Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Sustainable development of India

 

The Government in India has so far concentrated most of its developmental efforts on economic prosperity, sharing political power and distribution of fruits of development/privileges to selected sections of society. It would have been much more beneficial for the sustainable development of the country as a whole, if along with it, the social, political and government institutions would have given a little thought on the question – how to make its people more law-abiding, civilized and disciplined? Earlier the discipline was inculcated amongst masses and a sense of direction was given to them through infinite variety of rituals, prayers, practices, customs and meditation. Modernity has changed the scenario.

It is an era of transition. Everything appears to be in tumoil. Rapid changes in systems and values of modern society have made the present atmosphere tense. People are so confused today that they could hardly distinguish rationally between action, forbidden action, and inaction. Favoritism, in-discipline, violence, corruption, and chase of materialism based on ruthless competition have weakened the social fabric beyond repair. A wide gap has been created between real life problems and wisdom because of little understanding about their own customs/traditions and nuances of Indian way of life, especially amongst the modern youth. The influence of westernized practices and ways of life in their day to day life is so much on their minds that it has focused their attention and efforts towards materialistic gains and consumerism. There is cut-throat competition for power and pelf.

Unprincipled power politics and opportunism have gradually taken over the place of principles and idealism after the independence. Political expediency has become the order of the day. Politicians place themselves above the law of the nation. They are closely associated with goons and pamper anti-social elements, who follow the path of lawlessness and indiscipline and openly practice terror politics.

In order to earn public support, the leaders depend more on passions than principles, be it castiest, religious or otherwise. At present, caste is the single most important factor in politics. Capture of political, administrative and technical decision-making power and to secure more space in the power echelons have become a matter of crucial importance for all the newly emerged competing social and economic groups, everyone seeking a bigger share of the spoil in one way or the other.

It has become one of the big challenges before the authority to reconcile the claims of growth with the claims of equity. The tendency has completely polarized the peoples’ opinion, divided them into numerous unbridgeable compartments. It led to the mushroom growth of self-proclaimed messiahs and emergence of numerous pressure groups pursuing sectoral interests and sharpening communal and castiest divide. A few groups with numerical strength have become very vocal and assertive. Political authorities fear to annoy them and, therefore, concede to their demands openly or discreetly, while in power.

The last fifty years have seen the emergence of many sections in political arena, who earlier remained virtually submerged. The traditional compartments of the society, which were earlier interdependent, have now been energized by the politicians as the vehicles for insisting for separate political identities, pushing forward sectorial demands and brushing aside the national interests.

Of late, Dalits, backwards and Muslims are being wooed with vigor by all the political parties. Naxalite groups find in Dalits the allies, as most of their action squads are formed of Harijans. Widespread discontent among the people, due to the non-performance and half hearted measures taken by the successive governments to deal with their genuine problems, have turned them anti-establishment and increased violence.

The organised intolerance of such groups, which are over conscious of their racial, regional, cultural and religious identities and feel to be threatened by others, has grown out of proportions, perpetuating agitation and violence. The present day politics has given rise to sectional forces and pressures groups, which are vocal and aggressive in attitude. They demand their rights, but ignore their duties. Communalism, casteism, corruption, criminalization etc. are some of the direct consequences. All these developments have made political situation so fluid, that no political party is in a position to gain an absolute majority since 1990. It has threatened the unity of nation. Therefore, it is one of the biggewst challenges for the government to hold the huge and diverse masses of India together.

For the sustainable development and unity of the nation it is of utmost importance that needs and aspirations of all the people of India as a whole should be taken care of judiciously, not only of any specific section of the society.

Through a sound system of education and training, along with inculcation knowledge and skills, the government should try to instil in people values like caring, sharing, compassion, respect/tolerance for each other’s freedom/views. The government should provide proper education to all. Everybody is free to form one’s own opinions and lead one’s life the way one wants to. But there is no harm in trying to make youths of India aware of the basics their own culture, of soul-inspiring history of India and of rich value system of India.

The government should not get confused on the issue of equal opportunity in employment irrespective of caste or creed with giving equal share in employment in government institutions to different sections of society on pro-rata basis. To place right people at right places, placements for various jobs should be done on the basis of attitude, aptitude, knowledge and capability of different people.

