In India’s National Interest: About Identity, Sense of Purpose and National Pride!

India even today is a land of antiquity and a billion dreams not mutinies, not snake charmers but charmers of a different kind to woo the voters with freebies, where poorest of the poor do coexist with the stinking rich. An India where black money and black market thrives, where corrupt often display ill-gotten wealth,unabashedly, particularly in marriages and other social functions. A functioning anarchy where mis-governance is the name of the game particularly in the states and where India’s rich diversity of caste, creed, religion and beliefs is more often than not played up by unscrupulous politicians to achieve their own self-fulfilling goals.

Anoop Swarup

Anoop Swarup
Anoop Swarup

Incredible India as the sponsored banners run across the globe, yes incredible it is as India even today is a land of antiquity and a billion dreams not mutinies, not snake charmers but charmers of a different kind to woo the voters with freebies, where poorest of the poor do coexist with the stinking rich. An India where black money and black market thrives, where corrupt often display ill-gotten wealth,unabashedly, particularly in marriages and other social functions. A functioning anarchy where mis-governance is the name of the game particularly in the states and where India’s rich diversity of caste, creed, religion and beliefs is more often than not played up by unscrupulous politicians to achieve their own self-fulfilling goals. Yet India a great civilisation of the past is well set to make its mark on the global stage of the future.

Yes, indeed it is a sense of national pride and esteem, belongingness, fellowship and above all a sense of achievement, thus far on the back burner, now is exceptionally apparent. It is the exuding confidence of a new breed of global Indians everywhere including those who ride the world of transnationals and multinationals. Also the sweeping waves of change is visible in sports, in the World Cup cricket particularly. In Melbourne I could not help but feel elated at a sense of national identity with the swamy army swarming the MCG and pride on display among Indians of all hues and the admiration writ large on the faces of other nationalities with India on a wining spree. Incidentally all this is despite the mayhem of self-serving politicians, members of sports associations and their respective self acclaimed boards that thrive on public money and who do more disservice to their own proclaimed aims and ideals than any desire to achieve the goals and objectives for the country at large. A sense of national interest and national pride, though once in a while, is racked up in the anti-terror sentiments and on the border with Pakistan and of course by the Bollywood movies. The media ironically churns up more junk than other industry with a focus on TRP ratings and therefore more on sensationalism, yet more on politicians and the Bollywood actors than on any real news. In the fight against terror national pride and honour is relegated to the defence forces most of the time and virtues, apart from school text books, are considered to be the domain of gods and our glorious past.

As usual when we hear about the news headlines that Greenpeace is taking away 40,000 MW of projects from India, I do wonder if the so-called misguided notion of tribal rights and environmentalism have precedence over the tribals own legitimate demands for energy, growth and development. During the post-Independence nehruvian years there was a thought process to save the tribals from losing their identity and character. All these years we not only saw the tribal sub plans and the special constitutional status and protection for them though originally in their best interest did more damage than any good as these were the lost years as they were deprived of their legitimate aspirations to grow and be a part of the mainstream. It is indeed our own past perceptions that have made a huge difference to any change for the better that India could have seen all these years and been saved of the aftermath of the maoist onslaught in the tribal heartland, not to speak of the years gone by when the whole world was passing through the throes of growth and development.

Yes, in this backdrop the question remains — Is Greenpeace upholding sovereign rights and the so called right to defend tribal rights, freedom and democracy? Also the issue of national interest now being tested in the High Court is whether or not the integrity of India is compromised with a few individuals seeking to testify against India before a foreign parliament. Incidentally Istanbul declaration boldly proclaims the stalling of 45 per cent thermal projects in India. Is it not the fundamental duty of every Indian citizen to safeguard national interest that is development and the interest of the poorest of the poor before we talk about a very abstract idea of tribal rights and environmentalism that perhaps even the tribals do not understand.

Let me now address the issue of perceived national interest so much apparent when very recently a terror boat from Pakistan was set afire by suspected terrorists at Porbunder. The rhetoric and the counter statements were made more amusing by the flip-flop by the braggart DIG of Coast Guard. The absurdity of the entire situation was more evident as the episode not only became a game of ping-pong diplomacy between the two countries but the unfortunate statements made by the Congress party against the Defence Minister surprisingly enough had put their own party interest above national interest to the nations surprise. As usual and amazingly once again the Congress spokesperson appeared to make a case for Pakistan by raising amateurish question marks on the fire on board the fishing vessel from Pakistan. Again amidst all brickbats it was ironically enough the national interest and the prestige of our country that was being undermined. Surprisingly enough and once again against national interest, in one of the most bizarre cases of corporate espionage whence the top honchos of major oil companies were caught stealing documents from the corridors of Shastri Bhawan. Evidently this was being carried on for a number of years with national interest at stake, perhaps hand-in-glove with the mandarins in the Ministry who are as yet scot-free and had no idea that they were trading national secrets for little personal gain.

It is high time that India has to rethink, reformulate and implement a fresh approach to the idea of making a bold new India by rekindling and reigniting the spirit of national pride so that national interest becomes the prime mover for political discourse and the country’s development agenda does not suffer in the time to come. Idealism, honesty of purpose, great deeds and virtues to be emulated from great personalities of yesteryears are not to be left on the school text books but should be emulated by our leaders so that India has an overall sense of identity and purpose and it is national interest that has to be above any self interest and of course above any petty politics and outdated ideologies of the past.