Monday, April 28, 2008

Ethnicity, Politics or Progress?

Thankfully the discussion on this Blogathon is around a pet topic, one that will not unduly tax the limited resources at my disposal.
Ever since we gained some social consciousness, through newspapers & DD Samachar, thanks to the GK & Current Affairs awareness drives in school, it was amply clear that politics in India was inextricably intertwined with the despicable religion-caste-ethnicity mix! So one didn't react too much to the situation as we didn't know any better!
Until PV Narsimha Rao became India's Prime Minister! & appointed Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister! For the first time since my socio-political awakening, I was witnessing a period where the Government focused solely on development issues. Every move of theirs, every newspaper article was chronicling globalization, open-markets, economy, growth, development etc. The leading opposition party (as is their wont) tried to drag PVN Rao into political debate, into religion & caste issues, but Rao didn't bite the bait. He had his agenda right. He would give his country something new to talk about! That was the first time that everyone in the country was talking about Development! That was the first time that the Finance Minister was a bigger hero than the Home Minister & the Defence Minister combined! That was the first time that we heard of the Montek Singh Ahluwalias of the world. Suddenly uma bharti, ashok singhal & the shahi imam(?) ceased to exist in socio-political conversations! WOW!!!
This is something that Dr. Singh has tried to replicate in his tenure as PM. Unfortunately this is something that he or his party cannot do alone. If the opposition is truly nationalist, then they must join hands in this movement & commit to keeping the discussions around areas that pertain to development. Maybe someone needs to put a code in place, the way an EC code exists?
I was recently talking to one of my ex-bosses about the state of India's affairs, and he said the very same thing! He pointed out that there was only one thing that made us shift focus from politics to development. And that was Economics! And now that the Commerce juggernaut has started to roll, it will only gather more momentum! Once people in the villages realise that it is development that will feed them, clothe them & educate their young, they too will cut ties with parties focused on petty religious-caste-ethnicity centred politics! And that day, a new India will rise!
In my humble opinion, India needs a unifying force. And that unifying force will be Economics! When the money starts to roll in people forget about caste differences. I am certain that India's BPO industry is replete with examples where the reporting structure has shattered caste or gender norms! And not one subordinate whether upper caste or male, has the guts to say anything! His newly acquired lifestyle is at stake!
So let Economics rule! Let Commerce rule! And watch a unified India take shape!

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