Opinionated Editorials
The Indian Illusion

The Indian Illusion

India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather in the context of its history and cultural heritage- a highly developed one, in an advanced state of decay. “

Shashi Tharoor

According to the statistical reports of the World Bank, 28% of the Indian population is entrenched in poverty. The divide between the rich and the poor is colossal. And larger the gap between the rich and the poor, the more crimes we will have in society- because while the rich bring money to our economy, none of it reaches the poor. And no amount of poverty alleviation programmes or five-year plans has changed this unfortunate phenomenon in our country because we keep planning, but fail to implement. 

How can we say that our country has prospered when our economy is languishing?

Apart from the rich-poor divide, the discord caused due to caste, creed, colour, religion and in today’s world even language is astonishing. We saw the Khalistan movement in the 1980s that led to the assassination of a Prime Minister. It’s ironic that a country that calls itself a secular democracy, sees people killing each other in the name of religion? In 1992, Indians watched a girl get gang-raped by five upper-caste men for speaking out against child marriage, which although illegal, exists till date in rural India. We watched caste inequalities persist through the years. It’s ironic that after years of fighting this very conundrum, people still suffer due to caste discrimination. The so-called “patriots” might say that the rates of such crimes are reducing, but that remains irrelevant when the very leaders of our country use societal divisions to gain support.

How can we say that our country has prospered when we’re all silent watchers of the demise of our own unity?

Adding on to this gargantuan pile of misfortune, over time we have forgotten that our ancestors used our culture, our heritage and our vast history to fight against the unjust oppression of foreign rule for the past millennia- instead we embrace the systems and practices of the people that have tried to ruin our nation, like they are our own. With every passing year, our youth, our education system and our cultures fall further into the trap of western trends.

How can we say that our country has prospered, when we cannot seem to accept our own culture and heritage?

My dear readers, there are around 88 rape cases that are registered on a daily basis. And these are only the registered cases. Apart from rape, women are harassed, objectified and made to feel inconsequential. The Indian Constitution states that a citizen’s first right is the ‘Right to Equality’. Today, I can guarantee that every woman has or will be denied this right to equality, at least once in her life. It takes us a few minutes to talk passionately about women’s safety in India- but what have we done about it? 

How can we say that our country has prospered, when 75 years post-independence, women still fear walking its street?

It can be argued that our economy has flourished, our literacy rates have increased, industrialization has expanded and that we’ve even gone to Mars- but how does any of that matter when every single woman in the country still feels unsafe. How does any of that matter when the cultural heritage that our ancestors laid their lives for, is slowly turning insignificant? How does any of it matter when we are becoming hypocrites for stating the security of justice, liberty and equality to all citizens in the preamble of our constitution?

During the course of your read, this article may have come off as unpatriotic and seditious, but the more we ignore the existence of problems, the more they aggravate; and so I hope that my words could help all of you- as citizens of this country- to concede to the fact that our Bharat, is stuck in a state of decay.

– Siya Girisaballa

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