Monday, June 5, 2023
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India at 75

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I Day celebrations 4
Youngsters run holding the flag ahead of 75th Independence Day celebrations, in Jammu. Credit: PTI

Wish you all a very happy 75th Independence Day.

Today is a day to gloat on our achievements. And these achievements are the achievements of every single Indian – regardless of political affiliations and the Nation. And there should be no politics, no one upmanship or pettiness in celebrating these achievements.

  1. Sixth largest economy in the world

In 2022, Indian GDP was at $3.21 Trillion, making it the sixth largest economy in the world. And we are just marginally short of the UK, with a $3.3 Trillion GDP in 2022 and with the projected growth rate upwards of 7% for FY 23, India is set to become the fifth large economy in the world, overtaking the looters and plunderers of India, which is poetic justice. And the growth in the Indian economy began in 1991, courtesy Mr. Narasimha Rao, and India has only gone from strength to strength since then.

We are no longer apologetic about our growth aspirations. We are no longer shy of flaunting our capabilities. And this shows in our Economic policies. Today, despite COVID, our forex position is really strong. It has not happened by chance. It is by choice. And for the second year running, we are likely to be the fastest growing large economy in the world.

  1. Vibrant democracy

Whatever, the Congress and the opposition may say, we are and will remain a vibrant democracy. We take a decision to choose the people who will govern the country. This happens time and again. And no one but no one can take the electorate for granted. A B Vajpayee did some great work and went in with a campaign, India Shining. And India truly was shining those days. But the electorate rejected him and the campaign. Because they did not see the shine.

We may see political parties doing their circus and changing governments and chief ministers post elections and what have you. Latest example being change over in Bihar who switched partners from BJP to the most corrupt political family in India. But when the politicians go back to the people, the people will decide who needs to be given a chance. I would take this choice any day and celebrate our democracy by going and voting in each and every election.

However, we also are the people (especially the upper EDUCATED middle class), who would not step out of the comfort of our airconditioned homes and if a wrong person or party is elected, we let our mouths run. You have a chance and a choice. Exercise it or shut the hell up.

Our democratic credentials are borne out by the fact that we have four prime ministerial candidates for 2024. Kejri baba has already called out the PM for treason and all his advertisements on the eve of Independence Day is almost like he is the Prime Minister; Nitish Kumar has split with the BJP as he has believed he would be a better PM than the current PM. And dear old Didi is ever ready to throw her hat into the PM sweepstakes and she has collected a cash pile to fund the campaign. And the fourth – Clown Prince – all his protests inside and outside parliament. Must say he looked cute in black.

  1. Vaccinators to the world

When COVID imploded, India was in the forefront of the vaccination effort, including our own home-grown vaccine. Global Pharma ensured that our home-grown effort was subjugated. And when we started exporting vaccines, there were all kinds of noise, including from three of the above-mentioned PM candidates, that we were ignoring the nation and doing service to the world.

When the dust finally settled down, not only did we vaccinate all our citizens, but we also discharged our obligation to the world by supplying vaccines. And I must say here, when the world powers were grappling with the outbreak, our very own Prime Minister took the leadership to exhort the world to come together to fight the pandemic. India had gone from being a follower to a leader.

  1. Supplier of brain power to the world – especially developed economies

Why is it that Indians when we leave the country, we end up heading the largest corporations in the world. Today, virtually all the largest global corporations are headed by Indians. That’s because our brain power is allowed a free reign abroad while there are serious attempts to curtail free thinking in the Country. Therefore, the best and brightest leave the Country because they have the freedom to think outside the box and reach for the stars. It is also interesting that in the developed economies, the countries are ruled by a few very bright people but because they have strong processes and strict adherence to law, execution is easier. For India to be truly a world beater, we need to imbibe this. Do I see this happening? Not in my lifetime.

  1. Aggressive New India

This is an aggressive, new India. The credit for this muscular approach should go to Mr. A B Vajpayee, who set off nuclear testing and was not at all bashful about it. He believed that India should be on the high table of Nuclear Powers and went about achieving the same. And in Cricket, the great Dada, Saurav Ganguly demonstrated what India can do, when he twirled his T-shirt at Lords after winning an impossible game, with absolute rookies.

Today, our External Affairs Minister is accused of letting go of Indian “soft” diplomacy and flaunting our capabilities. What is wrong?. We are strong. We have confidence in our capabilities. Let us flaunt it. If you are not open and proud of your capabilities, no one else will come and take you seriously. What happens if you flaunt. The Pappus of the world will criticize. Let them, after all they must have their soundbites.

All in all, India at 75 is a vastly different nation, proud of its achievements, its capabilities and its rightful place under the sun. We all should be truly honored and proud to be Indians and more importantly, being here at this moment in history.

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