Indian space vehicle is supposed to have left the Earth’s gravitational field and is advancing towards Mars. A big leap in the technological advancement made possible by the efforts of the Indian scientists. There are no two opinions that India has progressed materially a lot since independence. In terms of modern technology it can compete even with some of the developed countries. The Indian economy has grown substantially since the liberalisation of nineties. The country is no longer the land of monkeys and snake charmers, the typical image the westerners had in their minds about this ancient land till recently. In spite of all the progress, it is yet to become a welfare state as almost 350 million people still live below what is called the “poverty line”! This is mainly due to an uncontrolled population. India adds an Australia to its population every year. However, there is now a flourishing middle class equivalent to the population of USA. Wealth wise, India may be among the wealthiest countries notwithstanding the fact that the entire wealth may be concentrated within the limited upper class. Arundhiti Roy has given it the name of an “upper caste Hindu corporate republic”!
Apart from the huge population and concentration of wealth in the upper class, the worst enemy preventing ushering in of a welfare state have been the scams. These scams entered the country right from its independence in 1947 starting with what is known as the “Jeep Scam”, involving purchase of jeeps for the army. Since that time there has been no end to these scams. According to a survey, out of $1.60 trillion, the total GDP, the scam money amounts to $ 1.1 trillion which is about 60%. These scams involve not only the capitalists and the upper class but the entire spectrum of the society with the political leaders holding the top position. The number of these scams has gone up at very rapid rate after the economic liberalisation of nineties. With the opening of the economy to foreign companies, the scams came as an additional baggage. Corruption seeped into every part of the society. Bribery and corruption have ceased to prick anyone’s conscience. It is taken in routine as part of the system. Not only did this menace seep into the blood stream of the people but infiltrated some of the institutions of which the country was proud.
Material progress given the name of development brought in the material corruption right from the top to the bottom. Money became the new God for everyone. It was immaterial how one acquired it. The worst thing to happen has been the material corruption bringing in the moral corruption. It is not progress but in reality sickness! The moral and spiritual sickness. Ancient India was famed for sages and spiritual beings. The Himalaya was known as the “Abode of Gods”! People may have been poor in modern terms but they were content and peaceful and had strong faith. Not now. The society has become morally sick. Rapes are becoming a daily affair. Not all get reported. Even incest has been reported in many cases. A morally sick man has been fathering children from his own daughter! The spiritual persons like Aasa Ram have turned into sex starved predators. One wonders if it is the same land which gave birth to Buddha and Gurudev, “Where the mind is free and the head is held high….!” These days one has to keep the head bowed with shame.
There is no doubt that the tainted money coming out freely from the so called modern progress is responsible for this sickness especially because of the majority of political leaders who instead of leading people to truth and honesty, thrive on this ill-gotten wealth and get caught in one or the other scam every second day. A columnist friend other day remarked that apart from the ill-gotten wealth, one of the major contributory factors for this moral sickness among the youth in general has been the “Bollywood”. The “Masala” movies are the real culprits. The violence, the explicit dancing, and the hero-villain action get copied by the youth. Sanjay Dutt, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and others have become the idols instead of Gandhi and Tagore. Dirty movies are freely available. There is no bar on the adult content. It is very ironic that one sees lot of pinning about this moral and spiritual sickness but no productive work. Instead of sending space vehicles to Mars, one needs to first cleanse up the society of this fast growing material and moral sickness. The broom waving Aam Admi Party which has swept Delhi shows that the people are fed up with this corruption and moral sickness and want to clean up the whole system. Will there be another Tagore to inspire and another Gandhi to lead such a movement? Will the deeply entrenched vested interests allow such a thing to happen? That is a million dollar question which only time will answer!