Celebrating India’s 72nd Independence Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on where India is today. There are many achievements the 1.2 Billion people of India are so proud of. Seventy two years ago, when India achieved freedom from the colonial British Rule, India’s thousands of years of growth was at a stand still. Freedom with it also brought division of the nation in the name of Religion, mistrust, war, crimes, poverty, and fear.
Today, India is the world’s largest democracy, one of its most diverse societies, and the economy with growth potential that could rival China’s. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes the $2.6 trillion economy of India is an elephant that is starting to run. Its latest report on India not only reaffirms that the country is “again one of the world’s fastest-growing economies” – accounting for about 15 percent of global growth – but also that India it could be what China previously was for the world economy.
“Real GDP growth is estimated to have bottomed out after the dual shocks of demonetization and disruptions from GST implementation. Growth was 6.7 per cent in 2017/18 and is projected to increase to 7.3 per cent in 2018/19,” said the IMF in its 2018 assessment of the Indian economy.
Seven decades after independence, the miracle of Indian democracy continues to shine like a beacon of hope for those who cherish freedom with its foundations in basic human values. The democratic consciousness of independent India is a reflection of the legacy of our struggle for independence from colonial rule.
Some three decades ago an eminent sociologist called Indian democracy “a secular miracle of the modern world and a model for other developing countries.” On the global stage, India has gained a lot of significance. Decisions are carried out taking India into consideration. Indian companies are going global and competing with other MNCs on equal grounds. Indians shine around the world, making their mark all across and in almost every field.
India is a plural society of immense diversity with different social, religious, cultural and linguistic expressions. It has almost as many ethnic groups as the entire African continent. The Indian Constitution recognizes 22 languages and India is home to over a hundred dialects. The value of currency units is written in 17 different scripts. Adherents of all major religions of the world are present in our citizen body. Religious minorities constitute 19.4 percent of our people.
However, as political and social scientists say, India, in the midst of rapid growth and advancements in almost every field, continues to remain one of the poorest and unequal, with hundreds of millions mired in deep poverty and limited by a rigid caste system that constrains social mobility. The Narendra Modi-led government’s turn to Hindu nationalism has sharpened sectarian tensions and raised questions over the rule of law, dividing the nation on the basis of religion.
We have been facing communalism and regionalism, destroying the social fabric of our tolerant Indian society. Corruption is always a perennial problem with us. Illiteracy and health issues, though being attended to, are still matters which need be dealt more efficiently.
India needs to be a more just and inclusive society, where people of all faiths, caste, and sections of society enjoy and experience equal opportunity to flourish, to grow, and achieve their individual dreams. A strict and just government with fair politics is needed. The political parties are not elected for their adherence to certain castes or creeds, but because they respect and serve the entire population and work towards the greater good of the nation as a whole. This can be possible only if more and more responsible people come out together, working towards strengthening the democracy and the pluralistic nature of the Indian society. More youngsters and people with broader vision for the nation need to join politics and commit to serve the nation. Then only can we proudly say that “Yes! India has developed.”