A question has been posed “Is a violent and depraved society an indicator that a new phase is just round the corner? – When I say this am I being delusional OR a hopeless optimist OR a fool who knows nothing?”
India is a vast and very heterogenous country. There are so many religions, so many languages, where dialect and culture tends to change every hundred kilo meter. Indis is one of the most populous country in the world, second only to China. In India, population density is 300 people per square kilo meter compared to 20 in the US and 2 in Canada. Though Indian economy is third largest in the world, Indian economy is several magnitude smaller than that of the US and disparity between rich and poor is much starker in India. Despite all this, India is one of the least policed countries in the world. For whatever reason, police in India remain understaffed, underequipped, and poorly trained. At the same time justice delivery remains tardy. Given the state and status of law enforcement and justice system, crime rate in India is still much smaller compared to many other countries. A case in in point, during my childhood days, there used to be a lot of power outage, in India it used to be called load-shedding. Despite total darkness, how many cases of mass robbery, break-ins and hooliganism have we heard in India?
India is a country that is predominantly Hindu (~80% population). Since 1000 AD India has seen invasion by muslim armies and Hindus were ruled by muslims. From 1700 AD onwards, all Indians, hindus (80%), muslims (~14%) and others (christians, Sikhs, buddhists, jain, jews, were ruled by British (partly as East India Company and partly as a colony of Britain) for two hundred years. British had worked in a planned manner to break back of any educated Indian by forcing him to believe inferiority of his culture, custom and religion. A group of people that has been subjugated for so long, it is unrealistic to expect them to behave like representatives of god from heaven. Yes, democracy and freedom are new concept to Indians, hardly seventy years old. In early times after independence, people used to think Indian government to be another ruler sitting in Delhi. Like they will cheat a king by not paying taxes and not following rules, Indians used to cheat their government. And, may still do.
This is by no means an attempt to gloss over problems that plague India. There is injustice, there is corruption, there is nepotism, there is violence and above all there is terrorism. You name a problem it is there. Biggest casualty of violence and discrimination has been Indian women, nearly fifty percent of Indian population. Women have faced all kinds of problems be it foeticide, infanticide, dowry death, poor education and no education. Then there is caste oppression that many upper caste people have unleashed on people of lower castes.
Yet the biggest asset of India is its democracy. A system that makes people choose their representatives. True given the state of society, people that are chosen by society to represent them have often failed them. But democracy has taken root in India. With democracy and representation people can frame rules and laws that benefit them. Despite many push and pulls, laws have been framed that allow most vulnerable section of the society to get empowered through education. With education comes opportunity to break the shackles that tie one down.
Another asset to India is her population. Mostly young, these citizens are free from pre-independence era baggage of their fathers and grandfathers. Armed with and empowered by education, more and more young Indians are emerging ready to face the world in many different fields. Many are occupying important positions in global arena. Others are working silently to better lives of their own people. The fact that India can send rocket to space, the fact that India can dream of sending a human to space, the fact that India can feed her burgeoning population, the fact that India is one of the largest economies of the world is a testimony to her population, that can no longer be undermined.
World moves in a cyclic fashion. Be it electrons in an atom or planets around a star. Hindus believe humans also move through a cycle of death and birth. Given the significance of cyclic movements in our life be it micro or macro levels, it is not unusual to expect that society to move up and rise. Violence is the sign of regeneration where new is asking for their right and old is refusing to cede ground. Like a summer storm that blows away old and withering, new generation will blow away the old.
Let me end with a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelly, the famous English poet said, “if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
This post is written as part of Indispire prompt #TruthAboutSociety. More posts on the topic may be found here.