Knowingly that India had a great and glorious past going back to the Vedic Civilization that thrived and flourished for millions of years on the wisdom of its seers and sages (commonly referred as the wisdom of the Orient) that focused on the ‘power of the truth’, as in Satyamaiv Jayate and on the strength of its conviction of the world as one family, Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam. To such a glorious India of the past, harmony with nature and peaceful coexistence were nonnegotiable. The respect for diversity and the firm faith in the ‘Oneness of Diversity’and the respect for ‘Diversity of Oneness’, as in the opening verse of Isavasya Upanishad of the Rig Veda ‘Om Purnamida, Purnamidam Purnat Purna Mudachayate’werein the true sense the cardinal principles for celebrating life and its eternal journey from the timeless infinity to eternity infinite.
Righteous means for cultivating goodness, the Satvik, and engagement in work activity with a mind conscious of serving the Self and the Society with selfless motives and unconditional commitment and dedication to the work activity, as in Yoga Karmeshu Koshalamwere the hallmark of achieving excellence in all human endeavors. No wonder that the glorious past of India continues to be a great inspiration to create a bright, prosperous and a blissful future not only for we, the people of India but also for the global community the world over.
But delving 24×7 in the glory of the past, as is seen now a days, makes the Indian Mind least concerned about the ground realities that directly impact the wellbeing and quality of life of our people. It is not enough for us to say that ancient India had firm faith in Satyamaiv Jayate, we need to ensure that truth and truthfulness is practiced in our daily life as the cardinal principle of righteous conduct. Likewise, devotion to work activity and serving the creator, the God Almighty cannot be given a go byif we are serious about creating India of our dream and redesign the world in which we wish to live today.
If we continue with full time preoccupation with reciting the glory of the past, it would leave the Indian mind little time to tackle the challenges at hand with sincerity and commitment expected from a cultured society in this age of knowledge and innovation which requires constant engagement in deep learning and continuous innovations and achieve great goals of inclusive and sustainable development and build a peaceful and harmonious society that shall allow us to celebrate life and make profound contributions to create and sustain this beautiful world.
The ground realities are that we have little or no traffic sense nor are able to enforce traffic discipline on our beautiful roads and highways that is resulting into making India as number one country in world in deaths due to road accidents (on an average every 4 minute 1 Indian is dying in road accidents). Why not we tackle this monstrous problem with all our might of innovativeness and technology integration that other advanced nations have been able to implement and achieve. Investment in training the drivers and doubly assuring their competence to drive safely and strict compliance to the traffic laws is required. But we are perhaps more busy in selling the cars and motor bikes through lucrative bank loans and making obtaining a driving licensefar more easy than anywhere else in the world. How long we can afford to do this?
We also need actions on war footings to tackle the monster of Air and Water pollution in our country now that we have better understood the impact of Air and Water pollution on environmental and human health. India of our dream should include the agenda of achieving air quality below 20 microgram per cubic meters and zero wastewater discharge into rivers and water bodies in India. These are achievable goals and should not be kept aside while we engage in planning for economic growth. Rapid actions to bring green mobility on roads of India, strict monitoring and compliance of Air and Water pollution standards by the industries and heavy investment on civic services, including treatment of sewage water are most urgently needed.
The ground reality also is that India is facing a serious threat to the health of its people due to air and water pollution and also due to poor quality of food. Injecting hormones in fruits and vegetables and excessive use of pesticides continues spoiling the quality of fruits and vegetables, that were otherwise considered to be the most healthy diet for we humans who are born to live a healthy life full of Satvik, on plants and vegetable based stable diet that our forefathers utilized to create and sustain a healthy and happy India of the past.
If the crowd in our hospitals is any indicator, the health of the nation is highly questionable. Can we continue with such a madness of spoiling the quality of fruits and vegetables and pray for a healthy life for our people? We need to invest heavily on mass awakening of our farmers, business community and the people at large and also to charter strict monitoring and testing facilities for compliance of food and safety standards for our people. Without investments on world class test houses for implementing food quality standards in India, only prayers for peace and happiness would not work?
We need also to turn our people away from the misguide and misinformation of the social media now that the power of social media has become one of the most powerful instruments of impacting people’s behaviorand their mindset. While regulation of social media would be a part of the solution, mass public awakening to safeguard from the misguide and misinformation of social media would be absolutely necessary. In the name of freedom of speech and information we can not afford to create an environment of misguide and misinformation. We are a democracy, and a well-functioning democracy requires a well-informed society and responsible citizenship. A misinformed society leads to disastrous consequences and poses a serious threat to the democratic setup. Lastly, we need to pay a much greater attention to the well being of our people and the actions and activities that create a happy and healthy society. The current economic development models that create great economic growth but with great economic inequality lead to a weak and unhappy society. The recent policies of the Govt. of India aiming to achieve the great goals of inclusive development and a Swachh Bharat 2.0 that promises a neat and clean India alongside with zero wastewater discharge into the rivers and water bodies of India provide a great hope for a brighter and green future for India and its people. Strategies for New India@80 and actions on war footings are needed as we charter a new dawn of growth and development for the New India of our dream, says eminent educationist Prof Sharma, who has been the founder Vice Chancellor of DTU and RGPV and the past President of AIU.