One of India’s problems since Independence has been the propensity to accept policies emanating from western shores as unquestionable ‘wisdom’. There are, obviously, historical reasons for this, given that so many of the freedom fighters had received their education in foreign universities. It had opened them up not just to the values of democracy, but also an emerging scientific attitude that rose above hidebound attitudes of the past. This helped them look at India’s problems differently. So, along with the struggle for political freedom, India’s population was impacted in many other ways. Unfortunately, this also led to adoption of a value system not necessarily in tune with India’s needs, or even applicable here. It is a fact that there exists among so called educated people an enormous reverence for anything that has a western trademark, particularly in the realm of ideology.
The success of the freedom fighters was rooted in their ability to adapt western knowledge even while adhering to the fundamental values of their own people. Unfortunately, lesser folk – many of whom had flourished during colonial rule and rose to power later – could not make the necessary distinction between universal truths and slavish imitation. They will deny even their own experience in favour of prescriptions from abroad. It is not that India’s universities and institutions have not produced tall figures in every sphere, but their direct knowledge of local conditions and processes have tended to be trumped by third hand prescriptions from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, etc. Not only do those living in foreign lands pontificate patronisingly – many of them NRIs – but their buddies in India accept this as gospel truth. From the ‘eminence’ of Barack Obama to the lowliest NGO poking its nose in places it has no qualification to be – their comments, ‘rulings’, narrative – is believed to be intrinsically superior to native knowledge. This habit makes it easy to manipulate important and powerful sections of Indian society. In that sense, India’s freedom struggle is not yet complete.
Pride in India and its people will, of course, naturally emerge when its achievers begin to make a global impact in all important spheres of life. An example of this is India’s present day domination in Cricket. The performances in the field have resulted in the sports’ economics becoming centred on India. This is happening in many other fields, but needs to be identified and built upon in a planned way. Going by what is occurring around the world, India is probably the leading democracy. We should be proud of such achievements and stand tall and be counted; instead of seeking validation from others we unconsciously still believe to be superior.