Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | March 8, 2010

Emerging India: few thoughts

Thank you Suvro da for raising this issue.

India’s role in the new world order would be scripted by all of us.

A few months back when I was travelling to Singapore, I was standing in a queue to enter the famous Night Safari. There was an Indian family (comprising of a near 60 man, a near 55 year old woman and a 25 year old girl) in the queue amongst many other Indians. To my amazement after a point of time while the queue was moving the Indian family was the only to break the queue and move ahead. The queue managers did not notice it and I did not say anything because the Indian man would have fought with me and created an embarrassing situation.

Now do you think the world expects nationals from a “prosperous emerging nation” to behave in such a manner? And we all know that man and his family are not an one-off case. Numerous Indians will behave in the same manner.

If you ask me, what is our failure and what is our problem, sadly my answers would perhaps border on abstracts. As soon as I ventured out of my country and stepped into the so-called developed world, the first attribute that struck me was discipline. I sincerely believe that unless an entire population (from all strata of society and profession) are disciplined, we cannot reap the benefits of economic prosperity. I believe (and strongly believe) that we have funds to allow trickle down of benefits resulting from a high GDP, but bottlenecks prevent us from reaching most of the people. I do believe because we are not disciplined that is why anti-socials kill people by manipulating the system. Not being able to instill discipline in our daily lives is perhaps our biggest failure thus far. Just because we don’t lead a disciplined life, we have corruption, abuse of power, inadequate distribution of wealth and intolerance. These I think are India’s biggest problems.

You can have theories to contain a fiscal deficit but do we have appropriate (and honest) monitoring systems to see whether the Government plans are put into action? That is what worries me. We can have the best policies of poverty alleviation and employment generation, the best workforce in the world but are we good enough to deserve the status of an “emerging economy”.

To me development means not just more money in every Indians pockets but a overall development into a more tolerant and disciplined society. We as a nation cannot take democracy for granted and treat it as an license to become rouge but respect what we have and enhance it.

For our country, it is not an easy job since citizens of most developed countries have the liberty to take certain things such as quality of service, judicial system, bureaucracy etc for granted. We don’t have that liberty so we need to work harder. We don’t have that because still we are not sure where to throw our litter within our cities.

Please forgive my inability to suggest concrete steps as to how we can be more disciplined but I do feel the first step starts from our home and then the school. School education forms the basis of social development and unless we can ensure primary education for everyone and by primary education I mean, proper primary education we cannot hope to bridge the inequality.

We must also define “development” beyond the definition of shopping malls and nightclubs. Development means every individual realising their need to contribute to the society. While we wear our patriotism when cricket matches are played, we must realise that there are other areas where attention needs to be provided. Perhaps we can sometimes concentrate on them rather than spending time inside stadiums on work days. I have failed to realise when Government comes up with so many tax incentives why don’t they encourage people to spend on causes such as environment, tiger conservation etc. We and our children must know importance of these issues and know how to act on them. Environment consciousness should not be restricted to a day event in one particular school. It should be a way of life.

Lastly, we the urban educated youth must remember, escaping from our nation may not be the ultimate solution for us. This is simply because we cannot hide from where we come from. Therefore, we have to do something for our country of birth. Trust me, not many from outside our country respect us and we need to earn that respect.

India is a beautiful country and we all take advantage of being an Indian. It is time when we should realise what we need to do. We should realise it on our own and not because Shah Rukh Khan is telling us. We have a huge, young work force and all of us form part of that. Thus, it is time we encash on ourselves.

So, what can we do now? I can say what am I doing now.

I have pledged not to litter our streets to start with. I used to do that before, I admit. Now I try and look for the few dustbins that are placed.

I am much more diligent about the work I do. I believe my standards represents my nation’s standards. That is why it is important that I learn how to mentor younger people rather than bully them in work places.

I try and do a little help to the causes of environment, tiger conservation or poverty eradication by donating some money from my monthly budget of cigarettes, chocolates or eating out.

I try and encourage others by writing and talking about such things.

I try and be rational in judging the political developments around me (in India) before taking emotionally driven decisions. I do not want to elect people who openly declare their self-interests while aiming for a coveted post.

At the moment, I am trying to do some of the above. I am sure there are zillions of other things that can be done. I will try and do some more too.



  1. Thanks for musing, Tanmoy. I am linking this blogpost to mine.

  2. Judging by the paucity of responses to both your blogpost and mine, Tanmoy, it seems our ‘young, educated elite’ either cannot or does not want to participate in any reasoned and informed debate on a subject like this. You will remember me lamenting that this is itself one of those things that augur ill for our country… as the greatest democrats have said, where decision-making on the basis of civilised debate has vanished, everything is bound to be decided exclusively by big money- and organised muscle power. No point lamenting over that afterwards!

  3. Yes, Suvro da, I agree. In fact, my expectations of something new coming up was nil. Nobody would say – I want to do this! For some strange reason few people among the younger lot can even ask an intelligent question on this subject. At times though in shows such as We the People, you get to see some bright youngsters asking pertinent questions.

    I get a bit cynical too. Problem is a lot of rotten apples spoil lot of good apples too. Therefore, when a mass undoing destroys a social fabric, many harmless people get affected too.

  4. Do not get frustrated because things are not changing or people are not responding to your blogs…try to think with the idea of reaching the truth…and logical…and considering one as ‘apolitical’ does not confirm either…in fact so caalled ‘non-political’ ideas ultimately help the worst of all the ‘political ides’…if intersted read my blog
    – best wishes

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