Saturday, January 20, 2007

Times - they are a changin!

For years India as a growing nation and its citizens were seeking its rightful place in the global scene of affairs. We say we found our place, we believe we are already there. But let us, as we prepare ourselves to sit down and take a rest lets just take a look around. We stand at a crucial period in history where a world of opportunities beckon us and we look on undecided unprepared to take on the great challenges and opportunities that lie beyond. But still we decide to go on and take that rest.

On retrospect cant we see that that’s all we’ve been doing for all the whole time so far. We rested while the tide of globalization carried us along. We were so mesmerized by the thrill of the world whizzing past as we watched out of the window that we never realized that we were just being swept away like a boat in the rapids never realizing when we actually stopped rowing and let the flow take us forward. But then as we approach a pivotal point when there are options ahead and its upto us to steer on to the right path we cant afford to be complacent and hope that the same force that brought us so far will make the decision for us again.

If there is any particular trait of a human being that we Indians have perfected over generations, it is complacency. We’ve been taught from childhood to leave everything to fate and leave every thing to his almighty’s wishes. Its given rise to a largely lethargic population who like to take what is given rather than grab what is on offer. Don’t our leaders see what a great sin they are doing at this very moment against generations that are to follow by letting these very moments slip past us. The moments that we should be grabbing to climb upto that pedestal that we as a sincere, god fearing, modest civilization deserve in the divine order of things. Well that’s not the way things work out in this world is it. Maybe the quintessential bollywood flick has led us to that misconception. Lets face the facts, no hero’s gonna come and the one we thought was the ones busy proving himself to be a dud a mere puppet. If prime minister Manmohan Singh could bring another wave of Indian uprising that we saw very much need at this move and in the process end up sacrificing his cap the very next day generations of educated well fed children of this land will venerate him to godliness and what he might end up losing he shall gain in the hearts of those million whose lives he would have helped change.

For the billions who refused to take charge of their destinies our blessed motherland gave rise to a few handful who had extremely lucid visions of the way to take us forward. They thought out plans, very well laid out and perhaps the best options at that time. And its not the minds of people that change worlds but the opportunities that the world gives them to change the world itself that create great men. And the great men we had did their jobs and then perhaps somewhere in between lost their ways. Or maybe things changed around them and they found themselves in unfamiliar waters and they panicked. Maybe things moved so much so that that black shroud of doubt over shadowed their eyes and they themselves were not so sure if this was what they intended in the first place after all. Nehru started out with a great plan, he made the nation pull itself up on its legs and latter own Mr. Singh taught it how to run. Now perhaps we need someone else to come along to give it direction coz all our visionaries seems to be such highly specific talents that they do nothing beyond that one task they set out to do. But these are tough times. We need direction and at the very same time keep it running. This means that we need a new breed of leaders who are more than single dimensional experts. We need multitasking multi dimensional visionaries who can, not only travel straight but also sideways diagonally and even upwards.

We devised our look east policy years ago, and it does make a lot of sense to look at your own background which seems to be doing so very well rather than gawking at your other side of town folks and drooling at the ripe apples in his courtyard and hoping for one to fall down and roll down to your feet. The American economy many experts feel is slowly running out of steam. We can’t afford to focus all our attentions on one direction. The dollar might lose its sheen and a lot of oriental currencies might look greener than the dollar. Its in this context that we should be looking at the free trade blocks and I don’t just mean the SAFTA. The recently proposed Japanese idea of a composite asian free trade zone comprising of japan china korea the ASEAN nations and India which would give new hopes to more than half the worlds people is something to be viewed seriously and hopefully realized at the earliest. Our naturally suspicious mentality, although we cant say that its totally unjustified, has taught us to view all our neighbors with caution and apprehension which would be the greatest roadblocks as far as we are concerned about realizing this plan. We have always lacked that ability to think huge and so far ahead that none of us might be alive to see the fruits of it. Revive the ambitious Asian monetary fund idea, start thinking of having a boundary less east asia and announce to the world that the times they are a changing.

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