Among the Sliver Lining, There Are Dark Clouds Hovering Over The Very Idea Of India And The Constitution Embodies
India has come a long way since it attained freedom on August 15th, 1947. As people of Indian heritage, spread across every corner of the world celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, it is also time to take stock. The India we see and are proud of is the result of decades of deliberate planning, benefitting hundreds of millions of rural and urban population in every part of India.
The India we see and are proud of is a result of decades of consciously focused planning towards an all-inclusive growth by several governments led by visionary leaders. Quoting Ambassador A. R. Ghanshyam, who wrote in a previous edition of theunn.com, pointing to the vibrancy of Indian democracy. He wrote: “Independent India has witnessed seventeen free and fair Parliamentary Elections with fifteen Prime Ministers at the helm – each contributing his/her mite to the growth, stability and development of the Indian Nation, its society and economy. How individual Prime Ministers of India tried to build a modern India from the debris of two centuries’ rule by the British Empire is in itself a great story and has been narrated by many authors, Indian and foreign.”
India was primarily an agrarian economy in 1947The contributions to Indian GDP by agriculture, industry and services sectors were 56%, 15% and 29% respectively. Agriculture employed the largest workforce of 72% with Manufacturing and Services providing 10% and 18% jobs respectively.
Today, the service sector accounts for 54% of Indian GDP. The Industry and agriculture follow with 25.92% and 20.19% respectively. Life expectancy on the eve of independence was 32 years. It has now gone up to 70 years.
In 1950, infant mortality rate in India was 145.6/1000 live births and maternal mortality ratio in the 1940s was 2000/100,000 live births which declined to 1000 in the 1950s. There were just 50,000 doctors across the entire country and the number of primary healthcare centers was 725. Today, infant mortality is 27.7 per 1000 births and maternal mortality rate is 103 per 100,000. India now has more than 1.2 million doctors. There are 54,618 Sub-Health Centers (SHC), 21,898 Primary Health Centers (PHC) and 4,155 Urban Primary Health Centers (UPHC), as on December 8, 2021. There are as many as 70,000 public and private hospitals. As of April 5, 2022 there were 117,771 Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centers (AB-HWCs) are operational in India apart from 748 e-Hospitals established across the country as part of the ‘Digital India’ initiative of the government.
And we salute and honor this India, where people belonging to different faiths, languages, and social strata live together, peacefully. The forces of division will fail, while diversity and the rich cultural heritage of India where people of all walks of life are respected and given due dignity.
While we are proud of India’s accomplishments and realizing that India is emerging as a world leader on its own merits, it is at the same time, an occasion to remember all those who laid down their lives during a long struggle to make India free from the yoke of colonial rule. It is a call for all of us to ponder as there are dark clouds that are hovering over the very idea of India that the freedom fighters stood for and the constitution embodies.
We continue to share in this edition, reflections from eminent Indian Americans on India and what they perceive India to be “Today – Tomorrow:”
Happy 75th Anniversary of India’s Glorious Independence Day!
Ajay Ghosh, Chief Editor, www.theunn.com
It’s A Mile Stone With Mixed Feelings
India @ 75! It’s a mile stone with mixed feelings, one with a sense of pride and joy for all the accomplishments and progress we have made, while preserving our integrity, unity, core values of freedoms, democracy and respect for different cultures and the groups that live and thrive in our beloved motherland.
Recently while in India on August 15th, I witnessed the spectacular and proud display of the tricolors. I also saw scrawny and swarthy street kids hawking flags at the traffic light stops to wealthy fatcats chauffeured in big SUVS. That was a jarring scene and would love to see that relegated to distant history.
So I also have this sense of impatience and expectations for the nation, aspiring for greater heights and successes in lifting the entire population out of the poverty and in providing all the basic necessities of health, education, opportunities equitably to realize our fullest human potential in all realms of and walks of life.
We now have the cultural resurgence and the national determination, to take our rightful place in the world and history and to contribute and to lead the global humanity to end sufferings and bring peace and prosperity to one and all. It is our destiny and destination. I have no doubt we are fully capable of accomplishing that goal. We shall continue to be vigilant and jubilant going forward. Happy 75 th Anniversary to Independent India!!
Ravi Kolli, President, AAPI
No Citizen Should Be Denied Of Healthcare
India in the last few decades made great progress on digital technology and energy industries. But Health sector development still seems to be at snail pace, post 75 years of independence! No citizen should be denied of healthcare due to lack of access or lack of facilities.
