Friday, October 2, 2009

Growth of a Nation – Is there Sufficient Gross Underkeel Clearance?

Social Studies and Civics were subjects that were much too ignored during my schooldays not only by backbenchers but by the front benchers as well. The general belief - and to some extent the truth - was that these subjects are trump - cards for easy scoring in exams. This was demonstrated in full measure by some frontbenchers after it was mugged up over breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was also the only (sensible) topic among others in school education that could be reproduced with sincere eleventh hour efforts for the backbenchers (the basic aim at the backbench in any case is to obtain a pass mark, if feasible as all my mates there would agree). I wouldn't know if this philosophy has changed after over two and a half decades now (maybe one could substitute breakfast, lunch and dinner with morning and evening TV slots).

The thought process germinated after I had viewed a funny presentation that I had recently come across on one of the popular online video sites on the Great Info Highway. In this particular video, locals at an alien location in Uncle Sam's country were being asked basic questions related to their own nation. It didn't surprise me when obese native whites were struggling to guess the name of the American nation which begins with the letter 'U'. More shameless were the answers to other questions of similar nature which any schoolboy worth his salt would have correctly answered. The answers that I heard were so idiotic that it made me remember the Rector of my school who used to teach us social studies, civics and political science. I recollected his discussions on the basics of the Constitution of the US and I remembered that he used to summarize his classes with stories based on his own experiences and the general impression any White would convey through his interaction with others; I particularly remember that he always used to compare those aliens with the legendary toads in a well - each in a make-believe world closeted from the realities of the outside world. He used to remark that, for those aliens the word world used to mean only their nation with a 'U' at the beginning. The rest of the globe was alien to them - may be the reason why even their propaganda material available at their embassies label non-natives as aliens.

This above incident sparked a thought process in my mind (incredible for a frontbencher) which made me think: Are we any better? Of course, as Indians, we are far better off than them in such aspects of general information not only about our own great, dear nation, but on many other global issues as well. Also, despite many shortfalls in rural and urban India, we are emerging as a Global Power – so the media tells us. However, there appears to be a loss of focus in the efforts that we as a Nation are putting in to reach that level of perfection. Why is there a feeling of loss of focus? Are we on the right track that will truly empower us as citizens of this country? Whom have we benchmarked with? Who is our worthy competitor? Is our Nation as cohesive as it was when we gained Independence? Can we really run this race as a Nation and finally attain Victory? Is our Common Man really aware of the state of our Nation? Are the youth of today maintaining our status and image as a culturally rich nation with a distinguished heritage in these modern days too? Are they getting trained today to become worthy leaders of a Global Power of tomorrow? Are we getting traded off in a very stylish way? Would we be also reduced to such idiots as are the citizens of the Nation whose name begins with the letter ‘U’? The answers to these questions, as a matter of fact, are not as easy as one would think. It is not easily given nor is it easily available. To be true to ourselves, these questions have to be answered after careful analysis and introspection.

On my own, I then thought of delving a bit into these issues which I had created for myself. The thought process that flowed in my mind was typed in as and when I got time and later on organized in my own style. The flow is more or less streaming and keyed in as originally as it came. I thought of organizing the text in two parts, with distinct separators in time. Before we reach conclusions, we need to dissect the moral fabric of the present day Indian (includes me and you) threadbare for, he is the element that makes up the matter of interest about modern India that meets the eyes of world nations. For the moment, let us forget about the Great Game and save it to be discussed some time later.

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