Five Things I Like to See Differently in India
For India to progress as a nation there are so many things that need to be done differently and here is a list of five of them that needs to be addressed sooner than later.
No More Evil Customs and Traditions
We have come a long way from the custom of practicing Sati. But more needs to be done. There are still lot of things done in the society in the name of “Custom” that is so outdated that we need to put an end to. Recently I went to a marriage of one of my friends and what I saw there was shocking. The bride’s parents have to buy stuff to fully furnish a new house and that has to be exhibited on the day of marriage. Now all those who come for the marriage after greeting the bride and groom will go to see the stuff the bride’s parents have brought for the groom. From kitchen utensils to multiple air conditioners to cars will be there for exhibition and later taken to groom’s house. I was told the way this works is groom’s father hands over the list to bride’s father who makes sure that the list is fully taken care of on the day of the wedding! We say giving dowry is prohibited by law in India and these kinds of things still happen in India. It is high time we stop following things in the name of custom and tradition.
Equal Respect for All Jobs
One of the most important things I learned during my stay in US – give equal respect to all jobs and people doing those jobs. In India for example a driver or janitor is always looked upon as someone doing a menial job and never respected. The people who are supposedly doing menial job are almost always ill treated. This has to change and all of us should learn to respect every job. The person doing the so called “menial job” may not have been fortunate to earn a college degree like me or you but he is expert in the area where he is working just like you or me. This change in attitude is very much needed if India needs to progress into a developed country.
During our school days we have learned “Unity in Diversity” about India. But are we united in true sense? There is divide between North and South India, divide based on language, religion, states to name few. If you want to understand the hatred that exists go to some online forums or comment sections of some popular websites like rediff. Even in the last 4 months in my new job, what I am seeing is that there is not much interaction among the students from North and South India. Being a teacher in a school that has students from all over India, looking around you could clearly see the divide based on region. With culture and language so different in each state it is tough to agree on all the issues but it is time we throw away the regionalism from our mind for the good of India.
Cleaner and Greener India
Let us accept the fact – India is getting more and more polluted day by day and it is the duty of every citizen who loves India to take steps in their own life to arrest this trend. If the environment gets polluted and degraded at this alarming rate, India as a nation has no future. The painful thing is that even those people who know the implication of pollution are not ready to change their lifestyle to reduce the pollution happening around them. If we don’t take corrective measures now in another two decades, the progress of India as a nation will be highly hampered due to the uncontrolled environmental pollution and destruction happening around us.
Equal Rights and Respect for Women
In paper, Yes, the women in India have equal rights and respect. But in reality is that the case? During nights in India you rarely see any women traveling alone. Why? Some may argue it is our culture and crap like that but the main reason is she feels insecure to travel alone during nights in India. In US my wife used to go alone for shopping even at mid night driving the car and she never felt anything odd in that even though it was an alien country for us. Back in India, she is not comfortable going out alone even around 8 pm in the night even though it is her own country. Now India as a nation cannot progress until half of its population feels that they have all the rights and respect as their counterparts not only in paper but also in practice.
Let me conclude this piece by what a farmer recently told me. I stayed with one of my friend’s parents in Madurai few days back. They have some agricultural land and they earn a living by cultivating rice for ages. Since their daughter is in US, they have lived close to one year in US and are familiar with the way things happen in US. When I met them at their house in Madurai, they told me that they decided not to do any planting this year. The reason was that government gave approval for a big multinational mining company very close to their agricultural land and they started mining that went over 400 feet. The wells, the farmers depended on for water were around 100 feet deep and once the mining company started digging 400 feet deep, all these wells went dry. My friend’s parents were helpless as they don’t have any place to go and complain. My friend’s mother was telling me, “We in India only think of today and not about tomorrow. We use our resources as if there is only “Today” and no “Tomorrow”. What I like in US is that they use resources “today” after fully thinking about “tomorrow”. It is time for people of India to start thinking about tomorrow and not about today”. I fully agree with her.