Saturday, February 2, 2013

And miles to go before we sleep!

This post is a contest winner in the Blueprint for Change - Weekend Contest at

This post is a part of Weekend contest at in association with Chanakya's New Manifesto.

India,a land renowned for its unique heritage and unity in diversity is in a very pitiable condition.Following are the five areas,according to me,that need to be concentrated on to realize our dream India.

                                                    Image Source:

1)Knowledge is power:

It is a well-agreed fact that basic education, at least, is needed for every person in the society and there are many initiatives put into place for the same.

Though the number of educated people is going up,we still see that it has not become a very big contributing factor to the society.The reason being that people are not educated in the true sense.

Some of the major problems in the country ranging from corruption,discrimination on the grounds of gender,race,religion,sexual abuse to pollution,breaking traffic rules,etc. are more common among the 'educated' crowd.There are people who have no formal education but are sensible,liberal in attitude and learnt lessons from life and know what to value and what not to value.


What can be done:
Character building starts at home.The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.Positive parenting leads to well-groomed children in all aspects who will go ahead and become responsible citizens.Treating women with respect must start at home.There are many homes,including urban, where women are considered to be only secondary decision makers(even worse they don't have a say),  confined to kitchens,'must' learn cooking before they attain a 'marriageable' age, are supposed to help their mothers in kitchen while the boys kill time watching TV and are also supposed to put their marriage in priority as compared to career, etc.It is but obvious that young boys who grow up in such an environment grow up to discriminate women at home,work place and the society.It is important that even very small things like these are taken care of at home as they sow the seeds of discrimination into young minds at a very early stage.Even casual discussions highlighting that we belong to such and such a caste/religion and taking pride in the same is irrational.Children must be raised with the values of a religion rather than rituals of the religion.Caste system was designed based on professions and it was the pride in the profession that made a caste good or bad.Today, when we have people from different religion,caste and gender in all professions,it makes little sense to associate pride with caste or even reservation system with caste.A deserving person or a successful person needs to be applauded on the basis of his merit,character and virtues.At the same time,a person who is capable and deserving but need financial support need to have privileges on economic grounds and not caste/religion.The same thoughts must be inculcated in children at home.It should be taught to children at home that every job is honorable and there is dignity in labor of all forms and see to it that they don't discriminate servant maids,etc.Children always pick up and learn what they see.So,it is also the parents responsibility to educate themselves and gain correct knowledge before passing any information to children.Knowledge gaining is an ongoing process and when parents do it,the children follow.Children who come out of such families definitely turn out to be responsible citizens.

At the society level:Anything that portrays a woman to be just a glamor-doll who dances to the whims and fancies of a man need to be eradicated.Unfortunately, there are umpteen number of movies which portray the lead woman to be a person in scantily clad clothes who goes crazy over every silly,clownish act of the hero.There are many movies where the 'coolness' of a hero is directly proportional to the number of girls he is with at any given time and there are movies where the 'hero' does involve in crime directly.These movies generally fall into the 'mass' genre.The masses mostly who cannot distinguish between right and wrong have a major impact and start visualising women in the same way.It is the responsibility of the censor department to not only censor certain words but ban such movies that can have a mass impact.Also,the 'stars' have to realize their responsibility towards the society and take up roles and characters responsibly.

2)Give a man a fish,you feed him for a day.Teach him to fish,you feed him for a life-time.

The major criminals of the society who commit the most inhuman acts are not made in a day.Every day of their life has an impact on the way they turned out to be.Apart from bad upbringing,poverty,joblessness,lack of proper education and most importantly lack of a purpose to life can result in the psychopaths that they are.Some of them when investigated have no clear idea or clue as to why they have committed a crime.While they do not realize the seriousness and gravity of the crime, the fact is that they have no better work to do and had to pass their time in some way and crime is one such.They are orphans who need a sense of purpose and direction.

Poverty is a major problem in the society and the people who are given a direction to earn money through hard work realize the value of both money and work and turn out to be responsible citizens.The education system in India is very book-oriented and very less practical.The government schools and teachers barely behave responsibly in tuning an individual to stand on his own feet at school-level.In these days,when it is difficult for students who graduate from the best of the institutions in the country to comprehend how the subjects they studied are going to be relevant to the work they are going to do,it is no wonder that the poor people show little interest towards education after schooling or for that matter even high-school.

Basic reading,writing and math is actually sufficient.We can attract them towards education only when it becomes a means to earn money.Since,they belong to the class of people who can barely have two meals a day,it becomes important that they start to earn early for their livelihood.Vocational courses should be taught to them after the primary education so that they can support themselves while they work and learn.As they work,higher levels of education would then be their decision depending on the necessity.For example: A person after basic education can be taught basic electrical work that gives him a job.He can go on to learn more as he works.If necessity occurs,he would probably consider taking up electrical engineering course, in future.