India spends only 1.3% of GDP on public health sector which is very low compared to most developed nations. Why small sight to health sector? Public healthcare is both inefficient and inequitable and it is still not reachable to the rural population who constitute 60-70 % of Indian population. Non communicable diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart disease, Anemia, Kidney diseases are at its worst and have become a healthcare burden. Spending out of pocket for poor man is burdensome.
American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has initiated preventive health screening camps in 75 villages to emphasize “ Prevention is better than Cure “ and the data obtained will give more outlook of Rural health in India. India should develop Preventive Task Force guidelines with mandatory annual healthcare screenings and divert healthcare model more towards prevention than disease cure model.
In contrast, India has become a hub for Medical tourism for out of country residents which is driving Indian Doctors to practice more in corporate setup in urban cities and doctors are reluctant to work in government healthcare facilities in rural PHCs. More innovative changes in healthcare are needed to address rural India using digital technology.
Looking forward for more accessible and affordable Healthcare to every rural citizen and better and safer provisions for young doctors to work at PHCs by 2047! Thank you and Jai Hind!
Immediate Past President, AAPI (2021-22)
Soon, India Is Going To Be A Super Power.
As a young physician in the early 1980s, I left India seeking greener pastures to earn a living and to find ways to grow professionally. I came to the United States with an ambition to succeed. As a beginner in the US, the land of opportunities, I was paid $20 a month in foreign exchange for pocket allowance. Today, $15,000 foreign exchange is being provided by Indian government to their citizens.
Thousands of my colleagues, who came to the US seeking professional achievements and a better living have similar stories to share. However, now, as we celebrate India’s 75th anniversary of obtaining freedom, India has grown tremendously in every field.
Physicians of my time, wanted to leave India and go overseas for name and fame and fortune. However, today I meet physicians in India who are highly successful and have careers that are noteworthy and successful. Healthcare in India is fast growing.
From being an importer of healthcare services, India has become a maker and supplier of healthcare services. India leads the world in providing cheap and affordable medicine to the world. India has become a hub for alternate medicine.
Kudos to the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and past Indian Prime Ministers, who have helped develop the country beyond, with their vision, and imagination for a better India for all. I am confident, soon, India is going to be a Super Power.
Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda, Past President of AAPI.
Stand United And Work In A Cohesive Manner As A Nation
India celebrated its 75th Independence Day on August 15th 2022, which marked its Independence from British rule and is indelible in history and in people’s collective memories.
We are blessed to have our independence and have the right to speak and be heard because of the sacrifices made by our past leaders who let nothing deter them from their goals of seeking and acquiring independence for our future generations.
Our tribute to our freedom fighters will be to always stand united and work in a cohesive manner as a nation. May this spirit of freedom lead our nation to all success and glory. Once again saluting our entire nation and Happy Independence Day.
Anjana Samadder, President-Elect, AAPI
Need For Fertile Soil In India For The Growth Of Its Seeds Within Its Boundaries
As India celebrates its 75th Independence Day, those of us who left India due to lack of opportunities to pursue our passions and professions, heartfully wish that the twenty-first century India focuses on making its soil fertile for the growth of its own seeds within its boundaries, so that they need not go to other countries to grow into trees.
That needs development of institutes and systems which can function autonomously and responsibly promoting the meritorious. Then only India becomes a major world power.
BK. Kishore, M.D., Ph.D., MBA
Academician, Innovator, & Entrepreneur
India’s Tricolor Flag Is Unique; Should Be Displayed In Every Home
I am very proud to be celebrating the 75th Independence Day of India, which achieved Freedom led by a peaceful non-violent method, led by Mahatma Gandhi. India’s 75th Independence celebration is followed by Indian citizens and others all over the world. It brings pride and joy to all of us.
At this time, I proudly would like to add that the First Flag that was hoisted at Delhi Red Fort and by the Madras Government, now Tamil Nadu, was woven by one of my husband’s relative Mr. R. Venkatachalam, owner of Hindustan Fabrication at my husband Jagadeesan Poola’s hometown of Gudiyattam in Vellore District, in Tamil Nadu. The company was also given huge order to weave flags at that time.