 

September 14, 2008 Posted by | General, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Position of women in India

  “Yatra Naryastu Pujyante, Ramate Tatra Devata”

In ancient India, women were placed on a high pedestal and enjoyed a place of great respect. They were known for their mental alertness, intuition and spiritual qualities of love and service. The best of qualities a human being can possess like knowledge, wealth, strength and ability to provide food and shelter were all visualised in the form of woman – Saraswati, Laxmi, Durga, Annapurna respectively. Maharshi Manu, who set code of conduct for Ancient Indian society, said, “Yatra Naryastu Pujyante, Ramate Tatra Devata”, meaning where woman is worshipped, there resides god. At that time, women had freedom and access to education and knowledge. Gargi and Maitreyi are well known for their pursuit of knowledge and the intellectuals of that times acknowledged their superiority there. Women enjoyed respect of society.

With downfall of Hindu Raj and continuous invasions of Turks, Afghans and Mughals continuously invaded India, Indian values started fading gradually. A few great women like Rani Laxmibai, Chand Bibi, Milya Bai, Razia Sultana etc.came into forefront, who led people and earned fame and respect. But, in general, the position of woman kept on deteriorating day-by-day. Circumstances forced women to remain within four walls of home, cut off from mainstream and all the communications with outside world. They were deprived of their rightful place in the society. By Eighteenth century, women were subjected to nearly complete male domination and control. Right to education was taken away from them. They became the victims of illiteracy, ignorance, complete male-domination. Society imposed on them many kinds of restrictions. Patriarchal system got strengthened and institutionalised by unequal nature of family laws and traditions. Religion and its interpretation by power-structures added fuel to fire and led to suppression of the rights of women. Inheritance was through male line. It was only in her role of a good wife and a worthy mother, she commanded respect and honour in society.” Landed property was inherited by sons. In some parts of northern India, Bengal and Rajputana, women from families of Rajah, Chiefs, Zamindars and upper castes suffered from social evils like ‘Purdah system’, ‘Sati Pratha, ‘dowry’ ‘poligarnmy’ and ‘infanticide’, renunciation of all the comforts and happiness by widows (young or old). Some reformers like Swami Dayanand, Maharshi Karve, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Vivekanand or Gandhiji etc. drew attention of people towards evil social customs and traditions. They worked for their emancipation through education and better future. In Maharashtra, these evils were curbed to some extent by the energetic steps taken by Peshwas.

In 1925, Mrs. Sarojini Naidu was elected the President of the Indian National Congress. Leading women demanded and obtained franchise-ment of women. Women’s representatives took part in the Round Table Conference at London and got reserved seats in the Legislatures according to the Government of India Act 1935. Wives of some viceroys showed interest in the upliftment and education of women and helped in opening some colleges and institution for them. Women’s Associations were formed all-over the country. Their efforts certainly borne fruit, but much later.

Edwina Mountbetten W/o the last Viceroy of British India told an audience in London, “We shall have to wake up in this country when we see how the women of India have achieved emancipation to such a remarkable degree in spite of the backwardness of the country, the illiteracy of the people, the low standard of life, and all kinds of disadvantages from the point of view of religious feeling and other obstacles.” (EA to the East India Association, 13 October 1948, Quoted from Indian Summer, The Secret of History of the end of an Empire, by Alex Von Tunzelmann, 1977). Nehru first Prime Minister of India had insisted as early as 1937 that Congress Manifesto pledge to remove all social, economic and political discrimination against women. Then Gandhiji’s principle of non-violence, passive resistance and boycotts were the tactics which brought many Indian women like Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Vallabhbhai Patel daughter Maniben, Begum of Liyakat Ali Khan, Kamladevi Chattopadhyaya, Sarojini Naidu etc. into prominent position in Indian politics. They worked sincerely for promoting education, health and other welfare activities and were involved deeply in their empowerment and emancipation of women-folk.  Dawn of Independence brought in its trail a new hope for women. Women got a foothold in modern world and started leading active life. Constitution of India gave them freedom, equality and access to education and employment. Older typical image about women slowly started getting diffused. Gradual and greater awareness and confidence led them to improvement of their living conditions.

Many bright and dynamic young women joined national mainstream and reached up to decision making levels in economic, political and social life of the country. many of them made their presence felt in the society, Names of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister (1965 to 1984) is worth mentioning here. The contributions of Mrs. Sarojini Naidu as the Governor of UP and Mrs. Vijay Lakshmi Pandit as an Ambassador and President of United Nations General Assembly will always be remembered. Though, at presnt, women play an active role in politics, administration, economics, technology, industry, journalism, IT industry and other developmental areas, yet their number is very small. Still , in general, position of women is far from being satisfactory. Much more is required to be done.

 

 

 

September 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

   

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