By: M.R. Lalu
Lo and behold! A few months from now, we will see India becoming the world’s most populous country. More than 1.4 billion people would walk on our landscape like ants. The ‘Most Populous Country’ tag is a responsibility as well as a liability. Having celebrated its 75 years of independence, this has become the most crucial era for India, the era of Amrit Kaal. With 25 years to complete a century of its independence, it needs to capture the gist of the essential Indian potentiality rising above the crude regimentation of religion, region and linguistic disparities. In its race to move beyond the imaginations of tomorrow, India’s focus should be on assuming the status of a global guru with the combination of its scientific, civilisational and economic might- something that would survive for centuries. Irrespective of blurry lights of social conflicts desensitising its vision and dreams, India should focus on incessant progress, which the country should know will not be possible without all the stakeholders on board.
India’s largest youth population is the youngest in the world. But India’s civilisational background gives it the status of the mother of all traditions that survive on the face of the earth. This demographic advantage is a blessing as well as a challenge that India needs to confront. It is a blessing because its youth population holds the key to transform its potentialities to dream-fulfilling results. It also poses a herculean challenge to the country in mobilising its resources for satisfying the demands of its population. With more than half of its total population under age 35, India’s resource mobilization and utilization with social welfare knocking all the doors irrespective of differences ranging from socio-cultural to socio-political to socio-spiritual, gives it a mammoth challenge. The challenge, at least in the perspective of India gets deeper when its pluralistic and diverse social framework goes into intense paroxysm, when all its common aspirations for welfare get hijacked by illusory mindset and planted narratives. On the other hand, we should not be unmindful of noticing the warnings of discontent looming large between religions and politics illicitly drawn closer to religious consolidations as they ideologically legitimize their estrangement from the cultural foundations of the country. India’s vulnerability is that it is a miniature globe with its multiplicity of faiths and its susceptibility to aggressive inequalities and unfriendly dichotomy which is formidably high. Its well embroidered democratic framework for a free society had probably failed to dismantle the disparities.
With its G20 presidency becoming a reality, India’s focus is also to amalgamate the warring religious ideologies across the globe through one golden civilisational catchphrase- One Earth, One Family, One Future. On 14th February India witnessed the early ripples of its G20 leadership getting acceptance and admiration. At the virtual launch of the Air India- Airbus deal, French President Immanuel Macron applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership saying, “India, under your leadership clearly can be the one to mobilise the whole world and help us to address the tremendous issues we have in front of us.” As the global humanity faces severe climate crisis with uninterrupted religious radicalization causing unrest all over the world and an infuriating war abysmally crushing the dreams and resources of millions of people; call for India’s leadership will not only be for its political interventions but the globe as a whole is in need of India’s emergence as a civilisational magnet; inclined to show the way for amity.
India’s population in 1921 in its present landscape was 251 million while it climbed to 340 million in 1947. Numbers say that the population of India doubled between 1947 and 1981 census and the year 2001 brought the country to an astonishing one billion mark. Surpassing China in population does not push India to an adequately well placed situation. Emerging as the fastest growing economy, India needs to prove its efficiency in self-sufficiency. Glimpses of its competence could be seen when a ravaging pandemic brought nit-picking moments to humanity. The global community was conspicuously shattered by Covid 19 while human sustenance began to languish and dead bodies piled up with gut-wrenching silence seizing life everywhere. But India’s vaccine drive could spearhead positivity and revive hope. A strong political leadership with a global vision for wellbeing could spear-eagle great global impact within a short span of time. Prime Minister Modi’s leadership is known for its candid upbringing of values by raising the ancient Indian philosophy giving it a global grandeur.
Though its Amrit Kaal is known to bring resonance of India’s progress with greater vigour and might, its susceptibility to reel under the hostile influence of sectarian violence cannot be disregarded. Motivated narratives are planted to pluck the entrails of India’s civility for exposing it as a volcano of intolerance. Narratives to frame the government under Prime Minister Modi as discriminatory on the country’s minority will surface again and again before India sinks into its next national elections. The Indian constitution guarantees civil liberties including freedom to propagate religion and freedom of expression. Stray incidents in India would ignite deliberate outrage against it on global platforms. Fresh narratives would spring with vituperative vocabulary. The latest in the line of humiliation of India was the BBC documentary on Modi. A multiparty democracy such as India would definitely have political polarisation and that makes it more vulnerable than any other nation.
Freedom of expression is an impulsive catchphrase normally used to undervalue the Modi government at the centre or project it as demonic. India’s majoritarian image has been framed for belittling its democratic essence since 2014 and recrimination levelling against it as a persecutor of the minorities has been planted with well defined intention. To say Modi has been an apostle of partiality does not stick since his initiatives are for the benefit of all. But it is true that the accusations are valid for all those who stand against him in India and internationally, for that was due to their spectacular downfall and hostile mentality. But the government and the country as a whole should be aware of the looming threat from agencies inside and outside capable of spreading wild narratives. Modi’s unflappable conduct in public life is seen conquering the evil-minded accusations and it looks like the Prime Minister is all set to dispel the defaming narratives as India has all right to emerge as a global influencer. The Amrit Kaal, as he says, would turn out to be the defining period of India and for the international community it is to find reasons to get attracted to what India can globally present. We need to take our values of democracy with our deafening demography. (The author is a freelance journalist & has penned down the book “India @ 75- A Contemporary Approach”. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)