Aug 22, 2003
Good cheer on IDay-56
An unusually good mood prevailed in India this last August 15. The monsoons have been good. A peace offensive has broken out in Kashmir. The stock market was in a bull run. So even the prospects of a no confidence motion in Parliament was ignored and the tricolour fluttered everywhere cheerily. For the first time in decades people thronged the flag hoisting in Srinagar.
The main media, starved of its accustomed diet, was driven to an unusual fare: good news! Gurcharan Das writing in Outlook magazine captured the prevailing mood. He says there is a new self-confidence in the country and he called Indians a ‘Can can people’. More analytically, Das --writing this time in the Times of India -- zeroed in on what makes India slow to solving its problems. He says we are not ‘joiners’ in public issues like people are in the West. We sit out on debates, processes and even voting. GoodNewsIndia has long believed that all that ails India are not due to a lazy media not searching out ‘good’ Indians. Yes, media is that, but the major reason why India is not going forward fast is because we Indians sit out and collectively point a finger at politicians, bureaucrats, big business or whoever as along as it is not us. Das says candidly, “Our tendency to sit back and complain day after day about our government without lifting a finger is one such flaw. I am no different I find, and not a week goes by when I don’t feel a nagging anxiety that I have somehow failed in my duty as a citizen. It is not quite clear to me what I should be doing but I feel that I ought to be more engaged in the political process.”
The most celebrated event of this IDay is Arun Shourie’s three part essay in the Indian Express. Combining his passion for reforms with his ability to marshall facts he goes hammer and tongs against India-baiters, negative thinkers and protectioniosts. The first part is a racy ride through a catalogue of achievements that runs almost half page of the broad sheet. If cold facts can soothe, heal and inspire here is proof. It is best you read the article in full. Many of the achievements listed and points made may already be familiar to readers of GoodNewsIndia but there are many unknown facts that only a person holding high office will have access to. The second part continues in the same vein but the third drifts off into confusing alleys as Shourie’s longer pieces often do. All in all, the three part essay will be good armour for anyone arguing the case for India.
The emerging prospects of near 7% GDP growth, an election focused on the economy and greater reduction in absolute poverty promise a similar August 15 in 2004 too.
If you wish however to view the euphoric season wearing GoodNewsIndia glasses here’s the little known story of Virendra Sam Singh, who has actually *done* something for his beloved India, like many of the heroes featured in this site. Unnoticed by main media he persevered for three years to bring sensible economic development to his native village. Sam Singh was a big nabob at Du Pont and has earmarked half a million dollars of his own money for his pet project. But it is not cheque book work. He lives in the village and shapes his dream. He is far from the whiners Shourie talks about and more than the ‘joiner’ that Das wants. Read the Sam Singh saga here. And that would be enough to fill you with optimism.