India’s Tricolor flag is so unique and should be displayed in every home in India and Indian Homes outside of India. This unites all of us without prejudice of religion and language. India is a Union of people belonging to many languages and Religions. This should be followed by the Government also in every state and Delhi. The Governments are elected to serve the people without discrimination.
India is self-reliant in many ways but needs to go much further. If the present Government of India is taking the honor of Economic stability – why is the value of Rupee is highest ever – Rs 79 to $1. The value of Indian Rupee keeps falling.
Happy 75th Independence Day To Everyone of INDIAN origin!
Kanchana Poola, Past President of Tamil Sangam, Philanthropist, and Community Leader
A Tribute to Indian Healthcare Professionals
As we proudly celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Indian Independence, we need to continue strengthening international collaborations and partnerships in the healthcare sector in this day and age of globalized medicine in order to eradicate pandemics such as COVID-19 and enhance outcomes in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as well.
One of the biggest, current global healthcare challenges is heart disease (# 1 global killer). Indians and Indian immigrants are especially vulnerable.
As a visiting university professor, I have worked closely for a number of years with Indian physician peers involved in medical university resuscitation education and training, community healthcare and cardiac arrest research projects. I genuinely admire and appreciate their contributions to the rapidly advancing global medicine.
Diseases have no geographical barriers, and neither should our efforts to eradicate or mitigate them. Internationally shared evidence-based knowledge and medical practices through global collaborations have a proven track record of enhancing healthcare outcomes.
While celebrating our Indian heritage and independence on this occasion, let us recognize and thank our Indian Physicians and other healthcare professionals for their ongoing, valuable global contributions. Their selfless efforts and personal sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic can’t be thanked enough.
Finally, let us look forward to more Indo-US governmental and non-governmental collaborations in the healthcare sector cementing our existing relationships!
Vemuri S Murthy, MD, A Global Champion of Resuscitation Medicine
A Self-Reliant India Is A Strong Successful India
India is celebrating it’s 75th birthday! To commemorate this proud and happy moment, the Government introduced Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. This highlights the glorious past, celebrates the present groundbreaking achievements and points towards the bright future. This comprises of 5 pillars a) Freedom struggle b) Ideas@75 c) Resolve@75 d) Actions@75 e) Achievements@75.
Har Ghar Tiranga: A bold vision, this ignites the spirit of patriotism and nationalism, and is part of the Government of India’s campaign to have the Indian tricolor in 20 crore houses! This may garner a spot in the Guinness World Records!!
A self-reliant India is a strong successful India. A 20-lakh crore economic package will help in Atma Nirbhar Bharat. Multiple programs are in place across the country, designed to empower citizens, especially women and give them technical expertise.
Basic Vocational tailoring, teaching Areca Leaf Plate making, professional cake training, women farmers recycling domestic waste, getting a computer into the hands of every student, aiming for a tobacco free India (with the proper education and tools), an innovative wrist band to help senior citizens, these are some of the programs helping folks in rural and urban areas.
Bhavani Srinivasan MD MPH, Chair Women’s Affairs AAPIQLI; Vice President NIAASC;
President GMC Alumni USA Inc.
Freedom Is, In Fact, The Autonomy To Express One’s Views In Public Without Fear
As India is celebrating its 75th Independence Day, the Diaspora worldwide is joining in the festivity with parades, proclamations, and plays. Undoubtedly, there is so much to celebrate for getting freed from the yoke of colonialism and the clutches of the British. They all who had fought for our freedom deserve our eternal gratitude for their grit and ceaseless efforts that brought us victory.
However, becoming independent necessarily doesn’t mean that one is free. Freedom is, in fact, the autonomy of expressing views in public places against the government and having the right to go everywhere with anyone, wear anything of their own choice, and believe or not to believe in any religion while affording protection from the state for life and property. Are these true in Today’s India?
As India celebrates its 75th Independence Day, there is little doubt that individual liberties guaranteed under the constitution are steadily vanishing while the judiciary that is supposed to protect personal freedom and the rule of law is finding common ground with the Executive branch that is increasingly set on a path towards majoritarian authoritarianism. It has been said that “democracy dies in darkness,” and the provisions in India’s constitution, like the one in the U.S., are like “parchment barriers – fragile bulwarks intended to preserve liberty. To be effective, these barriers need to be respected by the government and ordinary citizens alike both in law and custom.” Wishing the nation a happy 75th Independence Day.
George Abraham, vice-chairman, Indian Overseas Congress, USA