What can be done: 
Vocational courses can be started by subject matter experts in different field to impart job-based skills to those who have know basic reading,writing and maths.Groups and clubs can be formed who map these skilled people to jobs in small scale industries,at a minimum.Initiatives on the lines of 'Teach for India' can be taken up where people are turned into skilled professionals who can earn and support themselves.They can be on various areas ranging from manufacturing, mechanics, electrical, electronics to crafts, art, weaving, music,etc.The government can also collaborate with these clubs and use this most valuable resource, the human resource to start initiatives that provide livelihood to thousands.The government should also encourage entrepreneurship based on the number of jobs they provide to the people close to poverty line and below poverty line through incentives on loans,etc.Also, this can contribute to economic growth when the goods are used for export.

At a very small level,it becomes important we encourage individual sellers compared to large scale retail owners and not bargain for every rupee with them when we can afford to blow money in a star restaurant without any guilt.

3)We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children.

The changes in the earth's atmosphere are happening at such an alarming rate that all of us are able to clearly recognise the climatic changes.At such a rate, it is not an exaggeration to state that we may witness the dooms day, after all.It is heard everyday,time and again about the increasing pollution,the resulting global warming and the ways to reduce it.


What can be done:
Using public transportation not only works out cheaper but also reduces pollution and traffic.Use of alternative sources of energy should not be limited to environmental studies text books but must be put into practice. Homes should be encouraged to have rain water harvesting pit, compost pit, etc.Again subject matter experts can put in their thoughts towards simple alternative sources of energy that can be trapped and utilized at home-level and conduct workshops so that every home can look forward to employ these alternative sources of energy efficiently and economically.Solar energy,Bio-gas and other alternative methods are a worthy investment for research.Government can also encourage such initiatives by providing subsidies, knowledge and can play its part in bringing the interested individuals together.Trees should be planted wherever possible.We should also avoid dumping garbage at every and any place and should only use the designated areas.Also,we need to minimise the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable items and use alternatives like cloth,paper,etc.We need to remember that we are not here to exploit the earth and it is resources but need to preserve it for our future generations.

4)Health is Wealth.

The changing life-style and the advent of desk oriented white collar jobs has taken its toll on everybody's health.Today, we are prone to diseases twice as much compared to our previous generation and at half their age.This is a result of change in life-style, pesticide and other additives contaminated food,lack of exercise and most importantly stress.The single most way of living a healthy life is to lead a life as natural as it is supposed to be led.It is said that God created the human body with the early man in mind.The early man works for food,goes in search of food,collects wood and stones and returns home in the evening to cook and eat the food.So,his simple life revolves around working towards survival.Today,we are so much into the rat-race that we are forgetting that even if we win such a race we would still be only a rat.Everything from a missed mark in an exam to a difficult situation at work,to not being the best among best is leading to stress.Starting from high-school to adulthood,stress overtook our life in a major way resulting in a plethora of new life-style diseases.


What can be done: 
The first and foremost thing is to realise that in hunt of an illusive magical and comfortable destination,we are forgetting to live life by the day and forgetting the simple joys of life.Secondly,often stress at work leads to a way we devise to combat it.This way could be smoking to some people, binge eating or coffee/tea to a few others and just over-thinking to some others.All these can have a devastating effect on one's health that may do some irreversible damage.When stress is inevitable, some alternative ways can be followed to help overcome it.This could be something like having a glass of water each time you are stressed out or take a short walk or a deep breath or meditate for a couple of minutes.Eating healthy,working out and having a hobby to enjoy would be good.Also,it is important to compromise on small things and have time for everything in a day like exercise,work,play,family-time,etc.Though it might be a compromise,we have to remember that balance is the key.

5)Exercise your right to vote.

All the above that is written involves people majorly from three tiers,one-the subject matter experts or the more privileged,two- the less privileged and three-the government.All the three layers are interwoven and should work together among themselves and with one another to bring about a change in the society,as a whole.There are hurdles like corruption on our way but the only way in which we can overcome them is when each of us acts at our personal level.We are in a system that is of the people,by the people and for the people.We should strive hard to stay true to it.As much as it is important to do things and act at the personal level,it is equally important to think globally at the society level and remember that we are a part and parcel of the family called society and we need to live and let live.

There are a lot of areas where stringent laws are required and reforms are the need of the hour.Justice delayed is justice denied.We need a just,fast-acting,efficient judicial system to tackle bigger areas like terrorism and anti-social activities.For this,we need leaders who are capable enough to address these issues efficiently and effectively.

What can be done: 
We can choose who represents and leads us.Please exercise your right to vote.


With all of the above, it looks like India has a very long way to go.But,every drop contributes to the ocean and each and every one of us can be the change we would like to see in the society.

In the words of Robert Frost,

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."


  1. Very elaborate and apt points... enjoyed the read. Congrats for the win!!

  2. Thanks for your comments,Manjulika.