Continuing with our series on sharing the diverse perspectives of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the current issue of www.theunn.com, we are happy to present in this issue, the views/thoughts on India at 75 by Doctors, academicians, artists, business leaders, media personnel and executives.
We are excited and admire India, which has come a long way since it gained freedom from the British. The development and growth India has achieved in the past 75 years has been enormous, making us all proud. It was heartening to be witness several influential US lawmakers joining in India Day celebrations organized by AAPI on Capitol Hill in Washing DC last week. Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, recalled his visits to India, and said, he saw in action “the greatness of the largest democracy in the world in full action.”
US Congressman Pat Fallon (TX-04), while speaking to the AAPI delegates during the 75th anniversary celebrations at the Indian Embassy in the nation’s capitol, compared India and the United States, as both have gained independence from Britain. Both are today the greatest democracies of the world, he said and added that India at 75th anniversary of Independence Day is doing better and greater than how the US did at its 75th anniversary of its Independence.
True! However, in spite of the great achievements and progress by India, there are several indicators that make us all pause and think, if this is the India we want to have in the 21st century and beyond.
India, the world’s largest democracy ranks 46th in the Global Democracy Index 2021 due to a series of intolerant and repressive policies stifling free speech and true freedom to its 1.4 billion citizens. On the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2021, that assesses the gap between high-income, talent-rich nations and the rest of the world, which is widening, India ranks 88th among the nations of the world.
The Human Development Index 2020 by the UNDP based on the three basic dimensions of human development- a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living, India ranks an abysmal 131st place, far below many Third World nations. The Global Hunger Index 2021 that is based on four indicators; Undernourishment, Child Wasting, Child Stunting, and Child Mortality, India has been placed 101st among the nations of the world.
American think tank Cato Institute and Fraser Institute in Canada placed India at 119th place, while measuring the performance of 165 countries, covering 79 indicators of Human Frwhichm Index 2021.
World Happiness Report 2021 by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network by the United Nations, which measures the performance of 149 countries while surveying how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, placed India at the very bottom with a ranking of 136th.
Not long ago, media reports pointed to business conglomerate Adani Group’s chairman Gautam Adani has become the world’s second-richest person after overtaking Louis Vuitton’s Bernard Arnault, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List. Adani’s net worth was USD 153.9 billion, compared to Arnault’s net worth of USD 153.7 billion.
According to UNDP, while there is much to be done, there are promising signs that such poverty can be – and is being – tackled. In India, the 271 million people moved out of poverty between 2005/06 and 2015/16, most of which occurred during Manmohan Singh’s regime. The poverty rate nearly halved, falling from around 55 percent to around 28 percent over the 10-year period.
While the rich like the Adanis grow richer every day, nearly 200 million people in India are living below the poverty line of $1.90 per person per day. The World Bank reports, poverty in India stood at 10.2 percent in 2019.
These measures and the rankings of where India stands today globally should lead us all to reflect on the reasons for its current lopsided growth. This calls for action on identifying implementing ways to make India great in its quest to be a world leader in the real sense.
While we are proud of India’s glorious past and its rich contributions to the world for centuries, we need to work hard to make the future of India even more glorious by making India a nation that cares for all of its 1.4 billion people, a model democracy that is inclusive, tolerant, and equitable where everyone can experience the fundamental values of true freedom, equality, and justice.
Chief Editor, www.theunn.com
Political Equality Requires Social Inclusion And Mobility
As a constitutional scholar, I see India’s greatest achievement as establishing a constitutional democracy that has been maintained for more than seventy years. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar believed that a secular constitutional democratic republic would be essential to India’s future – both on a domestic level and as a rising global partner. He ensured that both social and economic rights, along with civil and political rights were incorporated into the document.
After all, political equality requires social inclusion and mobility. It is important nevertheless to continue to reflect on the implementation of those principles to make sure gaps in social and economic inequality and political divisions do not undermine the important constitutional principles that have remarkably persevered for seven decades already, and continue to serve as the framework for the world’s largest democracy.
Dr. Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox
Associate Professor of Legal Studies, Chair of Justice and Law At Quinnipiac University
Democratic party candidate for CT Assembly
India Has Great Potential For Growth And Democracy
Congratulations to India on its 75th Independence Day! India, in the last 75 years is going from a developing country towards a developed country in a rapid fashion. India has great potential for growth and to be the greatest democratic country in the world.
The Indian diaspora extends to all over the world, and its members are involved in helping many nations in practically every field but especially that of technology and medicine.
This can be strongly attributed to the young population and the many great steps taken by the government over the last 25 to 30 years to open up the country to development opportunities.
In the United States, every sixth patient is being seen by a doctor of Indian origin, and a significant number of medical students are of Indian origin in medical schools as well.
In the business world, CEOs of Indian origin are heading a number of multinational companies.
We even have congressmen and women of Indian origin (jokingly referred to as the “Samosa Caucus”) and many legislatures at the state level. Given that the Vice President of the United States has Indian roots and there is great interest from second generation Indian-Americans to be part of the political system, I am sure we will see a President of the United States that is of Indian origin in the near future.
Thanks to the hard-working nature, emphasis on family and educational values, and a strong determination to succeed that has come to characterize many members of the Indian Diaspora, this group has increasingly been at the forefront as leaders of change and growth and has helped shape both their homeland and adopted land in their own way.
Sreeni R. Gangasani M.D.,FACC.
