The Greatness of India
We often look at the progress made by India as a country from the vantage point of a western nation like the US and fail to appreciate the progress made by India since its independence. As India completes its 75th year as an independent country, here is me listing some key aspects where India stands tall in its achievements.
There’s no country that reflects every single gene of the human race as India. Often we romanticize the US as the melting pot of various races/ethnicities. However, India is a much more diverse country. Through various stages of migration, the Indian gene has acquired the genus from Africa, Middle-East, Central Asia, South-East Asia, and more recently Western.
Universal Adult Franchise with abject poverty, mass illiteracy, and enormous diversity was a challenge but we achieved it. Ours is the only democracy to give UAF right at its birth. While the political rights world over were achieved after years and decades of struggle, our founding fathers were sagacious enough to implement Universal Adult Suffrage from the day India declared itself as Republic.
Fact that we remained United given the enormous diversity in language & culture is a humongous achievement. Every possible element of diversity and stratification system, be it caste, creed, class, ethnicity exists in India. There is a popular saying that you cross 100 KMs from any place in India, the language that people talk, the attire, the cuisine, the culture everything changes. Yet, across all these social divisions and enormous diversity, there is a single strand of Indianness that binds us all.
There’s no nation on earth that can conceive 22 languages many with centuries of history and literature. Belgium with just two languages (Flemish and French) couldn’t hold itself to form a stable government after every election due to clashes. Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Canada are also examples where language became an enormous problem in nation-building.
Federalism: Though we have started as a Quasi-federal nation due to prevailing conditions at independence our federalism matured with time.
Strong Democracy: Democracy which was thought to be a luxury of the developed nations was picked up by India as its polity and we have democratized the idea of Democracy. Elections after elections people have reposited their faith in Indian democracy through the electoral process. Civil society also provided a solid strength in deepening democracy in India.
Development: While taking some cues from the western notion of materialistic development, we developed our own definition of development. Development that should reach the last person (Antyodaya). While the west focused on development first and redistribution later, the former USSR on redistribution first and development later, we chose to walk the tight rope by balancing development with redistribution.
Smooth and Peaceful Transition of Power: The world’s oldest democracy had a leader who refused to accept people’s mandate and declared himself as the winner (Donald Trump in 2020 election). Such brazen acts are unknown to the World’s largest democracy i.e. India. All political parties in India have immensely respected people’s mandate in every election and ensured a smooth transition of power.
Overall, we have done good but we can do better. The continued relevance of social divisions like caste and religion appears to be a blot on the tolerant and inclusive nature of this country. Hence the sooner we blow the death knell on these social divisions, the better are our chances to progress and prosper as the world’s greatest nation.