagated many years back were so vehemently opposed by the various regions that they just could not see the light of the day. Thereafter, lukewarm and half-hearted approaches to thrust Hindi down the throat of the people in government offices has also hardly borne any fruits. There after no efforts whatsoever have been made to evolve any national language or any formulae of sorts to bring the crores and crores of Indians together on the basis of a language. So we Indians have continued with a no language or only the State language formulae.

Learning of other languages viz Hindi or English by most Indians is on the basis of personal or rather selfish needs and certainly not aimed at the unification of the Nation. In my view the two language formula ie Hindi and the mother tongue seems to be the most viable and suitable, where the Southern region needs to make a sacrifice for the sake of an unified nation and a sincere effort by one and all must be made to achieve it in about a decade's time. Could the leader of UPA basically a foreigner ever set the ball rolling in that direction. If she can do it, would perhaps be a great achievement of her life time.

Another factor that has been a highly sensitive one and certainly the most undesirable one as well, is the constant attempt of our vote conscious political leaders to divide the Nation vertically firstly on the basis of religion and secondly on the basis of castes, especially the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes. The propagators of this theory have virtually brought the Nation on the verge of ruination as far as the unification concerned. The policy may be beneficial to the selected few but it certainly is detrimental to the overall health of the Nation. As a result of this even the highly merited and the above average category of people is languishing without proper outlets for letting their talents to flourish under this sickly and discriminatory policy.

The unjustified policy of reservations has only enabled insertion of square pegs in round holes, and rise of practically unqualified and undeserving people to such heights where they can cause more damage to the society than ameliorating their sufferings. As it is, it is very difficult to get even sufficient people of the reserved category to fill up the seats or vacancies reserved for them. So, it is high time we forgot dividing the people on the basis of their religions and castes and the backgrounds just to encourage a votes bank policy. Let all the countrymen be equal in all respects rather than some being less equal and some being more.

We have created yet another block of division in our urban development work and as per policy certain percentage of area in each colony has to be earmarked for slums and slum dwellers. It only goes to show that slums are an integral part of any area and must distinctly remain as such till perhaps eternity. Are we not able to develop a policy where the class of people who help in developing a colony or a township are eventually provided with equally hygienic housing, sanitation facilities, roads, parks, playgrounds, schooling etc in the same area or locality and are able to lead a better standard of life than what they are leading at present.

As we are said to be progressing more more and more the urban estates are becoming more and more dirty and unhygienic to live. The removal of muck and garbage from the unlimited number of slum areas and its proper utilisation or disposal rather than dumping it all over the connected locality, would be a much healthier sign for the fraternity and would certainly help in narrowing down of the division between the so called slum dwellers and the elite. In Mumbai, it is understood that a large number of elite personalities have to perforce dwell in the slums. If this is correct then we are unmindfully on the path of National integration.

The health of a Nation depends on the quality of its youth and its systematic upbringing. The human resources aspect has been ignored and neglected so awfully and has remained so discriminatory in this country that even the best of the educationists find it difficult to comment upon the efficability of the National education policy, and whether it really exists or not. The governments past and present seem to have done nothing whatsoever to provide sufficient number of properly functioning schools with efficient infrastructure and proficient teachers to be able to provide free educational facilities upto class tenth in accordance with the policy enunciated many years back.

In today’s sense free education means no education at all. Here comes the dividing line amongst our population. Now due to the lack of government schools every Tom, Dick and Harry have commercialised the aspect of school education, whether he is qualified or not for the same, and has fixed the fees on the basis of his profitability. Whenever the school gains in popularity the system of donations starts. Under such circumstances only the rich who can afford the donations, are able to manage admissions for their children and the rest have to rely on other privately opened sub-standard schools. It so happens that these are the children who would usually be eligible to get future admissions that come under the policy of reservations.

It is thus most essential for the Government to review its education policy again to ensure that every child in the country goes through an efficiently run school whether government or privately run, free till class tenth irrespective of caste or creed. The funds will have to be provided by the Government. It would be ideal to apply the language formula uniformly at the school level so that by the time the child reaches class tenth he/she is proficient in the approved national language.

Last but not the least is the demand of large number of groups all over the country to separate themselves on the basis of linguistic states. There may be justification for them in demanding such states due to lack of proper facilities, incompetent governance, misuse of resources and so many other factors. Acceptance of such a division is a further sign of creating distance between the people of the country and certainly not a healthy trend, it being highly detrimental to the cause of national unification.

It is like creating a division within a division. Upto what extent can such demands be justified and agreed upon to further compartmentalise the people of the adjacent regions. It is thus very essential for the country’s leadership to display a high sense of character and an intellectual strength of the national fibre, which can not only provide cohesiveness amongst our almost unmanageably large population but also develop a high character and also inculcate in them a sense of national integration and unification.

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