This article appeared in The New York Times on July 4. Thought it was worth sharing. India is truly the greatest nation on Earth in spite of its multitude of problems.
It is truly the greatest show on Earth, an ode to a diverse and democratic ethos, where 700 million+ of humanity vote, providing their small part in directing their ancient civilization into the future. It is no less impressive when done in a neighborhood which includes de-stabilizing and violent Pakistan, China, and Burma.
Its challenges are immense, more so probably than anywhere else, particularly in development and fending off terrorism — but considering these challenges and its neighbors, it is even more astounding that the most diverse nation on Earth, with hundreds of languages, all religions and cultures, is not only surviving, but thriving.
The nation where Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism were born, which is the second largest Muslim nation on Earth; where Christianity has existed for 2000 years; where the oldest Jewish synagogues and Jewish communities have resided since the Romans burnt their 2nd temple; where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile reside; where the Zoroastrians from Persia have thrived since being thrown out of their ancient homeland; where Armenians and Syrians and many others have come to live; where the Paris-based OECD said was the largest economy on Earth for 1500 of the last 2000 years, including the 2nd largest, only 200 years ago; where 3 Muslim Presidents have been elected, where a Sikh is Prime Minister and the head of the ruling party a Catholic Italian woman, where a President was also a woman, succeeding a Muslim President who as a rocket scientist is a hero in the nation; where a booming economy is lifting more than 40 million out of poverty each year and is expected to have the majority of its population in the middle class already, equal to the entire US population, by 2025; where its optimism and vibrancy is manifested in its movies, arts, economic growth, and voting, despite all the incredible challenges and hardships; where all the great powers are vying for influence, as it itself finds its place in the world.
Where all of this is happening, is India, and as greater than 1/10th of humanity gets ready to vote, it is an inspiration to the entire World.
Sonia Gandhi’s and Manmohan Singh’s, Advani’s and Rajnath’s and Laloo Yadav’s and Nitesh Kumar’s cannot take away the fact that its India’s vast multitudes that make India run.
Be it the millions who make Mumbai tick, the thousands who make sure Kochi does not collapse, it is the ordinary man on the street that makes sure you and me are comfortable in our own zones.
Never mind the corrupt babus, the scheming politicians and the ever-indifferent ministers, the policemen running secret torture chambers, or the those responsible for the colossal man-made Himalayan Tsunami tragedy, the nation is resilient and will never fall.
Whether it is the sick minds that carried out the Bodhgaya blasts or those responsible for fleecing poor labourers off their hard-earned money to get a ration card, we the people will make sure we prevail.
We cannot sit on our haunches and pity that Sanjay Dutt went to jail or that Salman Khan will soon follow him, we cannot keep believing our so-called independent media that claims its got the licence to name and shame anyone to suit their own nefarious designs, we cannot keep saying things will change because they will not if we as a people do not rise and make out=r voice heard.
I have not yet given up. There is hope, hopefully!
And it’s not called Arvind Kejriwal, or the Congress, the BJP, Modi and what have you.
Its called the people power – our power!