It is harvest time, and just as crop is cut down while harvesting, it is time to drop opinions and ideas you are carrying about others and yourself, and begin life afresh. This is as true for a nation as for an individual. Whether it is India’s internal workings or our relationship with the world, it is time to drop the old baggage.
If we want peace and wellbeing in our nation, we should not deepen divisions within and around ourselves. If we nurture hatred and violence, all we will have is exploding bombs; nations deserve peace.
The business community can play a leading role in taking this step. The subcontinent’s countries could form a loose union for economic purposes—while maintaining their cultural identities. Then, we could focus on everyone's wellbeing and prosper. We have been developing nations for too long!
Today, India is on an economic threshold. Economy does not mean stock market, it means hungry people will have food on their plate. If we handle the next few years right, we can change the lives of hundreds of millions who are in a horrible pit of social and economic deprivation. We have a leadership focused on building India. Everyone must support that, and the opposition and ruling establishment must take responsibility for implementing decisions. When millions of people are postponing their meals to another day, postponing vital decisions in Parliament is a crime.
We need to shed this mentality where we mistake agitation for leadership. Bandhs and rasta roko were used to bring an occupying force to its knees. The foreign invasion is gone and it is our own nation now, but we still want to do bandhs. Stopping the country is one kind of talent. Making the country go is another kind of talent.
It is the duty of every citizen to ensure that India is a properly functioning democracy. Every month gather a meeting with local representatives and find a way to solve issues in your area. Democracy is not a spectator sport. An elected leader is just a citizen on temporary employment. How does employing somebody and not ensuring he works make sense? The quality of the tree and fruit depend on the soil, and changing the condition of the soil is in our hands.
A nation is not its land and buildings—it is its people. If we as a nation have to rise and be empowered, the foremost thing is to empower the people. Empowerment does not just mean amassing material wealth or technology. It is entirely an inner process, a spiritual process.
Spirituality does not mean going to the temple or praying to heaven. It is about living here in an all-inclusive way and experiencing everything as a part of yourself. At the same time, it will hugely equip the individual to be more efficient, capable, balanced and, in turn, more productive. Spirituality beyond sectarian religions, spirituality which is a natural outcome of human longing to know—it is only in reinstating this fundamental quest and longing to know, realise and liberate, that individual human beings will have the strength to seek and endure the challenges of building a great nation.
India is capable of bringing a new paradigm of what it means to be successful in terms of creating human wellbeing. In the modern world, nations of great affluence are suffering from a terrible sense of disenchantment within. This culture has mastered the laws that govern inner wellbeing.
However, if we want the world to engage with us, cleaning up our act on all levels is important. The most obvious aspects are eliminating endemic corruption and ensuring physical clean-up. In the past, we as a culture have exhibited enormous sense of cleanliness and aesthetic, but this has been destroyed due to poverty, excessive population and the pressures of daily living. This has to change now.
I am sure the coming years will see a much better India—a new India. Every individual, irrespective of ones responsibility or influence, has to stand up and make it happen. Just governments cannot do it, some other leader cannot do it. Every citizen has to do it!