Source: Yash Kiran on Unsplash

Decades ago, the freedom fighters and political leaders 'DREAMT' of an independent and democratic Nation. However, the true essence of it is lost somewhere. Today, we are at a crossroads, where we need to retrospect as to how we imagine our India to be like in the near future. It's high time that we make up for the long and unconscious sleep and make efforts to live up to the expectations of those who believed in us and gave up their lives for the benefit of the nation. Gone are the days when slow and steady wins the race. We must keep pace with time and the fast-growing world.

Dr. Abdul Kalam's vision was anchored in freedom, development, and strength. He said, 'Dream, Dream, Dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result into action'. 'Dreams are not what you see in sleep, but those which do not let you sleep'. The fight to excel should be our top most priority and we should not let any stone unturned. Jawaharlal Nehru envisaged Indian independence as an opportunity to build a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation.

These ambitions, programmes, and hard work they would have entailed fell by the wayside with political parties striving only to preserve and grab power. This derailed the nation of the path of development and brought the DREAMS to a standstill.

NOW - The Moment of Truth

It would not entirely be true to say that people, today, do not have dreams or ambitions. It is just that most of the people's dreams are circumstances to a bare elemental livelihood. While the others capable of dreaming for more than just two square meals are accustomed to procrastinating it. There is a pressing need to instill a sense of security in the masses to urge them to dream bigger and provide them with all the resources that help them realise their dreams.

It is irrelevant to it, whether we have more or less of the state or the market or whether we insert 'socialist' and 'secular' into the constitution, so long as large sections of our society are unfree in the sense that they cannot lead the lives the way they want. Overcoming the challenges that the nation faces is the need of the hour. We need to stop whining about the party issues and rise above the dirty politics of personal benefits to focus on larger aspects.

Capabilities are what enable individuals to pursue the lives that they value. But recently, the trends have shifted to monetary interests. While more than half of the population is unemployed, the majority of those who have jobs are unsatisfied from them but are pursuing just to make a livelihood thus hindering their dreams to be realized. The violence towards the marginalized and vulnerable section of society is another shortcoming.

Women, today, are objectified and snatched of their self-respect and dignity. Day in and day out, we hear cases of rape being filed in every nook of the country. Not that the government is not doing anything to address their grievances. Quick redressal courts, medical attendance, and services are provided to the victims. But the question that always arises in my mind is why do we need such provisions? Why don't we take action to remove the problem from its roots? Have we accepted the fact that the rape scenario will persist in society? why don't we take action to remove the problem from its roots? Women must be given an equal number of opportunities, equal treatment, and a sense of security in a society hounded by barbarian counterparts.

In recent years, the atrocities inflicted upon the Dalit and other vulnerable groups have pepped up in many parts of the country, portraying a grim situation and a bleak future. The incident of four Dalit youth being beaten up in public in Gujarat is an instance of this. By assaulting them, for skinning a dead cow, not only has their dignity been denied but their livelihood snatched away. Little has been done to develop and channel human resources.

Educational institutes have been set up but little effort is done to ensure quality education. The cases of TB have been rising at an alarmingly high rate each year. Not only this, the Canvas of the nation's future supposed to be filled with bright colours of our DREAMS and aspirations have already been stained by environmental degradation, and 'paan' spat on roadsides. Another shortcoming includes the despondent situation of poverty. Though it is reduced to some extent, the poverty ratio is still high, making it an issue of top most priority.


So what can we do now? For those outside the corridors of power, the task is to shape the discourse on Indian democracy. Our goal must now be redirected to human development while ensuring the security of all vulnerable groups. A quarter-century has been spent focusing on India's economic architecture in the name of 'economic reforms, it will be profitable now to devote time on mounting an assault on human deprivation. The development of the capabilities of India's women and Dalit should be the first and foremost step. Then we need to focus on other issues such as education, health care, and poverty to provide masses with an environment that encourages them to dream. Reforming the reforms is the need of the hour. We need to ensure that these provisions and incentives percolate to each and every niche.

Reforms must be there as agreed by a majority of citizens as these make the growth of the nation, accelerate at a higher rate. Reforms provide a sense of security and dare people to take that leap of faith. Therefore, a two-pronged approach needs to be followed: growth of the economy by introduction and encouragement of reforms and giving a shoulder to help the poor and disadvantaged. This goes hand in hand. At the level of a citizen, we must engage with one another, participate wholeheartedly and embrace others the way they are. The government, on the other hand, must focus on good governance, persuasion, consensus building, inclusiveness, and accountability. 

Way Forward

This society is a big satrap with all the lust, greed for power and money, and personal benefits serving as bait. But we need to rise above all these short-lived gains and look at the larger picture. We need to make sure that whatever we do, befits the nation in some way. The DREAMS have already been dreamt of. Now it is our duty to burn the midnight oil and work towards a common goal - INDIA. Grit, determination, and perseverance are all what is required and soon success would be knocking at our doors. The crux of the matter is that in the near future we must be able to visualise India as a self-sustainable country with all its resources put to efficient utilization. Realising the capabilities of the people, providing them with the necessary atmosphere would make our dreams come true in no time. The only target to the nation should be to remove a fine line of difference between 'equality' and 'equity'. We have, what is all required we just need to channelize it properly.

.    .    .