Member, Georgia Composite Medical Board, Founding Partner, Cardiovascular Group,
Chair, CME Committee AAPI 2022-23; Past Board of Trustee and Vice chair, AAPI
Chair, AAPI Convention 2019 & 2021
A Musical India
On this 75thAnniversary of Indian Independence it is a good time to reflect at how far the growth and influence of Indian Music has come in that time. From music of Bollywood movies that were once low budget compared to western productions. To today where they are an influential powerhouse of production and music trends across the Globe. Bollywood, Bhangra , Desi Pop and Indian Music artist are crossing so many bridges into pop, hip hop, R&B, fusion and other genres. The artistic influence of India post Independence has slowly been unleashed around the world.
It has been a great journey to watch the explosion of the Indian culture through the music. How it also keeps the culture strong in the NRI community. How it keeps growing and expanding and pushing new boundaries in the young generations coming into their own. Blending their own integration into the Countries they live in today with strong cultural influences given to them by their families, communities and , many who still have the influence of music coming out of India. And also mainly the UK.
Which was probably compared to India itself a hub for the spreading the popularity and modernization of Bhangra into a mainstream accepted music. The future is definitely looking bright for the NRI community in the Music and Arts scene. New Artists are coming out and bursting onto the scene everyday. Over the years I have performed with many musicians, and brought many Artist to perform at events across the USA. From Sukhbir, Mika Singh, Bappi Lahiri, to newer generations like Jay Sean, Tesher, and Raghav.
Indian movies and music continue to grow and spread globally through the 17.5 million NRIs , which are the largest Overseas Diaspora around the World. They spread the musical influences and the culture around the World as it continues to blossom and grow with new generations. Constantly pushing the boundaries of it’s sound and where it will go in the future. I know I personally look forward to it’s continued growth and expansion of it’s influence. I can see a day where it will become as common as English/Western, Latin/Spanish music is today internationally. We should all be very proud and supportive of the Music , Traditional , Classic and Modern. And Supportive of our Indian and South Asian Artists that continue spreading and bringing the Indian culture and influence through the Music. The Journey has only begun!
Mihir Marfatia aka.. DJ MAGiC MiKE
First Professional Full Time Indian DJ and Remix Producer in the USA and Global Pioneer. Helped launch the Indian Wedding Industry and Event Party Industry in the West. www.magicmikedjs.com
India’s Middle Class Should Not Be Left Behind
Some of India’s greatest achievements are the monumental scientific and technological advancements it’s made. In my own lifetime, electricity and the internet have been made available throughout the country. India is a global leader in medicine on many fronts. It is called the pharmacy of the world, and much of the world’s medicine is made in India. During the global pandemic, India supported the world by manufacturing covid vaccines. India has also come leaps and bounds with its outer space program. The list could go on and on.
In this time of repair and recovery, I would like to see middle-class families and small businesses receive the support from the government that they deserve. During my visit to India, I came across many middle-class people who are suffering, especially due to the pandemic. During the pandemic, underprivileged people received aid from many government and private organizations. The rich had enough money to survive, but the middle class suffered the most. I met families that didn’t have dinner on their tables for days. They were too embarrassed to stand in line for food.
President, ASB Communications, A Multicultural Marketing Company
An Honest And Transparent System Needed In India
India @ 75!
The greatest achievement for India lies in creating and maintaining the world’s largest democracy. We still have not achieved the “Swaraj” as envisaged by our freedom fighters.
India needs to curb corruption at all levels starting from the top.
The corrupt nexus encompassing politics – bureaucracy- judiciary – media – corporates need to be replaced by an honest and transparent systems to realize full potential and to be a world leader by India @ 100!
Shivender Sofat, CPA CFE FCA
President, GOPIO-Manhattan; COO/Partner, Goldfine & Co CPA PC
A Vibrant, Young, Confident, And Optimistic India
Congratulations to India on its tremendous social and economic progress over the last 75 years. Top of mind for me are technology, telecommunications, space exploration and education. Today when I visit India, I see a vibrant, young, confident, and optimistic workforce and I am particularly impressed with the growing number of women in the workplace and their passion and drive. With its entrepreneurial spirit, India minted its 100th unicorn this year and Indian talent has contributed to enterprises across the globe.
For continued future success, I believe India will need to be focused on ecosystems that will ensure clean water, renewable energy and most importantly education for every child.
I see improvements and optimism every time I visit India. As an Indian American, I am proud of the achievements of my country of birth and I share the optimism on India’s future growth trajectory.
A board member at Vahanna Tech Edge Acquisition Corp and Bynry, Advisor Board Member at Shanti Bhavan, and previously served as CIO at Vanguard.
The Changes India Needs To Make
India @ 75!
I will let go about all the good things and the progress India has made since 1947.
I would like to touch on the topic of what changes India needs to make.
Senior politicians need to loosen their grip on the political power in the both houses of the Legislature. A younger generation needs to be given the opportunities.
Politicians need to have interest of common good of the society and not just count on the votes of the poor and uneducated people of the country.
Admission Quotas of minorities need to be abolished. This is resulting in a brain drain of young generation to other countries. Because the majority of them cannot go to advanced education schools so they choose to leave India.
I will be very glad and appreciative of our Indian leaders, if they could work on these above suggestions.
Dr. Vimal Goyle
Vice President, GOPIO Manhattan Chapter