There is no dispute on the “idea of India”, of course. The county is the personification of the idea of a free and liberal democracy, where free enterprise is incorporated in the very idea. “We could have easily gone the wrong way after Independence,” Tarun Tejpal, editor-in-chief, Tehelka, observed while holing forth on INDIA TOMORROW.
More than the historic legacies or monuments, it is the Constitution that is the “greatest cultural artefact” of India. Cohering with the thought that the Indian society is an “argumentative society”, Tejpal said that the disparity in opinions and the mindset for debates contribute to the society’s collective character and ethos.
In our day, there are certain issues Indians need to be wary of, so the wheels of colonial history and oppression do not turn back. These are the things that can undo the fabric of India:
Political disaster (refer to the national emergency of 1975)
Bad governments (“I do not think we have got the governments we deserve…”)
Bigotry/fundamentalism (can lead to persecution paranoia; also, be aware that Naxalism is gaining foothold across 18 states in the country)
There is great wealth and great deprivation here in India, creating inequity and capable of breeding extremism/fundamentalism. There is no way but to narrow the gap.
An avant-gardist thinker, Tejpal said, “We imagine great progress when we see the fancy things that abound in the environment around us. Real progress, though, comes only through science and technology underlined by humanism.”
It is essential that we make a case for political reform (especially cleaning out of illicit political funding) as well as comprehensive penetration of primary education. A responsible media and an alert citizenry can be the conscience and anchor for such societal change. These two aspects also go a long way towards determining good governance.
“The idea of the social contract requires each of us to give to society a certain part of what we get from it.”
And, so far as the battle royale between China and India for markets is concerned, Tejpal has no doubt that the winner is going to be the latter. For no other reason but that India enshrines the concept of liberty in our society. India has bred its share of “ideas” people – people who could really ideate because they have come from a free society.